If you have a desire to succeed with laundromats it only makes sense to learn from the best. Well, today, you get to learn how to run your laundromat from the BEST!

Luke Williford is on the show today! Luke is well known in the industry and for good reason. Luke and his family own and operate 37 laundromats! You read that correctly. Luke and his family own 37 laundromats!

Luke has a passion and even an obsession for customer service, operational efficiency, and employee training and care. It is that passion and obsession that has driven him to the success he has found so far. And he’s just getting started!

In this show Luke shares a ton of valuable information on how to effectively buy and run a laundromat. He also shares the one thing that has helped him achieve such massive success! And the beauty of it is that it can work for you, too!

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

Jump To These Show Segments

Interview Starts: 6:12

Down To Business: 45:34

Secret Sauce: 1:01:55

Pro Tips: 1:07:42

Recommended Resources: 1:11:25

Today's Sponsor

Laundromat Resource Marketing If you need help building or managing a website for your laundromats, let the experts at Laundromat Resource Marketing help you design and build a custom, professional website for you! As experts in the laundromat industry AND in web design and online marketing, we at Laundromat Resource Marketing are able to provide you with a professional website at an affordable price. We’re always transparent so there are no hidden fees. What we quote you is what you pay. Satisfaction and performance guaranteed! With no contracts to sign and guarantees like that, why not let us take care of your online presence while you focus on welcoming all of your new laundry customers? Click the logo or link above to find out more information. 

Links from the show

Connect with Luke

Follow him @lukefwilliford on facebook and instagram for daily encoragement focused on faith family and the laundry business. 
Follow business pages:
The Wash House Laundromats @thewashhouseinc      www.thewashhouseinc.com  
Interactive Payment Systems @freedomfromcoins      www.freedomfromcoins.com  (800) 215-0548

Luke's Bio

Luke Williford is one of the most well known individuals in the laundry industry. Luke is a third generation laundromat owner-operator of The Wash House Laundromats Luke is grateful to work with his father Marshall, brother Lee and brother in laws Josh and Justis. Luke and the team operate 34 laundromats with 3 undercontract today. The company started in rural eastern NC in 1967 and today is based out of Raleigh North Carolina. Luke is a expert in the laundromat industry due to his multitude of experience. Luke oversees operations and loves operating systems that can scale. He plays contractor on new builds and Chief Operating Officer in the day to day of the company. Luke has been the lead on growing the chain from 12 units in 2010 to 34 today. His team and him do all installs and maintenaince. Luke and his brother Lee are co founders of Interactive Payment Systems which has recently released the laundromats ultimate payment solution known as “Freedom” by IPS. Freedom was created to do just that, create Freedom from the ever nagging issues related to operating laundromats on coin. Luke accredits his companies success to the team, consistent hard work, a customer prioritized approach and to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has gone before Luke and his growing company every step of the way. Luke loves the laundry industry and Luke loves people. He is excited to be on the laundromat resource podcast with you today to do one of his favorite things, talk about the laundromat business. 

