Buying a Laundromat JUST Before COVID Struck

Bryan Neal bought his laundromat a month before the world closed down due to the COVID outbreak. As a new business owner facing an unknown future, Bryan tells the story of his struggle to hold onto the business and turn it into a thriving service for his community. 

Bryan’s story is one of grit, persistence, and bold action that has lead to his success. In this episode Bryan and Jordan discuss:

  • Buying a $50,000 business
  • Buying a business just before COVID
  • Bryan’s retooling strategy
  • Buying a second laundromat
  • Guerilla marketing tactics that lead to a 25% increase in revenue
  • Overcoming a laundromat’s bad reputation
  • Overcoming fear to get started
  • Launching a laundry pick-up & delivery service with Happy Nest
  • How to grow a laundry pick-up and delivery service
  • Old school vs. new school laundromat owner philosophies
  • Networking with other owners
  • Removing barriers for customers

And way more!

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By Laundromat Owners.
For Laundromat Owners.

Today's Sponsors

AtmosphereTV We’re brought to you today by my friends at AtmoshereTV! Now You may have heard my interview a few months back with Mike Kelly from AtmosphereTV where we talked about what a simple change in content on your TVs can do for your laundromat by getting depressing news stations OFF and something much more fun, entertaining, and family-friendly ON.  Since then, Atmosphere has grown to 50+ channels included in their service with everything from Surfing Dogs to Extreme sports, hilarious fails, and jaw-dropping videos from all over the world built specifically for business use. Atmosphere can be used to supplement your cable or you can completely cut your expensive cable bill and use Atmosphere 100% FREE saving thousands a year! Use my code RESOURCE when you check out or click the link or image to have your setup fee waived or contact [email protected]Atmosphere.tv for more information!

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Episode Transcript

00;00;00;00 – 00;00;22;28
Jordan Berry
Hey. Hey. What’s up, guys? It’s Jordan with the Laundromat Resource Podcast. This is show 108. And you know what? I am pumped that you’re here today because today we have an awesome show with Brian Neal who comes in and shares his story of buying his laundromat like the month before COVID broke out and what that experience has been like since then and where he’s at now and where he’s heading in the future.

00;00;22;28 – 00;00;46;03
Jordan Berry
Super good interview. Tons of great info. I know you’re going to love it and I want to jump right into it here in a second. But real quick, before we do, let’s do today’s Fastlane tip. Today’s Fastlane tip for you is never before that I know of. Has there been laundromat owner mastermind groups. And we have those now in the Laundromat resource Pro community.

00;00;46;03 – 00;01;04;00
Jordan Berry
So do you go pro take your laundromat to the next level, get into this industry the right way the first time, Wherever you’re at on that process, go check out a laundromat resource that comes as a pro. The link will be in the show notes and every other link that we talk about today will be in the show notes at Laundromat Resource dot com slash show went zero eight.

00;01;04;09 – 00;01;24;03
Jordan Berry
If you’re on YouTube, all that stuff’s down below in the description. Awesome and also real quick, if you resonate with Brian or you love what he’s doing is specifically in the pick of a delivery but just across the board of laundromats, just stay tuned because Brian actually is going to be available for some consulting or pickup and delivery training coming up in the future.

00;01;24;15 – 00;01;42;19
Jordan Berry
A lot of my resource dot com slash coaching. So then a lot of cool stuff. I think you’re going to love this interview with Brian so let’s go check it out Brian thank you for coming on the show. I’m super excited about this. We’ve been kind of going back and forth on Facebook getting ramped up for this thing and I am excited and welcome.

00;01;42;21 – 00;01;44;04
Jordan Berry
Thanks for coming on the show. How you doing?

00;01;44;16 – 00;01;57;29
Bryan Neal
Thank you, George. I really appreciate it. I’m doing well. I am in coastal Virginia, so it’s not quite California weather. You know, I am a snow cowboy, but, you know, so I’m not complaining.

00;01;57;29 – 00;01;58;28
Jordan Berry
Are you from SoCal?

00;01;59;11 – 00;02;02;05
Bryan Neal
Yeah. So I actually grew up in Cyprus. California.

00;02;02;06 – 00;02;02;22
Jordan Berry
Oh, yeah.

00;02;02;23 – 00;02;20;25
Bryan Neal
And then at one point, I moved to at this time, no one ever heard of this town is called Fallbrook in San Diego County. Uh huh. When I was there, it was literally a three stoplight town with six sheriffs in it. Being in high school, it was awesome because you could just get away with murder right?

00;02;20;25 – 00;02;21;24
Jordan Berry
Not literally.

00;02;21;27 – 00;02;33;06
Bryan Neal
No, not literally. But I mean, it was, you know, for a teenager, it was a good time. It’s real close to Temecula, but back then its immaculate was where you went for by for an off roading and now you can’t do that. It’s just so developed.

00;02;33;06 – 00;02;33;29
Jordan Berry
But yeah, it.

00;02;34;08 – 00;03;02;15
Bryan Neal
So I live there then. I joined the Navy in 1996 and when I was in Pensacola, Florida, I decided I was going to go to New Orleans and have a good time and just not show up to work. Right. And so as punishment, they were like, You’re going to Norfolk, Virginia. And so I got I got moved out to the coastal Virginia area in 1997 and been here ever since.

00;03;03;05 – 00;03;04;14
Jordan Berry
Awesome. And you like it?

00;03;05;19 – 00;03;25;09
Bryan Neal
You know, it’s funny although although I love SoCal weather, you do start to appreciate the seasons, you know like fall in spring and we don’t generally get the kind of bitter cold winters where we’re at. But you see I mean, you do you enjoy the seasons? Yeah. Yeah. Maybe it’s a gift. Maybe it’s because I’m 47. I’m getting older.

00;03;25;13 – 00;03;27;09
Bryan Neal
So it’s it’s cool to see what you’ve changed color.

00;03;27;09 – 00;03;32;18
Jordan Berry
I don’t know. Yeah, well, I enjoy the endless summer, so. Yeah, I know you do. Stick with that photo.

00;03;32;26 – 00;03;38;29
Bryan Neal
I’ll send you a photo of us from my wife and I. We’re in Hawaii because I always want a laundromat in Hawaii.

00;03;39;00 – 00;03;46;21
Jordan Berry
I know. Yes. Yeah, actually, we were just out there over Thanksgiving break, and I was scared. Now location’s over there, so.

00;03;47;03 – 00;03;52;27
Bryan Neal
I have a customer at one of my stores is moving to Hawaii, and they want to buy a laundromat. So they’re they’re always calling me asking questions.

00;03;52;27 – 00;03;56;15
Jordan Berry
But yeah, that’s awesome. Well, you tell them I have dibs already, so.

00;03;56;19 – 00;03;57;09
Bryan Neal
They’re out of luck.

00;03;58;12 – 00;04;05;09
Jordan Berry
Hey, why don’t we start with your story? Who are you? And how did you get into this? This business?

00;04;06;15 – 00;04;25;01
Bryan Neal
Yeah. So back to me. Being in the military, I was. You know, I had promoted real fast in the military. You know, realize I can only promote once more. So I switched over to the officer ranks. And then after about 24 years, I just was like, I need to go. This has been fine. But, you know, I had spent a significant portion of that time.

00;04;26;20 – 00;04;44;11
Bryan Neal
At one point I had done the Dave Ramsey method, except for I kept my mortgage, but, you know, it was invested in vice, but I paid off all the debt, snowballed it and I had a position, my wife and I, in a way that we would never have to work again when we were done with the military, she actually were in the process of retiring now.

00;04;44;22 – 00;05;06;03
Bryan Neal
Awesome. Oh, yeah. I mean, it was it was literally like, you could just wake up and do whatever you want. About six weeks prior to me actually retiring, I had to stay back for personal reasons from a deployment. I flew out later, but about about six weeks I was like, Man, this is awesome. Like, I’m going fishing every morning.

00;05;06;03 – 00;05;21;21
Bryan Neal
You know, I’m at the beach like, I got this killer tan, you know? And then it was like six weeks into it, I was sitting on the couch. It like ten in the morning, losing my mind. I’m like all the home projects are done. I’m spending $100 a day at Home Depot. All the projects are done and I’m losing my mind.

00;05;22;03 – 00;05;41;13
Bryan Neal
And I just looked at my wife and I said, the retirement plans that I have are going to change that. I can’t do it. So when COVID hit, they, the military knew that I was going to retire in the military in a lot of people home to telework during COVID. So they just said, okay, listen, you’re going to retire.

00;05;41;29 – 00;06;02;23
Bryan Neal
Just go home because of COVID and just, you know, communicate with us in case we need you or whatever. So I bought a laundromat and I was like, Why not? I still have income. I don’t know what a laundromat does, but, you know, I’m going to buy water back because I knew I needed something to do. You know, that’s kind of that’s that’s kind of how I got into it.

00;06;02;23 – 00;06;23;08
Bryan Neal
I tried buying a laundromat about might have been six years ago now, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But when my wife and I walked into the store and I looked around, I just said, We need to leave. And she’s like, What’s wrong? And I said, I don’t know. Just something in my gut says, Ron, there’s something wrong here, but I don’t know anything about it.

00;06;23;08 – 00;06;44;06
Bryan Neal
I just know something’s wrong and then, you know, fast forward in 2020, we bought this laundromat, but the idea came from my father. He has multi families in California. One of them’s in Newport Beach, and on Saturdays we would go to the common area laundry rooms and collect the quarters. And for whatever reason, that just stuck with me.

00;06;44;06 – 00;07;02;13
Bryan Neal
So, you know, I always knew laundromats were a recession proof business, right? So I always knew that that’s what made them smarter than other industries. But then when COVID converted them to essential business, I was like, Man, this is like this is like hitting the industry lottery here. I mean, what I mean, what else can you ask for yourself?

00;07;03;06 – 00;07;06;25
Bryan Neal
So that’s kind of how we got into it. Yeah, that’s.

00;07;06;25 – 00;07;18;14
Jordan Berry
That’s pretty wild. And I’m always like, kind of blown away at how people’s cars take them to laundromats because it’s just kind of a weird little niche that we’re in here. So it’s always interesting to hear that story.

00;07;18;14 – 00;07;21;17
Bryan Neal
Yeah, it is. It is. So, you know.

00;07;21;21 – 00;07;25;02
Jordan Berry
Like you said, you bought in 20, 20.

00;07;25;02 – 00;07;25;15
Bryan Neal
Jordan.

00;07;25;27 – 00;07;27;24
Jordan Berry
Did you buy when? In 2020 did you buy.

00;07;27;28 – 00;07;33;13
Bryan Neal
Oh, it’s great. So February. Well.

00;07;33;23 – 00;07;37;20
Jordan Berry
I mean for jumping right into the deep in there and in the fire you know don’t.

00;07;37;23 – 00;07;49;20
Bryan Neal
Don’t clue that literally was February like we signed the paperwork with the lawyer. We’re handed the keys and the government was like, everything shut down. Like, well.

00;07;49;20 – 00;07;56;05
Jordan Berry
I mean, how did that affect the business or did you even have enough run? So see how it affected the business.

00;07;56;06 – 00;08;19;11
Bryan Neal
It is funny because we were actually running for a few weeks prior to COVID shutting down. The problem with this first store was the customers, for whatever reason, didn’t have a good relationship with the owner. The store was older. It was like selling. Remember now 2030 top loaders or something. So it was your standard kind of bowling alley, top loader store.

00;08;19;11 – 00;08;40;25
Bryan Neal
But when we were doing the due diligence period, you know, as an asset sale, you know, so, you know, you’re not getting any information. We did a quarter count. I couldn’t tell you if it was real or not. It didn’t really matter. But prior to making the decision to purchase this, I had found out through conversations with neighboring businesses that that place had been there for like 20 years.

00;08;41;10 – 00;08;58;05
Bryan Neal
And I was like, well, if it’s been here 20 years, it can’t be losing money, you know? And it was cheap for us to buy it. So I just looked at my wife and I said, Listen, let’s buy this location. I think we paid 50 or something. I can’t remember. It’s been here for two, two decades that I’m aware of, Right?

00;08;58;14 – 00;09;15;12
Bryan Neal
If we failed and we have no business being in this business. So I ended up finding out later that I had been there 40 years, actually. So I felt like it was a safe bet to go ahead and just invest the cash in a location that had been there for that long. And it would teach you if you could do this or not.

00;09;15;12 – 00;09;36;06
Bryan Neal
So we did have a couple of weeks of data, but we did honestly, it was couple of weeks. Isn’t a good snapshot. But when COVID did shut everything down, this is in this area, this location, I should say, it’s a higher income area. So, you know, I call it a comforter dog bed blanket store, right? So when COVID hit and shut everything down, all those people stopped coming.

00;09;36;17 – 00;10;04;08
Bryan Neal
So there was easily a 30 and 40% revenue decrease that that we could tell in that short period that we did did have it. So that that did stop because I mean, you would go in there and open coin box, every coin box after coin box, and it was empty. So it made us nervous. Yeah. Well, you know, I look at everything as as a, as a lesson, right?

