You're Paying to Maintain His Equipment
Sure, dry cleaning is expensive, but who else can get mayonnaise stains out of a pair of leather pants?
The fact is, dry cleaning is a massively pricey operation involving complex machinery and expensive industrial chemicals. And while ready-to-wear shirts and socks may be a snap to clean, once you move into the range of suede suits or cotton dresses with silk sashes and sleeves, it's not as simple as dumping the clothes into a machine and letting the solvent do its job. Specific treatments match specific stains, and clothes that have intricate designs or are made from expensive fabrics need loving, individual attention.
So, are you paying too much? Between $7 and $10 is reasonable for most jobs, but if you love your dry cleaner -- he gets the stains out, respects your clothes and takes the time to sew on that extra button for you -- he's already priceless.