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Episode Transcript

you’re listening to the laundromat
resource podcast the show laundromat
owners for laundromat
[Music]
[Music]
haha alright what’s up guys it’s Jordan
berry from the laundromat resource calm
and a lot of Matt resource podcasts this
is show number 10 and I am like I’m so
excited today not only did we fill up
two hands with this episode show number
ten last week if you listened to last
week’s episode first of all if you
haven’t goal is in the last week’s
because Ross the story was incredible
it’s it’s I mean you guys have just
really loved that episode in fact we
loved it so much that last episode we
celebrated a thousand downloads together
that was amazing this week we’re gonna
celebrate 1500 downloads I can’t believe
it happened that fast but man thank you
guys for tuning in for listening to
these your just your fellow laundromat
owners who are sharing their stories
sharing their wisdom sharing their
experience share their stories with
other people if you haven’t yet so man
awesome big celebration again 1500
downloads celebrated a thousand last
week it’s just rolling and I you know
it’s it’s you guys so thank you guys for
that support and we’re glad you’re here
and today we’re gonna reward you with an
interview with Luke Willa for Willeford
and Luke and his family own I think 37
laundromats you heard that right 37
laundromats
and I mean if you’re someone who either
has a laundromat or wants to get into
the laundromat business and you want to
succeed I mean Luke’s the guy I talked
to he has the 37 of them they’re just
killing it and he’s sharing his story
and all throughout this whole interview
he is just infusing it with ways to help
you succeed so you do not miss it and in
fact I want to keep this beginning part
really short I want to mention one thing
from the forums real quick
Mitch who’s came over from BiggerPockets
posted in our commercial real estate
forum and I thought some of you guys
might be able to help Mitch out kind of
sort this deal out he has a deal that
he’s looking at it’s a commercial real
estate deal and the owner selling the
real estate and also the laundromat that
the owner operates and then there’s
three other units I think a couple of
apartments in a Pilates studio but the
way that the owner has run the finances
kind of has made a mess and he’s helped
kind of untangling that and I thought
some of you guys might be able to hit
help Mitch out so head over to the forms
laundromat resource comm slash forums
and help Mitch out in the commercial
real estate forum help him with this
deal and you know I just want to
challenge you again right now or after
this episode head over there lot of my
research accomplished form to help Mitch
out but ask a question and answer a
question help help each other I really
think that they’re the the real success
is gonna happen for all of us when we’re
helping each other out and we’re helping
each other succeed and the forms is a
great way to do that so head over there
lotta memory source a complex forums
I’ll put a link in the descriptions and
in the show notes and in fact if you
want to see the show notes with links to
everything that we talked about today in
this podcast including ways to get a
hold of Luke at the end which you’re
gonna want to do by the end of this
thing because he’s Jesus an awesome guy
not only super savvy and the in the
industry but also just a genuine awesome
guy you’re gonna love them so his
contact information will be in the show
notes if you want to check all of those
out head over to laundromat resource
comm slash shoten laundry my resource
calm slash shoten and check all of those
out and and that’s it before we head
into our interview with Luke lets do a
quick message in today’s world if your
laundromat is not online you’re losing
business customers increasingly decide
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creating a professional logo and website
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invest so much into providing your
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don’t let anyone miss out on what you
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let laundromat resource marketing take
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laundromat resource comm slash get
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that’s laundromat resource com slash get
online or click on the link in the
description all right take advantage of
that marketing service that we have
because we know laundromats and we know
web design and we know marketing so take
advantage of that because we’re trying
to do it as inexpensively as possible
because our goal is to help laundromat
owners succeed so at least go check it
out if that’s something that you’re
needing or gonna need it in the near
future and yeah take advantage of that
alright let’s let’s jump into it with
Luke all right we’re here with Luke Luke
thank you for being on the podcast man
how you doing doing great glad to be
with you Jordan hey I am super glad that
you’re here I’m I’m so excited because
I’ve been I’ve been kind of stalking you
on Instagram a little bit I follow you
through the laundromat resource
Instagram and you are doing some crazy
stuffs I can’t really I can’t wait to
hear all about what you’re doing and but
before we get into that just tell us a
little bit about you who are you and and
how did you get into laundromat industry
and give us a little background on you
yeah man I’m just glad to be here
I love the industry and I love people
first and foremost I’m a believer and I
am a husband and father
so those are my biggest duties and then
I do laundromats
so whatever it takes um I said my
understatement by the way the laundromat
you know it’s I was born into this
industry so I feel like I’ve been
picking up dryer sheets ever since I was
born and grew up in the industry
I’m a third-generation owner operator