00;10;04;08 – 00;10;31;16
Bryan Neal
So I was like, okay, we obviously did not buy property in the ideal location, number one, and we bought during a pandemic and we get to stay open and we’re fortunate for that. So what what can we do with this store during this time period to understand customer patterns or what customers demand to get smarter? So that was that was in February of 2020 when I kind of started putting that plan together.

00;10;32;06 – 00;10;54;19
Bryan Neal
At that same time, I knew we needed a retool. So I contacted every distributor in the area. They’re like, That was a thousand square foot store. I never hear from them again. My distributor that I used today, I love him, he showed up and the very first thing he says is, is this location even open? Because the seeds were ready?

00;10;55;29 – 00;11;14;27
Bryan Neal
And I was like, Oh man, we’re in trouble. And I was like, Well, we need a retool plan and he can work with us. But a couple of weeks later, again, I said, I don’t even know how to fix it. I mean, I’m barely known how to turn these machines on as a customer, right? A couple of weeks later, he calls me and he says, Hey, I know this dark store in this other area.

00;11;14;27 – 00;11;42;11
Bryan Neal
It’s been empty for about three years, but there was a laundromat there, one of the chains here for 25 years. I was like, show it to me again. I don’t even know how to spell Laundromat yet. Right. Anyway, that’s the second store. So that’s kind of that’s Kobi did have an impact. Absolutely. But it also gave us the opportunity to learn, you know, in some of the things that we did was we put cameras in there so we could watch customers.

00;11;43;03 – 00;12;03;03
Bryan Neal
We put two £40 machines in there and we saw customers showing up that we’d never seen before. And then we put a few more machines in there. And of course, customer pattern, you know, the increase and then I just looked at my wife one day and I said, You carry cash. She says, Now I know the answer, right?

00;12;03;03 – 00;12;22;03
Bryan Neal
Either one of the who carries cash, Hardly anybody, but it was a coin store. So I said, Listen, we have to put something on there so people can pay with their phone. But our dryers were the old green ball mechanical, right? So I had to convert them over to digital, which was like at that time it was $250 a machine and the store makes no money.

00;12;22;03 – 00;12;24;19
Bryan Neal
So my wife’s like, You’re insane. You can’t do that. Yeah, you.

00;12;25;06 – 00;12;26;19
Jordan Berry
Keep throwing money at it.

00;12;26;19 – 00;12;52;04
Bryan Neal
Yeah, that’s what I do, right? She’s a bookkeeper, so I just keep throwing money and she reels me in. So she finally said, okay, look, convert six dryers and go ahead and put pay range on there. Best what you want to do at this time, at that time, pay or interest free or whatever, you know. So we did that and it was like within a couple of weeks we saw all these customers from a completely demographic coming in that we had never seen before, just using pay range.

00;12;53;00 – 00;13;26;21
Bryan Neal
So, you know, later on down the road and we retooled that store, we knew, okay, pay range was the one and everywhere. And, you know, so we just we used the COVID time frame one talk to learn how to run that store, how to bring new customers in and to how to open a dark store, because I had never built out a laundromat before, which there’s a big joke to this laundromat, but, you know, and not only build out a dark store, but expand it another thousand square feet and then expand it another thousand square feet, which is what I’m doing right now.

00;13;26;21 – 00;13;28;11
Bryan Neal
So anyway, well, we’re going.

00;13;28;13 – 00;13;50;11
Jordan Berry
To get into that in a second, but let’s back it up. Okay. So you found this this little laundromat. I mean, you mentioned like, hey, it’s probably not the best location you had. The you’re talking about the, like, punch in the gut feelings of when you’re opening coin boxes and there’s nothing in there like how how do you navigate?

00;13;50;11 – 00;13;59;05
Jordan Berry
Do you feel like this was a mistake or were you just like, head down, determine I’m going to make this thing work? What was your kind of mindset at that point?

00;14;00;18 – 00;14;20;07
Bryan Neal
I was head down, determined to find a way to make it work because going back many years prior, it was our second rental property. The first rental property we bought was a flat because I knew I needed to learn how to be a landlord, not how to flip a property. The second one we bought, I basically flipped it, but I almost bankrupted us.

00;14;20;23 – 00;14;37;11
Bryan Neal
We’re like, literally, I got to a point. I was sit on the stairs and cry because I didn’t know how to go home and tell my wife. I don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills because I took us too far deep. So I took that experience from many years ago. And when, you know, fast forward to this laundromat and said we’re in trouble, but I’m going to find a way out.

00;14;37;11 – 00;14;56;02
Bryan Neal
So, you know, like, one of the things we did is we just started to understand what was going on around us. Okay. So this area is is very close to a beach. Okay. So it’s covered right now. Right? Summertime is coming. People are going to be traveling. Okay. You know, but you can still go to the beach or whatever.

00;14;56;02 – 00;15;14;27
Bryan Neal
So I started going to the campgrounds around us and it was funny. It was like the people working at the campground were like, gosh, four years we’ve been waiting for the owner of this laundromat to come over here, just like business cards. And I was like, Who? Who wants business cards? She said, No, you’ll understand. This is a very Canadian heavy campground.

00;15;15;11 – 00;15;33;12
Bryan Neal
The people from Canada come here and book us out all summer long, but they don’t want to pay the data charges on their phone. So they come to the lobby and ask for a laundromat and we have no card to give them. So we just so when I learned that, I was like, okay, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, then I was like, okay, people don’t know we exist.

00;15;33;12 – 00;16;01;22
Bryan Neal
That’s part of our problem. There was no Google my business profile. There was nothing. So we established all that. And what was funny is a business down from in the same centers. Mine is called Lin Haven Coffee. So we, we named our Laundromat Lin Haven Laundry because it’s on the Lin Haven River. But the number one phone call we would get is where are you at next?

00;16;02;02 – 00;16;16;21
Bryan Neal
Where are you at? By Lin Haven Mall, which Lin Haven mall’s like eight miles from us. It’s not even close to us. And I realize right away that our name was causing a problem. And I went to the coffee shop owner and I said, Hey, I keep getting these phone calls. He’s like, Dude, I’ve been here three years.

00;16;16;21 – 00;16;31;09
Bryan Neal
And I, I guess he’s like, I’ve been here three years and I get those. I don’t get it. And I was like saying, I don’t know, because I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m changing my business name. So. So I changed it for that. It’s been changing, but at that time I changed it over to short drive laundry because that’s where it was located on Shore Drive.

00;16;32;05 – 00;17;09;13
Bryan Neal
And I just noticed going around laundromats, a lot of customers don’t really know the labor, the laundromat, they just know what street it’s on, you know? So I was anyway, so so that was kind of the things that we did to overcome a lot of the hurdles that had the hands down. I would say the biggest impact was the customer saw that they had owners that cared, the customers saw that they had owners that were willing to reinvest back in the business, and the customers rewarded us with repeat business and probably telling their friends, I’ve since learned that realtors in that area will tell their clients or whoever else, Hey, I hear this Laundromats.

00;17;09;14 – 00;17;35;25
Bryan Neal
Nice. Go use that one. I think at the end of the day that that was really the biggest one, the biggest deal because, you know, during COVID, the cost of everything went up, but customer service went down. And so my perspective was I have to be different than that. You know, because that is the expectation now. And that’s just that’s kind of how we pulled that place out of a hole in it did well for a while.

00;17;35;25 – 00;17;51;22
Bryan Neal
And in it it convinced us that I think March of the following year we did a washer retool in there. We still have this big queen, a £30 dryers in there, but we did a washer retooling there. And the place has just been doing better and better and better.

00;17;53;09 – 00;18;16;13
Jordan Berry
Yeah, Well, I mean, and that’s that’s a really thank you for sharing that because that’s an awesome story. I do a ton of consulting calls and probably the number one fear is, well, maybe like paying too much is the number one fear, but, you know, not not having anything in the coin. But I mean, that’s that’s the fear is like, what if I buy this laundromat and it’s not making any money?

00;18;16;13 – 00;18;33;26
Jordan Berry
Because it can be hard to know how much money, like you said, Like it can be hard to know how much money, a lot of match making where you buy it. And, you know, I mean, I think that the story is encouraging because it just kind of shows like if you can take a deep breath, like you can panic, right?

00;18;33;26 – 00;18;55;20
Jordan Berry
You can panic. But if you can take deep breath and assess the situation, you know, kind of logically and think through, okay, what are our hurdles? How do we get over them or underarm or around them or whatever you got to do, right? How do we do that and put the plan into motion that you can crawl out of that situation?

00;18;55;20 – 00;19;13;11
Bryan Neal
Yeah, I mean, I mean, what you’re saying is, is relevant because the opposite is just give up, right? And then somebody like me will just come by and buy it for even cheaper. It won’t give up, you know, And it may not be $1,000,000 store, it might be a, I don’t know, $80,000 store, but it gets a 42% profit margin.

00;19;13;11 – 00;19;29;12
Bryan Neal
And you spend 2 hours a week there, Right? Who cares? Yeah, You know, I mean, you know, so you’re correct. I mean, you can give up or you just got you just got to push ahead. There’s always a way. There’s you know, it’s even my we have an operations manager now and I always tell her there is always a solution.

00;19;30;00 – 00;19;41;28
Bryan Neal
Okay? It’s never just we can’t do this. There is always a solution. And when she says we can’t or something, I’ll say, say that sentence again, But take the word tent out of there, because that’s not that’s not an option. Oh, yeah.

00;19;42;12 – 00;19;46;06
Jordan Berry
I love that. So I was just writing that down.

00;19;46;08 – 00;19;46;17
Bryan Neal
Because.

00;19;47;04 – 00;19;50;10
Jordan Berry
So good. So I’m getting like, getting pumped up right now.

00;19;50;17 – 00;19;50;28
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

00;19;51;07 – 00;19;51;19
Jordan Berry
Okay.

00;19;51;24 – 00;19;52;22
Bryan Neal
So in.

00;19;52;26 – 00;20;10;27
Jordan Berry
In your story. Okay, well, first of all, so you mentioned that you bought this thing for, you know, 50 grand or whatever or something low and basically you were not expect thing from what I’m hearing, I think correct me if I’m wrong, but you were not really expecting to be making money or making too much money or anything substantial.

00;20;10;27 – 00;20;16;19
Jordan Berry
So was your plan going in, Hey, we’re going to go in and improve this thing and and and increase it from the get go.

00;20;16;20 – 00;20;38;05
Bryan Neal
Or that’s why I told my wife it’s been here for decades. If we fail, we don’t belong in this business. You know, I will say this, though, and this really did help me a lot when I started fixing a store up. This guy came by one day, he introduced himself and he goes, My name’s Jerry. I owned this location for what did he say?

00;20;38;11 – 00;20;56;05
Bryan Neal
18 years. He had five locations at one time. I said, This is always my favorite location. And he goes, I’m so happy to see someone fixing it up. And we just got to talking. And he mentioned something about a part on one of the machines, and I was like, What is that? And he goes, Do you know how to fix machines?

00;20;56;05 – 00;21;14;23
Bryan Neal
I was like, No. And he goes, I’m going to show you how to fix machines. I’ma show you how to maintain machines. And that guy has long since been retired from the business now, but he’s always a text message away. You know, where the clean show. I literally had a catastrophic failure, a drain that locked the door right in an unattended store.

00;21;15;07 – 00;21;36;00
Bryan Neal
And I just I said, Jerry, I read the Clean Air show in Atlanta. He said, I’ll be there in 15 minutes, you know, And so, so he he was a huge help because the machines are older and we’re breaking. Right. If but if I had to pay a technician on top of no revenues and rent and all, we might have really been in trouble, to be honest with you.

00;21;36;20 – 00;21;53;12
Bryan Neal
So, you know, that guy was a huge, huge, huge part to our success in the beginning. And he still is today, you know, and he’s also a laundromat guy. He doesn’t run like we do now, but, you know, he still has wisdom and he still has, you know, tricks that you can see, see me a lot of heartache.

00;21;54;23 – 00;22;04;28
Jordan Berry
Yeah. And I’m just from our previous conversation, I know we’re going to talk more about kind of the importance of having Jerry’s in your life and Jerry’s his name.

00;22;05;20 – 00;22;06;01
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

00;22;06;12 – 00;22;25;17
Jordan Berry
Jerry’s in your life. And so we’ll get there and talk about that. Okay. So when you were talking earlier, you mentioned this, you kind of just kind of threw in this dark store and, you know, kind of rebuilt, but you kind of threw it in right after you were like, pull it out coin boxes and they’re all empty.

00;22;25;17 – 00;22;34;08
Jordan Berry
So, I mean, was that when you looked at the Dark store when we’re not going Well, yes. As I know, another foolish Laundromat owner.

00;22;34;08 – 00;22;34;26
Bryan Neal
Who.

00;22;35;23 – 00;22;51;24
Jordan Berry
Bought a second laundromat when they weren’t really making any money, this guy right here. And so I’m I’m curious as to why you were dumb enough to do it, because I know I was dumb enough to do it. So why were you dumb enough to do it a lot?

00;22;51;24 – 00;23;11;17
Bryan Neal
And a lot of what happens, I guess, struck me as kind of just I just get a feeling, you know, I had no idea how this store perform or not. It was irrelevant. What I did know is locations are hard to find. So if I was being shown a location that had a chain laundromat in it for 25 years, I probably shouldn’t ignore it.

00;23;12;01 – 00;23;27;19
Bryan Neal
That doesn’t mean I can afford it. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it, but I shouldn’t ignore it. So what I did is every day I will either go over there in my truck or go over there on my motorcycle. And I would sit there for two days and watch the shopping center. I just said, there are not two days, 2 hours.

00;23;27;28 – 00;23;51;26
Bryan Neal
I would just sit in the parking lot. I would do traffic counts, see how fast cars are coming and going. You know, wasn’t a busy shopping center. You know, it has a corner store. You know, people hang out at. So who needs to be run off because that’ll affect the laundromat business. And I just saw analyzing all those things, not knowing really much about the industry.

00;23;51;26 – 00;24;10;26
Bryan Neal
I was just kind of going off my gut. And so I after I think it was two months, I went back to my distributor and said, Get in contact with the owner of the building. And we went in the store all the it was Jordan, It was awesome. All the infrastructure was there. I was like, Oh yeah, right, yeah, right.

00;24;11;11 – 00;24;32;09
Bryan Neal
It’s like, this is our way. And and the owner, you could tell the owner was probably somebody that was important in the area, right? But was also very cautious about who he was going to allow to be a tenant. And all I knew was and again, I had no money to pay for this, right? I said all I knew was I had to convince this guy I was the right person.

00;24;32;22 – 00;24;41;00
Bryan Neal
And I went in there and just started pointing out things, talking about machine sizes and turns and cuts literally like stuff. I was just randomly reading places.

00;24;41;15 – 00;24;43;22
Jordan Berry
Going around the lingo like it.

00;24;44;22 – 00;25;02;16
Bryan Neal
And that guy, he had his general contractor with him and his bookkeeper there. All three are basically interviewing, interviewing my my wife and I. And the owner looks at me and he goes, I don’t know what it is about you, but I believe in you. He goes, I don’t know why. He goes. I just he goes, Something tells me you’re going to be successful.

00;25;03;00 – 00;25;07;07
Bryan Neal
And he goes, So if you want this place, it’s yours. And I was like, Sweet.

00;25;07;07 – 00;25;09;13
Jordan Berry
So don’t go check out my other laundromat.

00;25;09;29 – 00;25;29;19
Bryan Neal
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, actually, they did. I told him, Don’t worry, that was a work in progress now. But you know, but so I was like, sweet. I said I was like, Dustin, let’s order equipment. You know, I don’t know what it was at that time. It was covered prices. They were still throw rebates at you, not like a year or two ago where they were just running a train over you.

00;25;29;19 – 00;25;51;21
Bryan Neal
But right. So I don’t know what it was. It was like a quarter million or more equipment, you know, it was a 1500 square foot store. But again, all the infrastructure was there was legit were like, yeah, then a permit was pulled. Okay. So the joke going in was it was a laundromat before just order equipment and put it in.

00;25;51;23 – 00;26;22;26
Bryan Neal
Right. Well then a permit got pulled. Everything’s out of code. All the electrical, all the mechanical, everything, everything had to come out all the way down to the frames. Basically when I say frames like ceiling frames. So new drop ceiling, new ductwork, I mean, everything. Everything had to go back new. That was like I would sit here. We had other investments as well, but I would sit here at night every night, literally with a spreadsheet that was run out like 12 months shuffling.

00;26;22;26 – 00;26;38;03
Bryan Neal
Who am I going to pay this month, this month? How? I literally just doing this dance with dominoes or whatever you want to call it, never knowing if we were really going to make it, but convincing everybody that was dealing with us that we could pay it. We’re going to get this done. We did. We did get it done.

00;26;38;23 – 00;26;50;20
Bryan Neal
But it was very scary. There was a lot of nights where, you know, I would wake up at one in the morning like, Oh my God, this is due next week. How am I going to get this done?

00;26;52;25 – 00;27;16;25
Bryan Neal
But it turned out to be a phenomenal turn out to be such a good experience that it actually taught me how to see future builds. So like when I expanded that laundromat again, I just do it myself and I just coordinate with all the contractors. But it turned out to be a very, very smart decision. And one of the things that I told the store owners, I said, listen, we’re going to come in with a high end laundromat.

00;27;16;25 – 00;27;31;21
Bryan Neal
We’re going to have the best machines in the area. We’re going to have the nicest store in the area. I said, But you have to clean up the shopping center. I will help you do that. These guys that hang out all day long bombing for money, they got to go because they’re just going to hurt my business and I’m not going to spend this kind of money.

00;27;32;24 – 00;27;55;19
Bryan Neal
So in the other, the other thing that I told him is the sell the store next door to me was a cell phone store at one time. I said it has to stay vacant for at least six months, so if I need it, I keep I can get it. He agreed to all that. And so we opened that store in October of 2020, and in April I ordered more equipment for that to make the store bigger.

00;27;56;19 – 00;28;01;04
Jordan Berry
Yeah, you are like, what got you timing wise? You are just like, Yes.

00;28;01;14 – 00;28;01;29
Bryan Neal
Yes.

00;28;02;10 – 00;28;04;07
Jordan Berry
I’m going to do it all now.

00;28;04;07 – 00;28;25;24
Bryan Neal
And I did have some good timing. I won’t lie, you know. But that store, too, I was I was you know, I got the demographics. You know, I saw the water bill from the previous because the building owner already has the water records, you know, So Alliance analyzed the water bill and told me whatever they told me about it, you know, but it seemed like a pretty safe bet.

00;28;25;26 – 00;28;46;08
Bryan Neal
But I didn’t really know, you know, And so we opened in September. It’s a it’s a hip store, you know, So we have hipster man and, you know, the app, you know, the customers are paying all that, which is a genius idea. But so we opened October one, and in December I left to my wife and I was like, the revenues aren’t good enough.

00;28;46;29 – 00;29;05;11
Bryan Neal
And she’s like, What do you mean? There’s stores doing like three times what other stores? I said, Yeah, but look at our rent and loan. It’s just not good enough. We got to do something. So in January, I created a flier, right? And we went on Amazon and ordered plastic door hanging bags. Okay, old school stuff here, right?

00;29;06;03 – 00;29;32;29
Bryan Neal
And we ordered 2000 of them. I think at that time, 50 of them was 2500 homes, like 20 bucks. My wife printed 2000 fliers at work. So we to have to pay for the printing because we had no money and we literally spent the first two weeks of January. I targeted specific neighborhoods in the area and we spent two weeks door hanging and we had a 25% revenue increase that month and the following month.

00;29;32;29 – 00;29;41;26
Bryan Neal
Not only do we sustain it, it increased another 4% and the following month it increased again. I was like all school door hanging.

00;29;41;26 – 00;29;43;27
Jordan Berry
Who and I marketing. I love it.

00;29;43;29 – 00;29;49;24
Bryan Neal
Yeah, it was it was crazy and it did work. It it actually worked really well.

00;29;49;27 – 00;29;51;29
Jordan Berry
What do you mean? What do you mean? Door hanging bags?

00;29;52;02 – 00;30;11;10
Bryan Neal
What exactly right Is there literally like plastic bags that you order on Amazon? They’re rectangle long so you can fold a flier in it and you hang it on the doorknob. Okay. Okay. And it was like 500 of them for like $20, you know, pre-COVID, whatever prices. But yeah, I mean, it was the.

00;30;11;11 – 00;30;12;23
Jordan Berry
$200 now, but it’s.

00;30;12;23 – 00;30;23;15
Bryan Neal
Fine. Yeah. Yeah, but even then let’s, I mean, let’s just say I spent $100 on plastic bags and I got a 25% return in revenue at the store. I mean, it was insane.

00;30;23;16 – 00;30;24;12
Jordan Berry
Pretty good. R y.

00;30;24;25 – 00;30;46;05
Bryan Neal
Yeah. You know, another thing we did to make to help get that store off to a good jump is remember when I told you I sat in the parking lot prior to actually ever opening that store? Part of what I did is sitting in a parking lot as I would talk to the people coming and going because I started recognizing patterns of this is a repeat person that comes to this shopping center.

00;30;46;14 – 00;31;03;22
Bryan Neal
So I would go, Hey, what happened to the laundromat here? Oh, that place was so terrible. As soon as they open up in the morning, people were sitting on machines doing drugs, smoking, drink in one of those kind of stores. And so I knew that was something we were going to have to overcome, because in that neighborhood, everything there is word of mouth.

00;31;04;03 – 00;31;28;02
Bryan Neal
And if you’re bad, you’re bad. If you’re good, you’re good, you know, And they all talk. So what we did was we we sent postcards out in the mail. And at the time I was not happy with the results. But I’m kind of smarter about marketing now. So we really didn’t have terrible results. I think my expectations were just too high, but we ran to free two weeks of free drivers because I knew we had the best drivers in the area, the hottest drivers.

00;31;28;02 – 00;31;51;22
Bryan Neal
We had the reversing technology. But more importantly, I just need to get them in the store so they could see how nice we were compared to the competitors around us. And that free drive promotion actually worked pretty well. But what happened on day one was when these machines are installed, their comp program from the manufacturer with a price increase for hot water, right?

00;31;52;00 – 00;32;07;08
Bryan Neal
The van goes up $0.25 am. My distributor was there with me for the grand opening because he was so excited. For three years he’s been trying to open this store and he was like, he goes, Dude, I barely know you, but I just cents on tells me you’re going to blow it up right? So he was there at the grand opening just in case there was any issues with machines.

00;32;08;13 – 00;32;28;04
Bryan Neal
I don’t even think it was 2 hours into us opening and I heard four times in 2 hours. That’s why the dryers are free, because you’re charged just for hot water. This place is full of you know what? And I looked at Dustin, I said, turn that off right now. And I said, I get one chance to get these people back in the store and I’m losing them right now, and I know they’re going to title.

00;32;28;19 – 00;32;47;20
Bryan Neal
So while customers are still in the store, he went into hipster jumping and I didn’t know how to do it at that time. I do now. I turned it all off in one shot because that was an opportunity to pull them in to see how nice your store was, you know, and you didn’t want a 25 cent upcharge leaving the life cycle the customer could spend in your store.

00;32;47;20 – 00;33;10;24
Bryan Neal
It made no sense to me. So, you know, that was something we learned on opening that store and that store. I mean, we iresearch down to light spectrums. We have like hospital grade ceiling tiles. So, you know, a feather duster easily cleans them off. I mean, it’s all of our walls are FRP panels, so you never repay. You can’t I mean, nobody marks it up.

00;33;10;24 – 00;33;35;16
Bryan Neal
You just wipe it off the, you know, the, the LED lighting that I chose bounces off the white FRP panels, which bounces off the porcelain tile floor and and all of our bulkheads are made out of the laminate flooring, not the carnival colors. You know, you kind of see it. Other laundromats. So, you know, it’s nice. And it was a good experiment and it taught us a lot in what happened wasn’t.

00;33;35;29 – 00;33;57;08
Bryan Neal
So we did the fliers, we saw the revenue increase February, we saw the sustainment, whatever. And now keep in mind, my wife has two iPads, so she’s literally watching both stores all day long. And she starts telling me, hey, customers are getting pissed off. And I knew it anyway because I was getting phone calls where customers are getting pissed off because they can’t get dryers.

00;33;57;25 – 00;34;19;18
Bryan Neal
We had to drive capacity problem. What we didn’t know is that neighborhood the government put in a lot of properties that had washers but no dryers, so they would wash at home and come there to dry, which wasn’t an issue until I did that. So we hung the door fliers right then it became an issue. And so I was like, Dustin sent me a quote for the other store.

00;34;19;18 – 00;34;39;22
Bryan Neal
I want hundreds. I want 80. I want 60. I want the same dryer bag. And when I crunched the numbers on the loan and the rent, I just looked at my wife and I was like, this is from a financial standpoint, we’re going to make less money. But from a customer service aspect, we’re going to totally win because they want to use the store.

00;34;39;22 – 00;35;06;26
Bryan Neal
They can’t because they can’t get dryers. And so we just said, screw it, let’s let’s take the chance. And so I see that one. The other guy took six months. It took me three months to get it up and running and I predicted we the additional rent and loan payment reduced how much we were making. But when the store got bigger, the neighborhood talked, Oh, they’re making it bigger.

00;35;07;17 – 00;35;22;10
Bryan Neal
And in to them, the owners were investing back in their business to serve them better because the other laundromats in the area will do that. And so actually it ended up really just increasing our revenues. At the end of the day, it ended up being a total win.

00;35;22;10 – 00;35;23;02
Jordan Berry
That’s awesome.