and I love operations then I’ve got kind
of what’s got us what’s helped me to
distinguish myself is is really not any
any special knowledge but rather my work
ethic I’ve kind of brought my work ethic
that helped me excel in collegiate
sports kind of to the laundry business
and and I work alongside my brother
brother-in-law’s and my father and
that’s just such a blessing to do and uh
and we’ve got an awesome team so a lot
of times you’ll see me on the on the
Instagram or on our Facebook because I
do a lot of the marketing but our team
of staff just I mean they really make it
happen
and are owed a lot of credit for our
success so that’s awesome man would you
play in college what sport football and
baseball at a small school Division
three program here in Rocky Mountain
North Carolina North Carolina Wesleyan
College played football and baseball
there and I got a degree in business and
then yeah and got into the laundry on
industry father hired me and took that
opportunity kind of grabbed it by the
horns and have really ran with it
um very thankful for that opportunity
yeah yeah you definitely ran with it
dual sport athlete that’s pretty awesome
that’s pretty awesome we’ll have to uh
you know get to get
sometime and hit each other or something
now I play golf that’s kind of kind of
what I use to fill that void because
there’s not many pickup football games
yeah not too many out there I’m kind of
interested actually because okay so my
family is from Tennessee and I live in
California now but when I start talking
with them I slowly develop a thicker and
thicker accent so I’m wondering if
because I’m talking to you my accents
gonna get thicker by the end of this
thing’s so you have grown up in the
laundromat industry you love the
laundromat industry and you said you
kind of took it and ran with it that’s
an understatement we’ll get there but
tell us a little bit about how your
experience of it like how how have you
liked it what do you you mentioned you
like the operations side of it is there
anything in particular that you like
about the operation side of it or the
industry as a whole yeah yeah I just I
love that every day is different some
people like to do the same thing over
and over I like I like every day to be
kind of a new challenge I’m a
problem-solver by Nature and I really
love flipping laundries we’ve really
grown through acquisition we can get
into that later but we’ve taken you know
a lot of Sam B Matt says my friend Brian
grill trademarked it and and really
poured into those and and taking
something that you know was a
fixer-upper and and reinvested in it and
the customers are always so appreciative
so I love that side of taking something
and in renovating it and turning it into
a bill wash house laundromat and just
seeing the results it has but more
importantly than the financial results
just the smiles on customers faces and
the community just being appreciative of
you investing back into their community
and really the numbers take care
so I love the free events we do in
marketing on a regular basis I love
engaging with people like you Jordan and
others throughout the industry I can
name a bunch but I’d miss somebody and
yeah I play chief operating officer in
our company we really don’t do titles a
whole lot but I’m kind of on the
operation side my brother
serves as our CEO CFO on the financial
side so that really allows me to get
outside the office and be in the stores
on a regular basis and and I’m his
biggest fan his name’s Lee a lot of
y’all listen probably know him and he’s
my biggest fan so working together with
him is a lot of fun and we’re best
friends food so that makes it fun also
working with my brother-in-law is Josh
and justice whoo-hoo it’s just fun fun
to work together and grow something and
and yeah just just a lot of fun I love
growth so I think that’s one of the
things that that’s helped us did not
stay stagnant um you know to continue to
grow and grow and almost too much it’s
definitely my mom and her brother would
say sometimes but it’s it’s a lot of fun
I love every day I do most of hiring in
our company so I’m dealing with our
staff and and that’s just such an
important part I’m sure those listening
understand finding and retaining good
help we call our store attendants we
call them store managers so finding good
quality store managers is an important
part of my role and yeah it’s been fun
to see that growth you know a number of
people grow number a units growing
number of the amount of customers grow
the geography work uh burns grunts um so
so yeah
yeah well a couple things that kind of
just out of that what you just said
there I don’t know if we can go
off-script just a tiny bit but we had
someone in our forums this week who
asked a question that maybe you might be
able to lend some advice to actually
because you know you talk about flipping
some of these zombie mats and and doing
that so he was wondering how do you know
if it’s worth investing in new machines
in your in your laundromat how do you is
there like a way that you determine that
there’s a lot of factors Jordon and
really at this point we’ve done quite a
bit so so we go to the property and we
pray about it we fill our gut we try to
not lie to ourselves and and it’s kind
of like hiring when you hire a new
person whether you’re going to decide to
invest in that person you kind of want
to be very honest upfront and so you
don’t have something the same with us
with evaluating a new business that’s
for sale first you have to see what they
have for sale most of the time that is
just the assets of the old equipment
which typically are going to have to be
liquidated for a small amount of the
value they’re probably putting on but
what I’m buying when I go into a new
space is I’m eliminating the competitor
in that market I’m also buying the up
fitting and the tap fees that all avoid
by building out a new store and I’m
getting that existing revenue existing