00;35;23;10 – 00;35;28;16
Bryan Neal
Yeah. So and we’re expanding it again now for pickup and delivery operations only.

00;35;28;16 – 00;35;52;04
Jordan Berry
But yeah, yeah, that’s what I mean. And that’s how I don’t know, man, that takes some guts. I like, I like that because it’s, you know, that’s feels risky, right? It feels risky because a lot of this pretty much pretty much all along the way. You’ve been saying I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen, but we did.

00;35;52;04 – 00;35;54;05
Jordan Berry
And I didn’t know it was going to happen. But we did it.

00;35;54;16 – 00;35;56;12
Bryan Neal
I didn’t even know about your podcast at the time.

00;35;56;25 – 00;36;03;20
Jordan Berry
Oh, man. See, just think of how far you could be if you had had it back then.

00;36;03;20 – 00;36;05;05
Bryan Neal
All the mistakes I made.

00;36;05;14 – 00;36;26;11
Jordan Berry
So yeah, join, join the club. And pretty much everybody who’s been on the podcast is in that club too. But you know, I was going to say one of the you know, I mention I do a ton of consulting calls. Well, one of the issues I run into a lot like a lot, a lot. And, you know, if you’re listening to this, this might be you, your boat, you know, where it’s it’s scary.

00;36;26;11 – 00;36;48;25
Jordan Berry
Like genuinely it’s scary to take a step and go buy a business. You know, you might come into a situation where you buy the business and the coin boxes are empty, you know, for a long time and you got a struggle and you have those nights where you wish you would have appreciated the boring retirement a little more because you’re stressed out and you don’t know where the money is coming from.

00;36;48;27 – 00;36;49;10
Jordan Berry
You know, you.

00;36;49;10 – 00;36;50;17
Bryan Neal
Nailed that one. Yeah.

00;36;51;03 – 00;37;11;09
Jordan Berry
And yeah, I spent a lot of you know, my my story was I wanted to buy a condo in Hawaii, go live over there. My wife said buy a laundromat. So I spent a lot of time stressing about that laundromat, which now is sitting on the beach in Hawaii. So I get it. Yeah, but, you know, so taking that step can be scary.

00;37;11;09 – 00;37;33;07
Jordan Berry
And and I get that, and I understand that how ever I run into a ton of people and again, this might be you if you listen to this, who said they wanted to buy a laundromat or they said they want to make a real estate investment. They said they wanted to do something and you can’t overcome that first step because of just the fear.

00;37;33;28 – 00;37;56;14
Jordan Berry
And so I’m curious for you, how did you get to a point where you just said, okay, I mean, I wrote down this quote, I wrote it down is probably going to pop up on Instagram or Twitter or something. But I wrote it down. You said, screw it, let’s take the chance. How does somebody get to that point where they can say, screw it, let’s take the chance, let’s take the step, let’s take the leap.

00;37;56;21 – 00;38;01;16
Jordan Berry
I’m not going to achieve my goals unless I take the chance. How can somebody overcome that?

00;38;03;01 – 00;38;24;20
Bryan Neal
I, I think, you know, to be honest with you, it’s I think part of it is just in, you know, it’s not something that you can necessarily teach people, you know. And then for me, you know, I come from a family of entrepreneurs anyway, and then, you know, spending 24 years in the military, you know, when you have to deploy overseas to do X, Y and Z, you can’t fail.

00;38;24;20 – 00;38;51;10
Bryan Neal
You have to have backups to backups, contingencies and contingencies. I mean, sometimes I’m managing 160 people all over the world, and I have to have layers of loss. So it’s it’s it’s when I got into real estate investing, I had the fear, right? I knew what I knew in my head was if I put $30,000 into a rental property, it’s going to make me $500 a month, $700 a month, whatever that number is.

00;38;51;10 – 00;39;12;22
Bryan Neal
Right But my fear was, what if I fail, right? And so I was like, Well, I mean, what am I going to fail here? I can never do that in the stock market. I can’t put $30,000 in the ETF. I get $700 a month or whatever it is. Well, my fear was tenants, you know, in this case, it was, you know, they’re gonna trash the place or they won’t pay rent.

00;39;12;22 – 00;39;37;00
Bryan Neal
And then I, you know, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. And so that’s when I actually I had spent seven years saving to buy our first when I say I it’s always my wife as well. So we had spent seven years saving. I mean, at one point we were so broke, we picked up change in a parking lot just to buy dinner, like buy chicken, breast and rice just so we could eat, you know.

00;39;37;21 – 00;39;58;20
Bryan Neal
So we we had spent seven years saving to get into a rental property, but I could never pull the trigger because fear of tenants. So what I did was I put down the books because I realized the books that I were reading, although they had value, they were a decade old, you know, And markets have changed. You know, people can say tenants are always tenants, but that’s not true.

00;39;58;20 – 00;40;17;09
Bryan Neal
As to as generations grow up, millennials, gen whatever they call, they all have different expectations in in rules they live by. So I knew if I was gonna be successful in real estate investing that I needed to learn how to be a landlord. So that’s why the first property I bought was a flip. All brand new, everything works.

00;40;17;09 – 00;40;35;12
Bryan Neal
I don’t have to worry about an air conditioner breaking that I can afford and I use that. And I actually became a member of Bigger Pockets to learn how to become a landlord. And then as I got more savvy at real estate investing, I used to contribute a lot on bigger pockets, but I have it in years even.

00;40;35;26 – 00;40;55;06
Bryan Neal
They used to have one of my clothes up in the office. I don’t really do any more or not, but I, you know, it’s I went to real time resources right, to learn. So in the laundromat industry, how do I get over that fear? You know, again, there’s podcasts out there, there’s yours, there’s, you know, I think Dave Bateman’s has one role in now.

00;40;55;12 – 00;41;19;18
Bryan Neal
You know, there’s but there’s several there’s several channels of information that you can get. The Facebook groups are hands down. I mean, even you got your weirdos in there, the guys who just like to start fights or whatever, you know, But hands down, there’s a lot of people in there like like myself that just genuinely want to answer your question or help or guide you or, you know, like somebody bought a delivery man the other day and they said, Hey, what modifications should I make to my delivery man?

00;41;19;18 – 00;41;34;21
Bryan Neal
I said, Don’t, don’t go crazy. It just think of driver fatigue, okay? Soundproofing and a coat rack. You’re off and running. You know, you don’t have to spend 10,000 on shelves and all this kind of stuff. I mean, if you want to go ahead, you know, so to get over your fears, you just you have to identify what it is.

00;41;34;21 – 00;41;52;27
Bryan Neal
But go find the real time resources. Don’t don’t don’t identify as a fear. Buy a book that was relevant 20 years ago. You know, now that that coin laundry book that I’m reading is older and that one’s actually really good. I can’t remember the I heard on one of your podcasts. I can’t remember the title of it.

00;41;52;27 – 00;41;55;05
Jordan Berry
Yeah, I forget the name of it too, but I.

00;41;55;05 – 00;42;17;08
Bryan Neal
Have it in my kitchen. But that one actually cracked the code on demographics. That’s been one of my biggest things since I got into this industry is like demographics is like a secret. It’s like, I’ll tell you a little bit about this, a little bit about that, but I won’t quite connect the dots. That book does a phenomenal job, a phenomenal job of filling in the gaps of I should send Teddy Booboo to go to sleep and to go get my book.

00;42;17;08 – 00;42;37;17
Bryan Neal
But yeah, so that’s how you get over the fear, you know, And then you’ve heard the phrase analysis paralysis, you know. So again, that generates you’re just fueling your fear at that point. At some point you have to say, I’m accessible with this risk, let’s do it. You know, back to my first store. If I fail, I lose $50,000.

00;42;37;17 – 00;42;54;29
Bryan Neal
It’s not like I have a quarter million dollar loan that I have to pay back. What I did a few months later. But, you know, I’m very I move very fast. Most people that deal with me with business transactions are like, dear Lord, this guy boost fast. I said, Yeah, because I want to go on to the next one.

00;42;54;29 – 00;43;01;28
Jordan Berry
But I like that. I like that style. I’m a fast mover too, in my life. Yes, the pulling on the reins.

00;43;02;06 – 00;43;04;05
Bryan Neal
Yeah. Same here, same here.

00;43;04;05 – 00;43;05;19
Jordan Berry
It works out nicely. It’s a.

00;43;05;19 – 00;43;08;14
Bryan Neal
Good balance. Yeah. How?

00;43;09;03 – 00;43;15;19
Jordan Berry
How quickly between the two laundromats, like after you bought your first one. How quickly you buy your or get your second one.

00;43;15;25 – 00;43;33;25
Bryan Neal
February 21st one, we had to run out the homeless and the people skateboarding in there. Right. And then October 20 was the second one. April of 21 was the expansion. And now August of 22 is the third expansion. Yeah, man.

00;43;34;19 – 00;43;48;14
Jordan Berry
Quick, quick, quick. I like it. You know I like it. I like it. Okay, So you got you got two laundromats, but I know that you also at point on the timeline, maybe you can place it on the timeline for us. You started doing pickup and delivery, right?

00;43;48;27 – 00;44;23;19
Bryan Neal
Yeah. Yeah, that. That. So I was happy nest. I think I spent about two months vetting them because I wasn’t this is how I looked up at pick up and delivery. I covered it, taught an entire generation that anything could be brought to your home. And their kids were watching. Okay, it’s not going away. You know, And the other thing that I looked at, pickup and delivery and I still use this example today is for it’s the future and here’s why.

00;44;23;19 – 00;44;46;00
Bryan Neal
If you’re old enough to remember that all your neighbors used to cut their grass, but nobody cuts are grass anymore. You know Joe’s landscaping company comes by cuts the grass laundries the next phase I mean it’s maybe one customer has a laundry bag out front, but ten years from now, probably 70% of the homes in that neighborhood will have a laundry bag out front.

00;44;46;10 – 00;45;09;25
Bryan Neal
And so I just knew that it was it was not that it hadn’t been for a long time, but very small part of the population probably knew about it. So that’s when I started looking into getting into it more and I looked at options of, you know, doing it myself, you know, some of the other things. And it was actually somebody from happiness.

00;45;09;25 – 00;45;31;16
Bryan Neal
I can’t pick me up on one of my business pages and then hit me up on another one and I just like, dude, instead of hitting me up at all these places, just call me like, all right. And so anyway, they kind of gave me what they were about and I said, okay. So I spent I had, you know, sent me the contract, I reviewed it, I sent all these questions back.

00;45;32;21 – 00;45;59;22
Bryan Neal
I literally found happiness operators across the country. I think I tracked down ten and I called one, I called two, I called three, I called four, I called five, I called six and I stopped. All of them had nothing but good things to say. And I was this is just a random population. I literally just went to Google Maps and like happiness, Texas, happiness, Florida.

00;45;59;22 – 00;46;23;00
Bryan Neal
I didn’t know who I was calling and I just stopped. I was like, If all these people are happy, you know, you’re going to have your outlier where that person will never be happy. You know, I just stopped at that point three back with them, and then we started to pick up delivery operations with them in August. You know, it’s interesting, but 2131 Okay.

00;46;23;09 – 00;46;46;12
Bryan Neal
Yeah. Again, fast, right. So, you know, one of the things that I had concerns about with them was the revenue share model. But it was funny, I went to people in other industries that I knew that were very, very successful. They had owned franchises or whatever else over the years and they were like, What is it? What is that percentage paid for?

00;46;46;12 – 00;47;02;03
Bryan Neal
And I was like, Well, I don’t pay credit card transaction fees. You know, they free bags, marketing, whatever, all the stuff was. Right. And they’re like, but most of those activities don’t actually generate any income. They’re like, That’s a deal. I would take that all day long and I would laugh and I talk to these people because I’m like, No.

00;47;02;03 – 00;47;27;28
Bryan Neal
In our industry it’s like we’re getting ripped. I said, It’s an industry perception. That’s why I’m going outside the industry. And these people that I was speaking to, they were like, You are, you’re insane. Like, I would sign that contract today before anybody else could, you know? And so in hindsight, I’m very thankful I did it. It’s been a great relationship of they they have been very supportive of, you know, our our complaints.

00;47;28;10 – 00;47;45;07
Bryan Neal
You know, you know, we need help with this. We need more women. We need more traffic driving this. Whatever it is, you know, hey, I need this. I mean, you know, they’re constantly evolving, you know, the customer service aspect of the partnership order. And it just keeps getting better and better. It’s the longer the relationship goes, the happier we’ve been.

00;47;45;19 – 00;47;57;21
Bryan Neal
You know, you’re going to have people say, I can pay for my own marketing, I can do whatever. I get it, I get it, I totally get it. It’s not for everybody, you know, But, you know, when I went to these people outside the industry and they were like, that’s a no brainer. I was like, I’m not going to fight it.

00;47;57;21 – 00;48;13;20
Bryan Neal
You know, I’m okay. I’ll just roll with it. And, you know, I called their headquarters whenever I talked down to you. You know, they’re good people out there and they work hard every day to try to help us. I’m not selling happiness by any means, but it’s been a great, you know, in the beginning we had some issues.

00;48;13;20 – 00;48;32;06
Bryan Neal
But, you know, John Mackrell, he was down here, we met we met for coffee at Panera Bread. He said, Lay everything on me. And I think I’ve bitched him out for about 30 minutes. You know, he’s a mouse, but he went back and fixed it all, you know. So it’s been a good relationship, you know, But so yeah, we started that in August.

00;48;32;06 – 00;48;33;23
Bryan Neal
It was a slow roll.

00;48;35;05 – 00;48;43;18
Jordan Berry
How did you get started? I mean, did you already have people working with you? Did you have a van driving? How did that work out?

00;48;43;19 – 00;48;47;18
Bryan Neal
Employees Yeah. So we now we we literally.

00;48;47;18 – 00;48;49;21
Jordan Berry
Had just opened a can of worms. Yeah.

00;48;50;01 – 00;49;08;06
Bryan Neal
So we literally had half a guy named Karl, local guy in the neighborhood that he, he would come and take out trash for us at night. And over the years I’ve taught him how to be I say years. It hasn’t been very long. But, you know, I taught him how to maintain machines and stuff. So we had him and we had another girl that worked for us that would do deep cleaning on machines at night.

00;49;08;17 – 00;49;26;18
Bryan Neal
And that was it. It was my wife and I would go to the store day twice a day. So I was doing the driving. And it’s funny, people will ask me this question a lot. They’re like, How did how did you know it was time to start hiring people? And when I look back on it, it’s funny now, but it wasn’t funny then.

00;49;26;18 – 00;49;37;29
Bryan Neal
So I was doing it driving. My wife and I were doing the process, which I was then removed from the processing because I’m just not good at folding clothes and I’m okay with that.

00;49;37;29 – 00;49;43;02
Jordan Berry
How convenient she wants to be. And I went all the time. I’m not good at taking out the trash.

00;49;43;04 – 00;50;05;05
Bryan Neal
Exactly. So trust me, it’s a great trick, right? Yeah. So we wake up one morning, log into the software, and we’re like, Yeah, we got eight pick ups. So they like, This is a record, right? Yeah. And then when I picked it up, they were all huge, like huge amounts. I can’t know what the poundage was. Now when I got to the store, I was like, Man, that’s my why you got to come out of there.

00;50;05;05 – 00;50;14;19
Bryan Neal
Van We’re in trouble. And we open up the van and she was like, Oh my God, I can’t. We can’t process all this. I said, We got to get it done right. So we process.

00;50;14;26 – 00;50;18;27
Jordan Berry
Folds. So when I say, Yeah, I mean you, you’ve got to figure it out.

00;50;19;09 – 00;50;35;03
Bryan Neal
I was folding that day, I tell you that. So we we were folding and it was like 6:00 at night my back, her, you know, she was I was like, listen, we’re we’re way too tired or way too many mistakes. I said, Let’s just call it a day. We’ll come in at three in the morning, get the orders done.

00;50;35;12 – 00;50;50;24
Bryan Neal
So we come in at three in the morning. Of course, that plan sale. I have to go start doing pickups and drop offs. And when I come back at 11, she’s still finishing the orders that day before. And that’s when we looked at each other and was like, That’s it. We’re hiring people. And that’s when we we got into the employee business.

00;50;50;24 – 00;51;28;24
Bryan Neal
And that was probably November 21. And since then we’ve grown. We have nine people on staff right now. We have our I call her my operations manager. She’s the store manager. And the reason why I called my operations manager is because I have a compensation plan with her that she gets a percentage of the net operating income increase quarterly if she keeps me out of the store because it allows me to pursue other parts of the business and try to grow other parts of the business to bring more revenue.

00;51;28;24 – 00;51;32;17
Bryan Neal
And so it’s worked out well for us. But listen.

00;51;32;17 – 00;51;37;13
Jordan Berry
I want to make sure that it’s not so you can sit around and be bored in retirement again, because.

00;51;37;15 – 00;51;38;20
Bryan Neal
It’s really going.

00;51;38;20 – 00;51;39;18
Jordan Berry
Full circle here.

00;51;39;18 – 00;51;44;23
Bryan Neal
What I want to. But it’s not going that way.

00;51;44;23 – 00;51;47;19
Jordan Berry
You sound more like you’re ramping up than oriented back down.

00;51;47;27 – 00;51;51;26
Bryan Neal
That’s an area that is an accurate, accurate thing to say. 100%.

00;51;52;00 – 00;52;10;15
Jordan Berry
Yeah, Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, I think that, you know, it it’s it’s it can be tough to start a pick up a delivery business, especially if you don’t already have employees working full time that you can just say, hey, you’re here anyways. Let’s start processing laundry.

00;52;11;07 – 00;52;29;23
Bryan Neal
You know, you’re right. It is tough and I tell people you’re not just dip in your toe in the water. I mean, once you engage in this, I mean, you’re no longer operating a laundromat at one or three mile radius. You know, you’re so you’re you’re all in, you know, so you got to be all in. You can’t just kind of sort of do it, you know?

00;52;30;11 – 00;52;43;08
Bryan Neal
It is it’s it is. You know, we’ve all said this before. It it’s a different business model, but it can be a very lucrative one if you if you do it correctly. Honestly, I’m stop looking for a third store because of it. Yeah.

00;52;43;13 – 00;52;53;01
Jordan Berry
Yeah. And I know that that that happens to you, you know, and until you hit capacity on your current stuff, you know, it kind of makes sense to keep scaling that pickup and delivery.

00;52;53;01 – 00;52;57;00
Bryan Neal
Oh, yeah, We got lots of capacity now. Lots. We keep.

00;52;57;00 – 00;52;57;18
Jordan Berry
Expanding.

00;52;57;18 – 00;53;13;24
Bryan Neal
It’s I got 68 machines in that store right now and they’re all 100 pounders. They turn all day long. All those things just turn and turn. And the hundreds and eighties are awesome for our summertime accounts, The big reality accounts that we do, because they’ll give us like 15, 1700 pounds of linens a week and those hundreds of eighties just tear right through them.

00;53;13;24 – 00;53;15;26
Bryan Neal
So yeah, those are a good deal.

00;53;16;17 – 00;53;20;03
Jordan Berry
Yeah, that’s awesome. So it looks like.

00;53;21;00 – 00;53;21;09
Bryan Neal
You.

00;53;21;15 – 00;53;39;14
Jordan Berry
You start pick up delivery like August 21 and like November 21, you started hiring. So it seems like that ramped up pretty quickly for you. I mean, how how did you start off the like, how did you start getting customers that happiness rhythm to you? Did you have to go out and get them? How did that work?

00;53;40;10 – 00;54;09;29
Bryan Neal
Yeah. Is it so happiness, you know, did all that. But I’m back to guerilla marketing, right? I would say maybe spring when we kind of had a stable workforce in place, right? Probably about spring is when I said, I’m going to start going out on sales calls and I would literally just pop in a dentist’s office. I mean, I would just go out and push things, you know, network with realtors or whatever.

00;54;09;29 – 00;54;27;29
Bryan Neal
So I was doing like on the ground kind of stuff. But most of the business was being driven through their marketing efforts. So that’s kind of how I, I give them their credit for growing at the most the beginning, you know, I tried my stuff on Facebook. I’m not good at that. You know, I just put Teddy Boo-Boo out there.

00;54;27;29 – 00;54;29;09
Bryan Neal
People seem to like that. You know.

00;54;29;24 – 00;54;32;19
Jordan Berry
Some of that. Your dog. You mentioned a couple. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

00;54;32;27 – 00;54;54;08
Bryan Neal
You’ll see. Yeah, you’ll see him on. You’ll see him riding my bike, riding my motorcycle with me and all kinds of other dumb stuff. But yes, yes. So they, they, they drove most of business in the beginning, without a doubt. And they still do. I mean, I think some of my parallel efforts have brought business, but 90% of it is their marketing efforts.

00;54;55;01 – 00;55;10;08
Jordan Berry
Yeah. So, I mean, do you think that, you know, if somebody goes with like a happiness type of business model, that it’s worth it to do those parallel marketing guerilla, you know, kind of things?

00;55;10;17 – 00;55;32;17
Bryan Neal
It’s funny that it’s people will look at this in like, well, you’re I’m paying you to do the marketing, so why am I doing it? You should do it. Yeah. I mean, if that’s your argument, that’s fine. You know, But I would tell people if you had a self-service laundromat with Wash, it sold and you had a marketing company and a website, do you just not tell anybody?

00;55;32;17 – 00;55;55;18
Bryan Neal
You do wash your fold, you just stay quiet. That’s why marketing companies know. You tell people because one lead is better than no leads, right? So, you know, the SEO company that I’m using right now, I’m having them fix my personal business, SEO issues in Wash and fold and all that. And once that sorted out, I’m going to start calling in pickup and delivery into their efforts as.

00;55;55;18 – 00;56;21;00
Bryan Neal
Well, because one, I’m already paying for them. Right. So if I, if I’m helping happiness service or whatever service you have, I don’t care what the name is if you’re growing, isn’t that what matters at the end of the day for your business that you’re growing? Yes. So if I’m already paying a flat rate for SEO work and all they have to do is start adding keywords and writing blog posts for pick up and delivery, I mean, why wouldn’t I do that?

00;56;22;13 – 00;56;50;21
Jordan Berry
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I love that. And I mean, I think it’s, you know, it’s like it’s like anything so, so many times we want to just kind of outsource everything and not do anything. But, you know, I mean, if you’re it’s your business, right? It’s your business. And so you need to number one, you kind of got to manage the the marketing anyways and just kind of make sure stuff is going on, make sure you’re growing right.

00;56;51;05 – 00;57;13;05
Jordan Berry
But I mean, ultimately the onus is on you to grow your business, right? Provide a good service. And you know, you can’t offload the responsibility to someone else. So reminds me of the book. I really love. I really loved the book, but the extreme accountability book, if if something’s going on in your life, like you need to take ownership of it.

00;57;13;05 – 00;57;34;02
Jordan Berry
You need to have accountability for it, or extreme ownership is what it’s called. And, you know, take ownership of it. And there’s nothing that happens in your life that you can’t influence. So, you know, well, that’s not entirely true, but you know what I mean? Like, you can influence off stuff. And so, yeah.

00;57;34;02 – 00;57;35;04
Bryan Neal
You can sort a challenge.

00;57;35;08 – 00;58;09;24
Jordan Berry
Yeah, right. Then maybe. I don’t know. It could be a new goal too. Yeah. Yeah, right. But you need to take ownership of of your own life, of your own business and your own success or your own failure. And once you kind of take that mindset and you can’t, you don’t you’re not blaming other people for your successes or failures, taking responsibility or taking ownership for them, then I mean, I think that’s when you start to see more and more growth, not just in your business, but even just personally and in developing yourself.

00;58;10;10 – 00;58;41;15
Bryan Neal
No, I mean, you’re correct. I mean, it’s it’s funny because back to my operations manager when she’d been with us for a year, a year ago, I would not disclose the amount of information that she has today, But because of who she is today, you know, we show she sees our profit and loss, you know, And so she knows you know, she knows that when I’m we have a very our approach to managing a business with staff is they communicate up to us.

00;58;41;15 – 00;59;10;12
Bryan Neal
We communicate now, you know, so we take all of their inputs and if they’re good, we bring them on board. You know, if they’re not, you know, there’s the final vote, obviously, in PR, who my manager is, she’s she she knows how much business loans we have, you know, and so she knows if Brian and say and all their they lose their house right so she knows that’s how serious this is you know she’s on salary but this isn’t just a laundromat job.

00;59;10;21 – 00;59;28;23
Bryan Neal
You know there’s a lot there’s a lot going on here. And that’s just part of taking ownership of it. So, you know, most people would never disclose that to their staff. I understand that only one person gets to see it. But now she runs our business completely differently because she sees what we have at stake and she sees it.

00;59;28;29 – 00;59;49;00
Bryan Neal
We we don’t even take a salary from it. We give everything back to the business, growing a business, improving customer and the staff, you know, as she sees us getting down and dirty and working just as hard as they do when we need to. And that’s part of the empowerment in just taking ownership of everything. That’s that’s how you really build a good team that supports you, you know?

00;59;50;08 – 00;59;50;21
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

00;59;50;29 – 01;00;14;26
Jordan Berry
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Okay, So yeah, you’ve got a couple laundromats, you’ve got a growing pickup up delivery service business that you got going on there. What, what, what does the future hold for you? What? What you have plans going forward? I mean, you said you kind of stopped looking for another laundromat and you just trying to scale your pickup delivery.

01;00;14;26 – 01;00;15;12
Jordan Berry
What’s the plan.