customer base although if it stays that
based you’re probably not going to be
able to invest the money in new machines
and renovating the place however we
found that typically you can take that
base and grow it by by quite
significantly through marketing and and
remodeling and just drawing drawing
people in who may have not been using a
laundry or
who may have been going to another
laundry typically we do not look at the
competition outside of a mile away
typically and and most competitors it’s
got to be at least 1500 square foot and
probably a 40 machine count for us to
even really so there’s those variables
of competition you do have to play into
it but at the end of the day the people
have to be there so we don’t want to
throw a party and nobody come they have
done that or may have attended a party
and you were the only one who showed up
that’s the last thing we want to do and
that’s the last thing the listeners want
to do especially that person evaluating
their first store you know do your
research you know listen to the
laundromat resource podcast listen to
American going listen to CLA get planet
lunch or get American coin on get all
those resources and and yeah take that
advice and do the best you can go to the
site go in every laundromat you can go
in so you know the business you’re
getting into if you’re not a people
person it’s probably not the business
for you I know Jordan you shared in
previous podcast that you talked a few
people out of getting in this industry I
think that’s perfectly fine
I’d much rather talk someone out of
getting in this industry
I’ve been talk someone into it after
they and then they want to get out after
after they’ve invested you know quarter
million half million million dollars
into something but one other thing is
the rent rate so you know and these are
all things that your local distributor
will be able to help you with but the
rent ratio needs to be about 50% at
least in our market we typically like to
see as many people in a one two and
three mile radius as possible we do have
stores in a rural market where the
populations you know
2,500 to 8,000 people and that’s really
where my father started in those rural
markets and their competition is a
little bit more important because you
can’t have four stores in a town with
you know 4,000 people but in in bigger
cities you know they’re they’ll drive
past a few other laundries if you make
it nice but ya know I kind of ran on
there but uh hey if you’re gonna buy a
store that you know needs renovating um
you know you’re most likely not just
going to be able to put a little
lipstick and makeup on it if the
equipment’s over 15 years old then then
you need to plan to reinvest in the
equipment but don’t just reinvest in the
equipment reinvest in the business but
time energy into that business because
the equipment is a big piece of the
puzzle but it’s just one portion you
know you want to care for your customers
give them an excellent customer service
customer experience and they’ll come
back you know and they’ll tell their
friends your existing customer base is
always your biggest marketing tool
because they all have a cell phone now
and they’re sharing things on Facebook
they’re sharing you know they’re calling
their friends let them know send in
pictures you know so yep
well that was just a big old bucket full
of gold right there
and you just make sure the people are
there and then when you make the
decision to go go all out and and and
come on Jordans podcast and tell about
how the numbers changed yeah yeah oh man
that was that was awesome that was just
you know so much good wisdom and I think
you know I do a ton of coaching calls
and people are always asking questions
that your address and head on and and
man I I think that’s just gonna help a
ton of people out just listening to that
segment so if you’re listening right now
and you needed to hear that just rewind
that and listen to it all over again
maybe like four times make it your
ringtone
or something so you just hear all the
time because I was just gold Hey okay so
we’re gonna get into some of the details
of your business here in a little bit
but let’s can we just tell people how
many laundromats do you own right now
okay so today me my father brother wall
and we own and operate 34 stores and we
have three under contract so so that
could be 37 in the next next few weeks
sun-ho – yeah yeah so we we run that and
just so thankful my dad my grandfather
and then my dad got into the business my
father Marshall he’s my my role model
and he wrote and he’s just been a huge
advocate for the industry over Agora 45
years now seven so yeah it’s it’s it’s a
lot of fun he is still involved and and
and enjoys it he really loves going
around and talking to the people and I
think that’s that’s just the that’s the
heart of our company and really how
we’ve grown to that many units and more
people if you you know take care of one
good store and a nun and and the good
Lord opened another opportunity to do
that and we’ve just seen him go before
us really and over the last I think
about ten years we’ve got grown it from
12 to where we are today yeah and and
yeah it’s a lot of fun huh man whoa
yeah I want to get into that a little
bit more but is there is there maybe
like one that stands it like one like
purchase or one you know store that you
know before and after or something like
that is really stands out that you can
tell us about I know there’s so many
stores they probably all just blurt out
other but yeah absolutely
we’ll just take one that we did maybe a
year ago we call the laundry basket we
name all the stores either by the street
name or what the previous owner called
them so this was called the laundry
basket is here in in Raleigh North
Carolina and it’s one of those deals
where
where we were able to acquire the store
it was it had been ran down you know we
had found through through our experience
investigation it was a coin store that