01;00;15;12 – 01;00;45;11
Bryan Neal
Here? Yeah, I had a third location identified, but when when Alliance was just pushing prices to, you know, the level they were, I just wasn’t interested. And to be honest with you, adding pickup and delivery and what’s other things I got going on? I’m busy enough anyway. But so yeah. So equipment prices and infrastructure costs just kind of put expanding locations on hold and just, you know, it’s if a good deal came by, I wouldn’t ignore it, don’t get me wrong.

01;00;45;11 – 01;01;14;07
Bryan Neal
But you know, I’m not actively pursuing that. We are focusing on growing our pickup and delivery and be focused on pushing more into the commercial market. That’s one reason why I expanded the location into another suite. So I have the room to handle more commercial stuff. Another goal of mine this year is, is I also dabble in apartments, meaning putting washers and dryers and common areas of apartment complexes.

01;01;14;07 – 01;01;33;11
Bryan Neal
I have one right now. I have another one that I hope hopefully I’ll get. But next year I want to focus on growing that part of the business as well, because it’s just it’s an it’s an easy revenue stream for not a lot of work, to be honest with you. And I think it’s 94% of my transactions at that location are from people I meet.

01;01;33;11 – 01;01;59;00
Bryan Neal
So it’s not like you have to go. I go every like four months just to look at it and take whatever quarters are in there, you know. But it’s it’s that’s a huge industry run by a lot of big players. So I’m just a little guy trying to get a niche. I think garden variety, nicer equipment and a better customer experience for the building owner and for the tenants, you know, So that that’s my angle against the other.

01;01;59;00 – 01;01;59;27
Bryan Neal
Guest. Yeah.

01;02;00;11 – 01;02;03;11
Jordan Berry
Kind of like. And then micro mattress model.

01;02;03;11 – 01;02;08;03
Bryan Neal
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. If only I would have started 20 years ago. I know.

01;02;09;00 – 01;02;10;01
Jordan Berry
I know it.

01;02;10;10 – 01;02;34;01
Bryan Neal
You know there’s another goal that I’ve always had. I just, I’m trying to find the right person is I want to start another business and I want to get into pest control. Like pest control? What they are. That’s a huge industry. Huge. I mean, when you look at their numbers, you’re like, why? And it’s subscription income. So you can predict, you know, you can kind of predict your business growth and what you’re going to do.

01;02;34;02 – 01;02;54;11
Bryan Neal
And then what I’ve been trying I just I don’t have time to get all certification licenses or the interests. So what I’ve been quietly searching for in the area here for a long time is somebody who’s in a pest control business, like an employee or whatever, who wants to start their own. It just needs an investor to get behind them.

01;02;54;18 – 01;03;00;24
Bryan Neal
And then I’m going to get the pest control business and then I’ll figure something else out to get into it after that.

01;03;01;27 – 01;03;10;17
Jordan Berry
Yeah, well, you can go collect up all the roaches from your pest control business and release them and your competitors and man, another revenue object. They’ll do that.

01;03;12;12 – 01;03;18;27
Bryan Neal
So this funny ring of roaches, I read that I Google a Google review was of a laundromat. I said that I’ll never be on my location.

01;03;19;05 – 01;03;31;19
Jordan Berry
Yeah, Yeah. Well, when I bought my first one, it that meant the roaches were, like, the size of my face, I swear. Yeah. When I got that thing and they. Yeah, not good. Nobody wants to bring roaches home from the laundromat, right?

01;03;32;06 – 01;03;33;07
Bryan Neal
Oh, yeah.

01;03;35;08 – 01;03;54;01
Jordan Berry
Awesome. I have. I have one more question before we get into our next little segment here. You mention I just wrote it down because I thought it might be interesting to talk about. And you may not have a lot to say about it, but I thought I’d bring it up. You mentioned Jerry being an old school laundromat guy, right?

01;03;54;01 – 01;04;18;01
Jordan Berry
And so I. I don’t know. I thought maybe we could chat about what are some of the differences between old school and and new school kind of philosophies of laundromats? Because I’m very intrigued at where the industry is heading right now. I think it’s changing more now than it ever before and like faster. So I’m I’m curious what your thoughts of what the kind of old school mentality versus sort of a newer school mentality of laundromat ownership.

01;04;18;01 – 01;04;18;07
Jordan Berry
You know.

01;04;18;07 – 01;04;41;17
Bryan Neal
I 100% agree with you that it is changing. And I think it’s because there’s a whole new breed coming in. But not only are they coming in, they have access to information like these podcasts and private Facebook groups. You know, the old school laundromat guys, you know, that they they they have their equipment 20, 30 years. You know, they they learn how to fix everything that, you know, under the sun.

01;04;41;17 – 01;05;03;04
Bryan Neal
And they don’t raise prices. They just you know, it’s you know, they only take quarters. You know, they don’t they don’t think about other options. And it’s not that they weren’t successful in their in their run, but it’s just it’s funny. Back to that Jerry guy and this is why I never ignore relationships. I’m a huge believer in partnerships, right?

01;05;04;11 – 01;05;21;10
Bryan Neal
I could have easily just told that guy, great, be on the store for 18 years. I don’t care. You’re dismissed. Right? I could have easily told that guy. But then what? Right. It led to him teaching me how to maintain the machines, him teaching me how to fix the machines. He would even tell me that particular store before the summer season.

01;05;21;10 – 01;05;40;22
Bryan Neal
You want to open up all the top loaders and replace any belts that are starting to look bad, right? I would have missed out on all of those Golden Nugget, but then that led to when he was closing his last store. He didn’t want to close it because so many customers needed it, but the lease was just ridiculously high.

01;05;41;01 – 01;05;59;05
Bryan Neal
And he just came to me and he said, Brian, he goes, I can’t see you in the store. He goes, I know you’re going to lose the law. I can’t do that good faith. And I was like, Well, Jerry, that’s that’s actually you’re starting to kind of live on in another way. I said, Because I’m doing a washing machine retool and I ordered some new machines, but I’m looking for some newer used machines.

01;05;59;23 – 01;06;17;08
Bryan Neal
BAM Right. There was a 6240s to thirties and all I did was go over, I helped him tear his old store down. You know, he gave me his change machines that he didn’t need anymore. He even gave me the old clockwork counter. You know, is a clock. I think it is. And jams all the time. It’s is a big pain in the ass.

01;06;17;08 – 01;06;33;03
Bryan Neal
Right. And I was sitting there in his store just cranking away a know and you know, while I was there helping him tear down his store, you know, he’s like, hey, all these motors right here for these dryers are the same as your dryers. Go ahead and take all these parts. Go ahead and take them. They’ll work on your machines.

01;06;33;03 – 01;06;53;15
Bryan Neal
It all led to that because I didn’t dismiss a guy who was just happy to see a store be redone, you know, So he you know, he just I think when I think he had his top loaders at like $2 or something, it was in his other store. They closed like $1.75. It’s just you know, it’s just it doesn’t work like that, you know?

01;06;55;11 – 01;07;13;20
Bryan Neal
So it’s not a it’s not that he did anything wrong. It’s just in today. You have to bring in technology, you know, and you have to bring in options. And, you know, the old school laundromat owner guys, you know, not all of them, but, you know, just a few that I’ve known here, there, you know, it’s just it’s the way I did it for 20, 30 years.

01;07;13;20 – 01;07;19;08
Bryan Neal
It’s the way it’s going to states. I’m out of the business, you know, because they you know, they don’t want to reinvest back in it or whatever it is, you know? Yeah.

01;07;20;06 – 01;07;41;04
Jordan Berry
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I see a lot of the same things. And like you said, there’s nothing wrong with either model, really. It’s it’s not a right or wrong, but it is a a hey, the world is a lot different than it was even 20 years ago. You know, there were no smartphones like 20 years ago. You know, like it’s it’s.

01;07;41;04 – 01;07;43;02
Bryan Neal
Changed. I mean, there’s flip phones. Yeah.

01;07;43;12 – 01;07;50;12
Jordan Berry
Yeah, it’s yeah, exactly. I don’t think I had a maybe 20 years ago was when I got a cell phone. I was in college.

01;07;50;19 – 01;07;52;22
Bryan Neal
I remember 20 was when I got my first cell phone.

01;07;52;23 – 01;07;54;11
Jordan Berry
Yeah. That might be you. And I did too.

01;07;54;26 – 01;07;56;08
Bryan Neal
Because we had eight years before that.

01;07;56;16 – 01;08;02;12
Jordan Berry
Yeah, exactly. And my mom had it like an old car phone that was like a little briefcase based.

01;08;02;13 – 01;08;04;13
Bryan Neal
Oh, yeah. It came with that big battery pack.

01;08;04;13 – 01;08;29;00
Jordan Berry
Yeah, exactly. I in good times. Okay, now we’re just dating ourselves. Yeah, The. Yeah, but, I mean, things are changing, right? And so, you know, the one caution I would say to anybody who’s kind of clinging to that old school model, some of the things that you just said is things are changing, like I said, faster than ever.

01;08;29;00 – 01;08;51;19
Jordan Berry
I think in our industry and in our world. And if you don’t adapt at least a little bit with that, then I, I think that a lot of laundromat owners will be left and a lot of laundromats that have served communities for a long time will kind of slowly devolve into zombie mats or just go out of business and so.

01;08;51;19 – 01;08;54;01
Bryan Neal
Or an opportunity. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

01;08;54;01 – 01;09;14;00
Jordan Berry
So yeah so I mean you know just that that’s kind of one day I just kind of want to put out there is like stuff’s changing right now and not, it’s not the same. I know things didn’t really change a whole lot from like 1980 to 2010 probably. It was not a whole lot of change in our industry in the last five years or so.

01;09;14;05 – 01;09;17;01
Jordan Berry
It’s changing a lot. It’s changing fast and you need to be aware of that.

01;09;17;25 – 01;09;41;23
Bryan Neal
Yes. Here’s here’s some more validation to what you’re saying there. So I always tell people when they want to get into rental properties, I tell them just here’s expectations upfront. Almost every property you come across is going to be run into the ground. And I said, because the guy bought it, whoever it was bought it, they ran it like they did for 20 years, never replaced anything, know nobody and everything.

01;09;41;29 – 01;10;01;23
Bryan Neal
And now you got a dollar, right? And then you go over to Coin Laundry or the laundromat industry. You buy a store, 20 year store, you just run the machines into the 20 year mark, 25 year mark, and you punch and run right there. You know, the walls, everything in there is all dated, whatever. In the new school laundromat, you open a store, right?

01;10;01;28 – 01;10;19;13
Bryan Neal
Three tool, whatever it is, ten years, and you need to make a decision. This is just my personal opinion. It doesn’t mean I’m right for me at ten years and I’m going to make a decision. Do I want to continue to be in this industry, in these locations? If the answer’s yes, I’m probably going to retool relatively soon.

01;10;19;13 – 01;10;40;13
Bryan Neal
If the answer is no at ten years, I feel like the store still has tremendous value. One, because I keep legitimate books, and two, because, you know, these these machines, depending on the number of times per day you’re doing, you know, can last 20 years. So so the machines aren’t at the end of their lives. You know, it’s I think, new school laundromat owners are looking at that.

01;10;40;13 – 01;11;07;06
Bryan Neal
They’re looking at depreciation costs. They’re looking at, you know, all those factors, you know, But you have to identify a timeline. It’s like this take a Chevy Silverado. Right. Which I have a 2021 high country. It’s worth more now than then. I anyway, that’s a whole nother conversation. But take the Chevy Silverado, right? If you sell a Chevy Silverado below 100,000 miles, it’s worth significantly more than over 100,000 miles.

01;11;07;13 – 01;11;26;08
Bryan Neal
So over a hundred miles, you might as well just keep it, right? So now let’s talk about a laundromat. Once I’ve had these machines for 15 years, if I’m not going to get the business model riding the train because they’ve lost so much value at that point, there’s no point selling them anymore. You know, it’s just that’s that’s how the new guys are thinking.

01;11;26;08 – 01;11;31;11
Bryan Neal
The old guys are like, man, this store was great for 20 years. I’m out, you know? So anyway.

01;11;31;11 – 01;11;48;24
Jordan Berry
Yeah, yeah, I love that. And I think you’re right. That ten year mark is a is a decision point. I mean, it could be before that. Obviously, but that ten year mark is a decision point where you’re right, the machines still have some value, they still have some life left in them. And, you know, that’s the time to cut bait if you’re thinking about getting out.

01;11;49;27 – 01;12;01;10
Jordan Berry
But man, if you’re if you’re thinking about staying in, I think probably around that 15 year mark is when you should start thinking about replacing those machines pretty quick. It depending you’re going to get.

01;12;01;10 – 01;12;12;08
Bryan Neal
New technology, your maintenance headaches are going to go away. I mean, all this stuff we already know, you know, it’s just that that’s what the new school guys are bringing to the table, that the old school guys just did it, you know, Anyway.

01;12;12;14 – 01;12;36;02
Jordan Berry
And I think it’s a it’s a it’s not even that they were running wrong before. I think it’s a product of the innovations in the industry, you know. And so they didn’t they didn’t need to do all this stuff and think this way back then because the machines were pretty much just the machines and there weren’t very many developments and they weren’t focusing on efficiency and yada, yada, yada.