there was multiple silent partners and
that revenue that the owner thought was
being generated it was a little more
than that
so actually we we purchased the store
and we kept the key keys in the coin box
is the same for about two weeks and uh
in revenue was what it was and I said no
some doesn’t feel right so you know we
we’ve got ways of seeing how we you know
if quarters are going away if it’s a you
know pool hall or a car wash coming and
getting coins or coins are actually
being stolen in this case we were we
were able to to change out the coin
boxes and bam revenue skyrocket it’s
like wow this was after the closing on
the store so it was it was that was
pretty neat
and then usually goes the other way you
find out what a revenue wasn’t as high
yeah so yeah the owner was extremely
honest but they didn’t realize that that
yeah that was taking place and we
actually kept the existing staff there
it wasn’t a staff member who was
involved in this so we actually kept the
existing staff and at that store they
were running free drop because I had
stores right around it and they were
they were trying to compete with with us
because I have two stores within you
know a mile radius of that location and
some listen and may say well why’d you
buy that one well you know again back to
that blurb earlier if we if there’s a
need for and we can eliminate a
competitor and and serve more people
because because we did we we’re now
serving more people because we acquired
and renovated that store but moving
forward my staff member there was having
to do free drop which
and I do not agree on who was on the
pastor you know Brandon I always talk
talk about the business and if you
didn’t hear Brandon was one of Jordans
interviews prior great owner/operator
shout out to eat you Brandon alright his
episode two so if people want to go
listen to it was a great episode yeah
yeah so they were doing free dry and the
poor attendant was having to run himself
ragged starting the machine with
quarters and then emptying the coin box
this started again on Sundays and
whatnot along with trying to clean and
handle the the problem so we we went to
charge it for dry we put in our payment
system freedom by interactive payment
systems which is also a company of mine
then I’ll tell you later more about but
in doing that we we’ve been able to see
on sales in this 2000 small 2,000 square
foot store all new equipment 22 washer
store we’ve been able to see on see
sales almost a hundred and fifty percent
of one hundred and fifty percent so so
that’s one we actually did we actually
we can link the YouTube video I did a
YouTube of the before and after of this
one and we’ll be able eat that so I’ll
give you that YouTube video and it’s
about 11 minute video but it shows you
this zombie Matt frier it shows you a
little bit of us during the installation
we do all our own installations so it
shows us tearing it out putting it back
in we tore all that equipment out and
put the new in in about two days so the
staff that was the one that we were able
to flip technically I like the new truck
and the empty truck that’s taking old
ones off to show up from a day apart so
one day would tear now the next day
we’re loading them we’re putting in the
new and that one just just flowed pretty
pretty seamlessly and we were we were
able to only close for about I think it
was three days we closed on Monday and
we’re open on Thursday afternoon so
that’s another thing for people
listening if you acquire store and
you’re going to close it for real
don’t just close for a very long time
because people have tendencies and we
don’t want to break those if we do who
want it short amount of time as possible
so yep yeah I found that a big part of
the laundromat industry actually is
habit formation and habit changing you
know people get into their rhythms they
get into their habits of going to a
certain store so if you’re coming in to
buy a new store and you want to grow
that business you know whether it’s
somebody go into another laundromat or
somebody who doesn’t use a laundromat
currently you have to figure out ways to
incentivize them to change their habits
to start coming to your store using your
services so yeah absolutely they get out
of that habit of going to your store it
can be tough you know we all know it’s
hard to change habits oh absolutely
did was it what was the response when
you went from free dry to paid dry the
did you hear back from customers about
that the staff member really liked it
because oh yeah causing confrontation
between the staff member and the
customer base and you never want to
create tension between your staff and
your customer right also we weren’t
alone we weren’t at that time they
weren’t allowing people to just come in
and dry clothes and I do allow that in
our business model so nobody could come
in and just dry clothes but people were
trying to you know come in and do that
but yeah of course they were like what
no free try had a few people pack up and
and and leave but obviously I told you
about the growth in this store so we’re
serving more people before once we got
done with the renovation I think they
could understand and the value that was
added we did go down along a little bit
of the lowest bin price washer we was $3
when the when the previous owner had it
we took our lowest twenty pound
Washington 250 kind of accomodate to
kind of accommodate for taking away the
free dry
and we run a partially attended model so
free dry is hard to harden hard to do
around the clock yeah yeah well plus you
earned all the laundromats around it so
go to the other one cuz we own that one
– you actually around still do free drop
yeah yeah I mean nobody gives me free
gas or I can’t find anybody tell me the
drives for free so yeah exactly I
understand a lot of people listening
that had success and that’s the great
thing really about our industry Jordan
if you put effort into it you put your