01;12;36;02 – 01;12;37;26
Bryan Neal
And most customers knew top loaders.

01;12;37;27 – 01;12;42;20
Jordan Berry
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Even still wi fi. I get it. Sadly. Yeah.

01;12;43;17 – 01;12;44;25
Bryan Neal
I love top loaders.

01;12;45;03 – 01;13;10;03
Jordan Berry
Yeah I love them too. I love drop kicking them out of my store. So I’m just getting. Okay, so we have a segment on the show called Down to Business and Down to Business. I mean, we’ve talked about a lot of the stuff that I like to go through and down to business, which is typical. But I want to just kind of make sure we cover the bases so people understand a little bit more about your business.

01;13;10;03 – 01;13;14;22
Jordan Berry
So remind us, you’re coastal laundry there where you guys look.

01;13;14;22 – 01;13;18;28
Bryan Neal
It’s already laundry. What’s that? Coastal Virginia laundry.

01;13;18;28 – 01;13;22;07
Jordan Berry
So Virginia laundry. There you go. You guys are in in Virginia?

01;13;22;28 – 01;13;23;12
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

01;13;24;06 – 01;13;32;02
Jordan Berry
And You have two laundromats and a pickup delivery, and you run your pickup delivery out of. Are you doing it out of both laundromats or just your second location?

01;13;32;02 – 01;13;47;00
Bryan Neal
Not at this time. So we one location, we have is in Virginia Beach and the other one is in Chesapeake. Chesapeake is my I call it my flagship store. That’s the one that has all the capacity. That’s the one that I have now, adding a third suite, too. So we’re running it out of there currently.

01;13;47;25 – 01;13;49;21
Jordan Berry
How far apart are there from each other?

01;13;50;17 – 01;14;11;12
Bryan Neal
About 20 minutes. Okay, So we we for our pickup and delivery. I try not to go more than 30 minutes in one direction. Now, I did push into North Carolina recently because the marketing guys were showing hits on the request for the service. I don’t think anybody services that area to be honest with you. So it’s a little bit further than I normally go.

01;14;11;12 – 01;14;32;05
Bryan Neal
But if it takes off, I’m only guy in town, you know, so you know, but I try to keep. But yeah, those are the two stores. Virginia Beach, one of the remember contingency plans and backups. The backups, the backups. Virginia Beach is not $1,000,000 store, but Virginia Beach Market is a very successful market for a lot of businesses, period.

01;14;32;21 – 01;14;49;00
Bryan Neal
So if if my customer base in Virginia Beach would pick up and delivery outpaces the other areas, then I’ll run from both locations because it would make sense to run Virginia Beach out of Virginia Beach and but the growth is we’re not there yet. So that’s a long term planning.

01;14;49;27 – 01;14;57;06
Jordan Berry
Yeah, for sure. Where’s that speed run, man? Let’s Just get it going today. Let’s get off this call and let’s just start. Drive, drive. And I’ll be.

01;14;57;06 – 01;14;59;21
Bryan Neal
Honest with you, it mans weren’t so expensive.

01;15;00;05 – 01;15;11;24
Jordan Berry
Oh, yeah. Oh, my. Even if you can find them, I mean, just finding on this crazy. I’ve seen some guys doing some crazy stuff like buying old Dodge caravans and stuff because they can’t find it anywhere else.

01;15;11;27 – 01;15;30;14
Bryan Neal
Yeah, yeah. Honestly, we don’t. We don’t. The way that I’ve structured our routes is we go do all the pickups and we bring it back to the store so they can start processing and then we go do all the drop offs so we don’t have a, you know, those guys that run their pick up and drop offs or whatever, they get back at 8:00 at night and start processing.

01;15;30;14 – 01;15;42;16
Bryan Neal
We don’t do that. I mean, when we get bigger, obviously we’re going to run into those problems. So we’d all but the way I have the routes laid out and structured now, we don’t we don’t need to do that currently and we can run out of one location with no problems.

01;15;42;26 – 01;15;54;01
Jordan Berry
So yeah, yeah, well, and you should be able to do that at a one location for a while. You know, there’s you can, you can process a lot of laundry in one store in 24 hours, you know, if you end up going overnight. So.

01;15;54;24 – 01;15;57;01
Bryan Neal
Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

01;15;57;24 – 01;16;02;10
Jordan Berry
Do you, do you lease both of the locations that your laundromats are at?

01;16;02;10 – 01;16;08;14
Bryan Neal
So so yes and yes. Okay. For how long? I don’t know.

01;16;09;16 – 01;16;13;00
Jordan Berry
Meaning you’re going to buy the buildings or what does that mean?

01;16;13;16 – 01;16;16;19
Bryan Neal
I’m. I’m in the middle of some confidentiality agreements.

01;16;16;20 – 01;16;17;04
Jordan Berry
Gotcha.

01;16;17;17 – 01;16;18;27
Bryan Neal
Cool. Awesome.

01;16;20;14 – 01;16;25;14
Jordan Berry
Let’s just keep that as a secret. Everybody just keep it on the damn good idea.

01;16;25;18 – 01;16;31;13
Bryan Neal
Secret team of us reached out to me the next month, and then I’ll.

01;16;31;13 – 01;16;35;26
Jordan Berry
Well, you know what? Just tell me more air until around then. You might be good. You might be golden.

01;16;36;14 – 01;16;37;04
Bryan Neal
Okay, good. We’re.

01;16;37;07 – 01;16;45;17
Jordan Berry
We’re doing this at the end of the year 2022. So. Okay. You’ve been in the business a couple of years, right? Almost three coming up on three.

01;16;46;05 – 01;16;47;24
Bryan Neal
Every Oriole be three. Yeah, they’re.

01;16;47;24 – 01;16;55;03
Jordan Berry
Coming up on three. That’s awesome. Can we talk about, like, how much does it cost to do laundry in coastal Virginia.

01;16;57;06 – 01;16;59;26
Bryan Neal
For pickup delivery? Self-service drop off?

01;17;00;02 – 01;17;01;16
Jordan Berry
Yes. Oh, yes. Okay.

01;17;01;16 – 01;17;39;06
Bryan Neal
So currently right now for residential, commercial or residential pickup and delivery charge, 205 and then 230 so 205 for weekly, 230 by request, certain areas around here due to location or other factors, they get charged $0.25 more per pound, which is those areas are growing quickly. It’s mind blowing to me. But anyway, drop off service, we do dollar 25 a pound, dollar 54 same day and self-service.

01;17;39;06 – 01;18;02;19
Bryan Neal
So let me see top loaders right love on those things do sell me terms per day. It’s insane. I just keep raising the price. They don’t care how long they have for of truth in advertising and eventually they’ll be replaced by thirties once they’re old. But so top letters are for 25. My thirties for 5040s are five, 56 are 725.

01;18;02;19 – 01;18;29;26
Bryan Neal
Just cause I haven’t changed them yet, I’m just being nice until the end of the year that I’ll change in the new year. The eighties are 1150 and the hundreds are 1350 and then they’re my £75 dryers. I do. What is it? $2 full cycle, dry for 30 minutes, five minute top off. And this is this is kind of important to me at least.

01;18;29;26 – 01;18;55;27
Bryan Neal
So I have four £75 dryers. They were doing about nine turns per day because people loved them so much. All my other dryers are 45 pounders. So I have, what, 18 £45 pockets? They were doing like three. And at first I was like, Yeah, hey, this is awesome. But then I was like, Well, wait a minute. The life cycle, the £75 dryers is going to get eaten up in comparison to my foot.

01;18;55;28 – 01;19;14;01
Bryan Neal
I mean, if they’re doing nine turns per day and the others are doing a three, they’re going to wear out much quicker. So in this in that particular area, this is Chesapeake. They are very, very sensitive to price increases. You have to slow roll them a quarter at a time. Okay. Or else they they feel like they’re they’re being taken advantage of.

01;19;14;01 – 01;19;32;11
Bryan Neal
It’s whatever just how the neighborhood works. So I switched my 75 pounders knowing it would be a problem for a lot of them to $2 in full cycle dry and immediately they went to three terms per day. How much? I get my 45 pounders at $0.25 on purpose and immediately those terms per day went out and it all just balanced out.

01;19;33;01 – 01;19;43;06
Bryan Neal
Yeah. So that’s why that’s why I don’t do full cycle dry on all the dryers in my particular case because I’m trying to get the life cycle, all the machines to all last about the same amount of time. Yeah.

01;19;43;14 – 01;20;26;23
Jordan Berry
I like that. And that’s, that’s another, you know, you know, obviously this is well known in the industry, but people are getting into it Don’t say know this is another kind of point for you know if you have if you have quarters in your laundromat or if you have a card to segment out the the size and type of machine that you have and and gather the collection data, whether that’s coin or card by machine size and type, because it gives you data like that where you can see that and the 75 pounders are getting slammed and I have a lot of capacity on the other ones the 45 pounders and the same for washers,

01;20;26;23 – 01;20;43;17
Jordan Berry
too, right? People love the top loaders can keep raising the price is trying to sort of disperse that out to some of the other machines because, number one, they’re probably more efficient. But number two it you know, it saves preserves the life of the machines longer so you can.

01;20;43;22 – 01;21;04;04
Bryan Neal
Do the other thing you can did was customers were no longer upset that they kind of the £75 dryers because the ones that really want them there now available for them right prior to that they were getting upset if the if the dryer wasn’t available. You know, so that’s just another side effect of making those decisions and actually provide a better customer experience.

01;21;04;26 – 01;21;26;05
Jordan Berry
Yeah, and it’s an interesting use of using the, you know, the the price sensitivity and like the just the knowledge about the price sensitivity and almost using it not against the customer, but also manipulating it in a way to help lead them where you want to lead them. Right? Because a lot of times people will see, you know, I’m in my my customers.

01;21;26;05 – 01;21;40;21
Jordan Berry
So price sensitive. I’m scared to raise my prices. Well, you can raise some of your prices to get people to behave. To me, the government. Right. Their tax incentives and stuff. They’re trying to get you to behave the way you want, that they want you to behave. So.

01;21;41;09 – 01;22;03;02
Bryan Neal
You know, when you when you talk about the washers, too. So when we made the decision to expand that, just speak location, another issue we had is you had four sixties. We would see people coming in with like 655 gallon trash bags full of clothes and they it wasn’t enough. So they would leave. It got to the point where customers would pull up, run in and see if those machines were being used.

01;22;03;13 – 01;22;21;15
Bryan Neal
If they weren’t being used, they would leave. And I was like, we got to do something. So when we did the other side, we ordered the hundreds eighties and we ordered four more sixties in Jordan. I was like, Oh, we made a terrible mistake. We should have ordered for those. Because when the hundreds and eighties came in, people were like, We don’t need the sixties anymore.

01;22;22;24 – 01;22;45;12
Bryan Neal
And I was like, No, like I have these for 60 sitting in their back now that no one uses it. Well, it ended up actually being a great decision because as pickup and delivery grew, what we have found is 60 pounders is hands down the number one machine that we use for, you know, sixties and thirties pretty much that we use for pickup and delivery.

01;22;45;12 – 01;23;08;16
Bryan Neal
So the dollar for those machines turn every day now on the back because of just pickup up and delivery operations. And if I ever go to like Opal equipment on the other side I would do nothing but sixties in a Bob’s over there, you know so the for top loaders here’s the real story and the four top loaders if I decide to put Opal on on phase three of this store, those four top loaders are going to come over on our side just for us to use.

01;23;08;28 – 01;23;12;01
Bryan Neal
And I’m going to put Thursdays in their spot because our thirties are high demand machines.

01;23;13;03 – 01;23;38;07
Jordan Berry
And just so everybody knows, we’re all on the same page. Opal’s on premise laundry. It’s not co-invented. You don’t write wins or card or anything to start, it’s just services on the same page. Yeah, and it is useful to have Opal laundry when you’re doing pickup and delivery and you have a dedicated space for that so that your attendants aren’t worrying about having to go unquote pay for laundry as they’re doing.

01;23;38;07 – 01;23;54;17
Bryan Neal
Yeah, in our in our attendance they can all turn on the machines through command. So you know, and you know, they track everything through the happiness software platform for that. But so we don’t have to thankfully deal with the core stuff. I only know how those stores do that. I respect what they do. I know how they do it.

01;23;54;17 – 01;24;15;04
Bryan Neal
I’ll learn it one day. But the other reason why if I can get commercial going bigger, I want to ask because I want washers that do 180 degrees. Once you get to 180 degrees and you start chemical dosing machines, you can you can clean much better. You can remove stains much easier. And it’s just a better service for the client at the end of the day.

01;24;15;12 – 01;24;18;20
Bryan Neal
So that’s kind of the who knows, maybe I’ll just order tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

01;24;19;00 – 01;24;21;27
Jordan Berry
Now let’s just do today. Let’s do right here live on the podcast on.