resources and your energy behind it you
can be successful at this business you
don’t have to do it just like me or just
like you or whomever you know you can be
successful in a whole lot of different
ways which makes it awesome small
business to be in especially this time
through Kobe where we’ve been able to be
classified an essential service
throughout the country so I think more
people are gonna be looking to get into
the business I’m sure some of those are
listening but I think it’s a special
time and just the economics of our
country and of course our industry as
well yeah yeah I I agree I agree I think
that’s been one of the good things
that’s come out for the long term ed
industry during all this debacle is you
know we you know we’ve always said you
know everybody needs a place to live
food to eat and clean clothes to wear
you know but you know they were declared
officially of central businesses so well
tell me okay you have all these stores
you’re you’re in charge of operations
tell me a little bit about what is your
typical week look like what are you
doing you know as a an owner who has
managing 34 soon to be 37 stores it’s
every week it’s not quite identical I
mean I’m in most the stores at least
once of once a month just technically
call checking the temperature of the
store
so I’m looking on the physical side as
well as on the power customers
feeling treated how’s my staff doing I
normally would take and have a personal
conversation with all my staff as often
as possible because really we treat our
team like family
we have a Christmas party that has
almost 200 people at it and and we
really try to try to have a relation
that’s been one of the hardest thing for
me and scaling is I don’t have that
personal time which each staff member
like I did prior when I started with the
company I was I think I had four or five
stores and I was a regional manager and
and now scaling I’m just always working
on a efficiencies hiring efficiencies
you know making sure training
efficiencies onboarding new staff
members but because of life you know you
have people are leaving and coming on
all the time especially as you grow so
that’s that’s something you know we we
have to you know manage I’m fortunate
enough because we we’ve grown to the
scale we’ve got an office administrator
who helps me some with with our staff as
well as our customers we take about 20
to 30 texts and calls a day we’ve really
gone from from answering the phone
kind of change that system a few months
ago to to when people call we are we’re
texting them and we’re just able to take
the tone out of the conversation and
really just solve their problem
extremely fast now that we have freedom
our payment solution in most of our
stores we’re able to help that customer
from our from our cell phone or from my
office administrator she’s she’s
watching that all the time so she can
text with them there for refunds need to
be given she can do that right through
text message without ever having to pick
up the phone or deal with tone and kind
of takes the emotions out of the
conversation and we just got really good
feedback
from our customers so so that’s those
little things are things I’m working on
we’re always got a new project I play
contractor on all our new installs so I
do the contracting I do the undo the
negotiations and then as soon as we kind
of strike a deal I turn it over to my
brother Lee who kind of takes it from
there I find most of the new
acquisitions that we get typically
they’re not listed for sale so so that
sometimes and then sometimes on they
they are listed but I was the first to
contact the broker so he breaks that to
me sometimes first and and yeah just
trying to work extremely hard getting to
know as many people as I can and then
make sure we’re keeping store standards
up so I’ve got a just brought on a new
guy who is doing annual services for me
so so we’re doing about three annual
services a month and that has a
checklist that we’ve created that kind
of goes through maintenance so that as
we grow larger in number of units we’re
also growing in the quality of the care
we’re taking care of our staff and the
equipment from so that has an exterior
checklist from the parking lot all the
way to the lighting and an on fruit
those listening it’s not perfect you’re
never going to be perfect you can ride
around the store and say that guy was on
the podcast and he had a check well that
checklist it’s always but we’re trying
to what an annual service looks like
it’s three days with that with two men
on the crew it Mossad and going through
and checking off a list from the
exterior all the way in there taking
making sure the belts are good all the
backs are on every screw and the washers
in the washer and I’m just assuming here
but I say that that should even if it
only extends the life of the equipment
two or three more years that’s well
worth it so so kind of putting those
things in place Jordan to make sure
we’re
on top of it and then I’m out there with
them doing these annual services as much
as possible which is typically one or
two days a week I’m I love the physical
side so I always anybody who works with
us works with us not for us so so
they’re working working with us and
that’s what I tell them and they not
only tell them you can tell someone
anything but when they show them that
you’re willing to take out the garbage
or clean the toilet then they really
start to realize and that’s just the
culture we’re trying to create here so
yeah that line it up a bucket full but
that’s kind of what my week looks like
typically Monday through Friday and then
I’m on my phone all the time my wife has
to has to tell me sometimes we’ll get
attacks come through at midnight now
I’ll take care of it we I’m constantly
watching their surveillance cameras
watching the sales through through my
own freedom app and yeah it’s it’s uh
it’s a lot of fun it’s a lot of fun I
enjoy it but I’ve really really gotten I
guess a high risk tolerance I think
something those of you looking to get in
the intimus industry need to need to
make sure you have which is high risk
politics by that I mean when someone
calls and says waters leaking you’ve got
to understand to take that when
someone’s calls it says there’s five
people fighting in your laundromat you
have to take that without that like
truly devouring you or somebody tried to
break in the Coke machine or you know
there was accident in the parking lot or
some I sleep in the bathroom I think um
some I’m it I’ve become immune to it
I mean life says I’ve become immune to
like so many things that she’s like
weren’t you British and other others too
I talked to it’s just you have to become
a medium because we’re we’ve always got
a glass door breaking somewhere we’ve
always got you know incidents and I’m
trying to pull up Ballard’s to make sure
we don’t have
by driving into the building so I don’t
so I’m just trying to put in all those
preventative things filters if you will
to keep things from happening that I
know are how possibility of happening so
yeah if you’re listening
make sure getting into this industry
that you do love people and that you
have a risk tolerance that that is not
gonna keep you up at night you know
worried about your business or or any
anything like that cuz yeah I’m I’m glad
that you say that because I you know so
so many I’ve experienced every single
one of those things that you mentioned
you know but from somebody sleeping in
in the laundromat to fight everything
all of that stuff and I think that’s
kind of you know when people think about
the laundromat industry you know nobody
really thinks it’s a glamorous industry
but they think you know I’m gonna show
up once a week collect some coins
you know maybe shake few hands well not
now we don’t you don’t shake hands right
now just but maybe you know say hi give
the little elbow bump or whatever and uh
you know and that’s it and and there is
a lot I mean just the nature of the
industry the nature of the population
tends to you know in just a nature of
people you know it’s just stuff happens
sometimes and so I think that’s great
great wisdom that you’re sharing there
because you know people need to know
that kind of getting into it because it
can it can to bury you I remember early
on you know something would happen and I
would freak out and now it’s like
somebody can call me and like my
laundromats burning down and I’m like
yeah I’ll be there in like 20 minutes or
you know whatever like it’s just you
know you got to just take it in stride
you know so I think that’s great yeah so
I don’t want to put any pressure on you
but Brandon who was on show number seven
says that his goal is to get to 50 so
I’m curious do you have you know do you
have any gold you have like a number
goal or do you have a direction that
you’re wanting to go you know from here
I mean you have 34 almost 37 laundromats
what’s the future holds for you guys
yeah just being better tomorrow and
today benno was yesterday
continuing to improve continuing to you
know serve the markets that were
currently already in the geographies
that were already in if the stores
needed there or for stores for sale
there and it meets our criteria
you know we want to to serve we want
that we want to buy that store that’s
like with the three that we have under
contract there in our market so it makes
sense um you know so that that’s it I
really don’t have a number that that I’m
pretty confident will most likely get to
fifty but also you know just just won’t
improve in every system that we have
operationally to where we can scale to
fifty or hundred I’ve got you know
friends that that have 100 but you know
I don’t know that’s not really my
aspiration right now just continue to
improve and I make checklist every day I
could show you on my huge whiteboard
that I have and also he raced them as
fast as possible when they’re complete
so I try to stay is short sighted in and
you know whatever the opportunity is
right in front of me handle that one
because a year from now you know who
knows what will be out there but uh but
I try to make the list yesterday we
needed to hire five new people I’ve got
three O’s training today and the other
two are training tomorrow so it’s it’s
just just things like that I try to stay
short sighted and by doing so checking
stuff off every day you look back and we
always talk about where it’s there you
know like you’re saying where’s there
for us and really there’s not a lot of
clarity but we enjoy it if I stop and
join then then then I’ll stop but I love
it man it’s been a blessing to me just
the industry and the opportunity that
I’ve been given so
I want to grow it I want to I want to
bring more staff along because every
time we grow I know that we’re gonna be
providing for another family you know
I’m gonna be able to staff more people
and I know that we’re gonna now we’ve
got the capability to reinvest
completely when we take over store you
know ten years ago we were gonna use
what we could not be fixed and you know
whatever equipment was there and we
maybe add a piece or two or ten now
we’re just able to completely remove all
the existing equipment and add all brand
new equipment so so I’m just thankful to
be at that point I think a lot of times
we all you know you know are looking to
where there is sometimes you know just
just stop and and smell the roses as the
old saying goes but but yeah I just want
to continue to build and have systems to
to so I can be with my family more and
be the best dad that I can be to my kids
and husband to my wife because you know
and that’s the great thing about this
business you know if if I do need to
take off I can manage a lot of things
from my phone I’m not sure how
entrepreneurs did it years ago before so
for those because I’ll have contractors
going places and and all sorts of things
and and I can do that from my phone
sometimes so that makes it nice I don’t
know if that answers your question yeah
I will tell you I’d like to get kind of
a hundred payment systems out there
pretty quick and then over the next
couple of years we can dive into the
fence system a little later but yeah but
that’s all my storage converted that
should be done by end of the year so
yeah yeah that and that just continues
to go on operations efficiencies
customer experience when it’s consistent
all across the board we try to not have
ABCD stores we try to try to keep them
all at at a the best we can keep maze
well I think I think you’re
I mean it’s it’s incredibly clear you
know just from this conversation so far
that you know you’re focusing on
customer experience and your focus on
you know your employees you know having
good experience and being taken care of
and being part of the family and in
operational efficiencies and I have a
feeling that those three main focuses
are a big part of your success and your
your ability to scale and to focus on
the small day-to-day that checklist and
checking things off of it you know like
you said you look back and it doesn’t
feel like a whole lot but when you look
back and you do a little bit every
single day you know it adds up to a
whole lot and especially when you start
dragging that out to five years ten
years and you look back and all of a
sudden you have 37 laundromats we have a
little section in the podcast we like to
call down to business and down to
businesses we just we just want to hear
a little bit of details about your your
business so tell us you’re in tell us
where you’re at and where your stores
are located kind of in proximity to each
other and into you and your family where
you guys are operating from which are
like radius and yeah tell us a little
bit about the location awesome so my
grandfather started in 1967 I think I
told you he ended up with the with the
laundromat and dry cleaners in 1967 he
was working in a sawmill and he didn’t
he was the he owned the property in the
rock layers and laundromat tenant went
out of business so he took that over my
my and and the first thing he did I
think it’s relevant now in remodeling we
always try to renovate improve the
stores the first thing my grandfather
did on day one is he removed a partition
in that laundromat in rural Eastern
North Carolina that separated the front
of the laundry for whites in the back of
hydroflax
so that was just one of the
kind of an awesome thing you know the
right thing to do and and and so so
since then we’ve been trying to improve
and get better at serving serving
everyone so that was that and my father
I dropped out of college and his dad
Jimmy was my grandfather’s nickname he
he’s still alive by the way we just
celebrated his 95th birthday so just a
birthday yeah I’ve got about a 12-minute
interview with him on video where he
just and it’s just incredible to hear a
little bit about his life story he
fought in World War two and was on the
vault in the Battle of the Bulge went to
the beach in Normandy and it’s just
great to be here he’s told me some
incredible stories and and King came
back he he farmed and it is is now still
95 years old still doing well but so we
started rural Eastern North Carolina and
then about ten years ago my father had I
think it was 12 laundromats he had done
a good job in the rural markets where
the population wasn’t so high of kinda
you know being the only shop in town he
bought out the existing laundries and
and and was able to to just kind of make
his brand in those small towns like I
said before some of the rural markets
couldn’t handle two stores even so he
wanted to to make sure that the stores
there served in those markets work or
the washhouse and so he did that very
successfully and we still have oh I
think about all of those stores and he
brought me my brother own bone loss zone
and and we started taking that model
from rural Eastern North Carolina to to
the more central North Carolina and
triangle raleigh-durham area where the
population instead of 5,000 people you
got
you know 300,000 in a city and in that
same model works extremely well we found
it work extremely well
the only variable was the real-estate
cost so your lease cost the utilities
were the same the cost of equipment was
the same you know so if that machine had
rolled eastern North Carolina was doing
three turns maybe it could do five in
the larger city and you could have more
machines in her store so we did that we
found the store in Raleigh a package of
three and grew it into Raleigh and now
we’re based out of Raleigh North
Carolina
we’ve got stores all the way down to
Lumberton at kind of the South border of
the state right at South with a border
that borders on South Carolina and then
down at the coast the Outer Banks some
people listening maybe have visited the
Outer Banks
we’ve got store down there and then then
all the way on down to to Raleigh Durham
Fayetteville and on Wake Forest North
Carolina but but that’s a little bit
about about our geography we cover and a
little bit about the history of the
company as far as our business we are
self service laundromats so we do not do
any wash dry fold we get that text a
couple times a day asking do we do that
service and we do not do that service
and I think that’s one of the things
that we decide to make a few years back
and I think it was the right decision
and we just try to be really good at
what we’re good at
and and it’s it’s allowed us to scale
and so that’s kind of that keep asking
if I didn’t ya know it’s that yeah so
you pretty much all I’m hearing is you
pretty much own North Carolina is that
that’s brunette when I’m here you know
we don’t we don’t own but about 50% of
our the properties on our stores on the
brand and talked a few weeks ago about
you know a rent that was I think he used
$8,000 he thought that was how you
probably don’t think that’s high and
count

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