01;24;21;29 – 01;24;23;03
Bryan Neal
Let me call Dustin real quick.

01;24;23;03 – 01;24;28;19
Jordan Berry
Yes. Let’s spend some of your money today. I like it.

01;24;28;19 – 01;24;36;16
Bryan Neal
Oh, Mama. Bookkeeper. I mean this my wife. And she would be so mad at me, I’d be like babies. And a year that counts. And it’s onread percent deduction this year.

01;24;36;26 – 01;24;52;26
Jordan Berry
Yeah. Listen, it’s for the show, man. It’s for the show. I mean, do you have a sense I mean, listen, we already talked about it’s kind of difficult to track this because you got self serve, you got pick a military, but you have a sense of like terms per day of what your machines do.

01;24;53;27 – 01;25;18;06
Bryan Neal
My beach location, if I have to average in the winter time, it’s slower because it’s a tourist heavy area. Yes, that that’s probably about two and a half to maybe two and a half to three terms. I haven’t actually sat there in my counting quarters and I don’t have time for that. That’s probably about two and a half, three terms that averaged out throughout the year my Chesapeake location is is approaching four now.

01;25;19;07 – 01;25;19;22
Bryan Neal
Nice.

01;25;20;08 – 01;25;37;07
Jordan Berry
I love that. That’s awesome. Do you do you have a sense I didn’t even actually run the you so feel free to skip this question but do you have a sense of how many pounds of pickup and delivery or drop off you’re doing.

01;25;37;07 – 01;25;49;28
Bryan Neal
I didn’t. I haven’t. It’s in the summertime we were doing about I don’t remember the poundage now. I don’t I don’t have a good answer for you on that right now.

01;25;50;04 – 01;25;54;05
Jordan Berry
Okay. No, that’s totally fine. I did I forgot to even run that by you beforehand.

01;25;54;05 – 01;25;58;06
Bryan Neal
So yeah, that’s fine for us. I would I would have pulled up data. I just don’t have it.

01;25;58;17 – 01;26;04;06
Jordan Berry
Yeah. Yeah. So £20,000 a week. I love it. That’s great. You’re telling it.

01;26;04;23 – 01;26;06;16
Bryan Neal
Now A day. That’s a day, Day A day.

01;26;06;17 – 01;26;16;14
Jordan Berry
That’s Why? Whereas where you can. Oh, my gosh, you get me. You have to location. You got the one, you’re on your pick up delivery. The other one. You don’t have that. Are they fully attended unattended. What’s that. What’s that.

01;26;16;18 – 01;26;45;24
Bryan Neal
So my beach location is unattended. It’s never even had a heating or air conditioning installed in it. We just. We share got done. Installing that in the building were the initial goal was to start the intended service there with with wash and fold. But I’m not 100% committed to that yet because, I mean, we kind of know how staffing issues are all across the country right now.

01;26;45;24 – 01;27;06;09
Bryan Neal
And I’m just what I’m evaluating in my head is if I start at that location, I’m initially probably going to take a loss, you know, because now I’m staffing it and trying to build, wash and fold it up probably in the long run, take off. But really, I’m like, you know, I have staffing issues at one location. You know, frequently.

01;27;06;18 – 01;27;24;29
Bryan Neal
Do I do I really want to inject another location, you know, So. Right. We installed a heating and air conditioning for two purposes. One, because the customers should have it. They deserve it. They spend money there every week. Right. And two was to staff the place because it gets incredibly hot there in a summer inside that store and incredibly cold in there in the winter.

01;27;25;16 – 01;27;47;17
Bryan Neal
But I know we’re going to staff. Yeah. Now my Chesapeake store that’s fully attended we we’re open 6 to 10 at both locations that the intended part though is only 8 to 8. I don’t need 6 to 8 and you know and then like holidays Christmas and New Year’s, nobody works. I cover the stores you know so the staff can have off every other holiday.

01;27;47;17 – 01;28;02;16
Bryan Neal
I let the staff decide if they want to process orders or not. You know, I said you want it. And they always want to do pick up and do everything. They always want to process the door. So they’re like, Yeah, you know, I think my manager one day was like, My landlord doesn’t give me that day off of the rent.

01;28;02;20 – 01;28;17;27
Bryan Neal
I want to process orders. I was like, Okay, I don’t get all I like. I like to send the driver out to go get up, you know? Yeah. So I kind of let them decide that, you know, you know, so they feel like they have a vote and what’s going on and it’s worked out well.

01;28;18;17 – 01;28;24;12
Jordan Berry
Nice. Are you run in? I mean, we kind of already talked about this, but coin card hybrid.

01;28;24;12 – 01;28;43;28
Bryan Neal
Yeah. So my beach location is coin I’ll interesting thing Remember you asked me if that location had done well, we had one change machine right there with two hoppers and all over standard changer. And we actually got another one because that one can no longer make it through the week. So I guess that’s a measure that the stores done better doing well then when we first owned it, you know.

01;28;44;03 – 01;28;44;11
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

01;28;44;19 – 01;28;49;00
Jordan Berry
More and more people are coming in just to get quarters, which happens to Oh dear.

01;28;49;02 – 01;29;00;09
Bryan Neal
Oh, so don’t even get me started on the coin shortage. That was a big lie. I was getting quarters every week from the banks all day long. That was the biggest lot. Anyway, that’s a whole nother. So yeah.

01;29;00;23 – 01;29;05;21
Jordan Berry
I couldn’t get them for anything. I was down like a few hundred dollars. No, in my, my.

01;29;05;21 – 01;29;23;03
Bryan Neal
Credit card, my credit union was giving it to me. Then they finally cut us off and then the teller, we had another bank we used that always took the cash for my wife and candidate. And my wife was talking about the frustration. And of course she goes, I can get you quarters, how many you need. She’s like 500 to 1000 a week.

01;29;23;03 – 01;29;57;02
Bryan Neal
She goes, No problem. I order. And every week my wife would drop cash, having come back with two boxes. And of course, now it’s I don’t know how she got away with that plus. So anyway my other store is so that start the first store is coin in its pay range. The second store is in card. Okay. And I got you know, we all know why do I have quarters right we all headquarters well at that location my number one phone call is do you take orders because everyone else around there is card and they hate cards.

01;29;57;19 – 01;30;20;11
Bryan Neal
So that’s why I take orders. The app, the Hips app, if it be Queen Dexter, whatever the brand is you have, if you already have that functionality in there, I think it cost me $150 a month to provide that to the customers. Okay, I don’t care what they charge, honestly, don’t tell Alliance that, but it brings in customers like, no kidding, People come there because we have the app.

01;30;20;11 – 01;30;40;00
Bryan Neal
We have mothers come into the store and call their daughter home and tell them what machines to start, and they sit at home and start the machines. You know, they they can see the store from their house. They know if it’s busy or not. It brings in customers. And even if customers don’t put any money on it, they still use it to come your store because they’re like, Oh, it’s Sunday, but it’s not busy right now.

01;30;40;10 – 01;31;00;25
Bryan Neal
So anybody that has that functionality in the machine and they don’t want to pay $200 a month for the service or whatever, it’s a terrible decision. Terrible decision. And and then the card I’m a big believer in removing barriers. So if a customer says, you know, I don’t you know, I don’t have cash or blah, blah, blah, and I use my credit card, our answer was always no.

01;31;01;13 – 01;31;24;05
Bryan Neal
And it frustrated me for a very long time. And Teddy Boogie’s having a dream right now, one of your podcast, 610 of them ago, I don’t know what it was. I don’t remember her name. She uses watch, drive, full post, just just like we do. And she put a functionality on there that they can pay with their credit card and turn on a machine.

01;31;24;27 – 01;31;45;08
Bryan Neal
And I was like, Oh, genius, genius. So literally, we’ve done that now. And literally people come in and we add $0.25 to the machine price to cover the transaction costs. And literally people will come in and go, Can I use my credit card? And then it’s like, Yeah, which machine you want. And they go into a hipster band and they turn the machine on for him.

01;31;46;02 – 01;32;02;26
Bryan Neal
And so now that was one barrier to entry that we always had that location as we kind of take debit or credit cards, you know, they had a download on app and everybody wants to do that. But now because look what I heard on that podcast, we have that functionality. We’re actually taking it even further and further on Watch Drive for Prosper.

01;32;03;19 – 01;32;05;24
Bryan Neal
Yeah, that’s that’s the payment options we take.

01;32;06;09 – 01;32;11;11
Jordan Berry
That’s awesome. I think that was Sharon brings brings this episode of top I’ll lead to that in the.

01;32;11;11 – 01;32;19;27
Bryan Neal
Show sounds familiar Yes she talked about it and I was like I was driving and I was like, You have to be kidding me. It’s been in front of my face this whole time.

01;32;21;15 – 01;32;26;08
Jordan Berry
That’s why I think this is cool, right? Because, you know, you have those realizations. You can’t think of everything.

01;32;26;13 – 01;32;40;19
Bryan Neal
I’m telling you. I can’t tell you how many. Thanks for this podcast I’ve taken and just said, That’s genius. That immediately within my wife’s like, What do you spend money on now? I might as well be a winner. Me as a we do.

01;32;40;19 – 01;33;01;06
Jordan Berry
We spend other people’s money around here throughout the year. I can start throwing money around. It’s great. Yeah. So last question for down to business is, I mean, how much time you spend it on the business these days? Are you working? Are you still kind of in the grind of it or you start to back out a little what you’re involved?

01;33;01;06 – 01;33;17;01
Bryan Neal
So so my beach location, I actually I help I basically pay for this kid’s a textbooks for college and he cleans the store five days a week and I go to it the other two days. So, you know, it’s I’m fixing a machine over there that stores 2 hours out of my life a week.

01;33;18;08 – 01;33;23;01
Jordan Berry
I feel like you’re getting ripped off because textbooks are not cheap, man. They’re very expensive.

01;33;23;28 – 01;33;51;29
Bryan Neal
They’re not they’re not. But, you know, I mean, he’s very, very dedicated. My other location, I’m there a lot because we just finished demo on expansion number three and now and build it out. So I’m there a lot right now but normally you know I let our manager kind of run that whole show over there. She just calls me if she needs me.

01;33;51;29 – 01;34;23;05
Bryan Neal
So. So I’m, you know, I go there every Monday, Friday just to kind of high five. The team, you know, I might swing by on a weekend if I haven’t seen somebody, you know, you know, that works for us in a while. But really, what I spend my time outside of that is it, I would say. So I get up about three, 330 in the morning, drink coffee, just read random stuff on my iPad for an hour, hour and a half, work out for an hour, and then I go right into laundromats and I’m full time laundromat mode in real estate stuff.

01;34;23;05 – 01;34;41;07
Bryan Neal
It’s all about five or 6:00 at night. And then I’m like, I’ve run out of gas. I put my phone down. I don’t care who calls me, they can wait till tomorrow, you know. So I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently networking with marketing people, real estate agents, people that can connect me to other people to help grow my business.

01;34;41;18 – 01;34;56;20
Bryan Neal
That’s been my main focus right now. And I’m so when you said earlier, you know, you going back to that retired library, do you get to sit around and kind of sound like you’re ramping up? I am definitely ramping up. I will not stop until I have those Opal machines.

01;34;57;12 – 01;34;59;01
Jordan Berry
That’s start talking about. I like that.

01;34;59;03 – 01;34;59;26
Bryan Neal
I like. Yeah.

01;35;00;29 – 01;35;12;22
Jordan Berry
That’s great. Well, thank you for sharing about your business in and out of business. We have another segment. I really love the next couple segments. This one’s called Pro Tips. Travel Tips.

01;35;13;00 – 01;35;32;28
Bryan Neal
Find other Laundromat owners that I’ll talk to you. You know, I mean, even if it’s the old grumpy guy down the road, you know, who’s just a jerk, he’s going to say one or two things that you’re going to be like, Oh, that’s good information. You know, if you know, if you can find someone that’s willing to engage with you and share information with you, share it back.

01;35;32;28 – 01;35;55;10
Bryan Neal
You know, hey, this is a great idea that I’ve done. Oh, thanks. This is what I’ve done. That’s what’s helped me get better, you know, And I know other people gotten better because I share information with them, know everyone always talks about the distributor. Right. So if you listen to two five of these podcasts or one of these podcasts, almost everybody talks about the distributor that cannot be ignored.

01;35;55;19 – 01;36;16;26
Bryan Neal
I have a my distributor has since been bought out by another company, but he is still the actual sales rep is still my first call on anything really. You know, I’ll call dust and dust and what you think about this dust and done about it. We’ve become over the years, but that guy has literally saved us so much money in.

01;36;17;00 – 01;36;33;15
Bryan Neal
And when I was seeing a project, so much money on mistakes, we would have made up on where we laid the drains in the concrete. I mean, he would come out there and tape out the whole story of exactly where the machines go, and then that distributor relationship, I mean, he he turned us on to that dark store, too.

01;36;33;15 – 01;36;57;16
Bryan Neal
But that relationship cannot be replaced in my book. I am forever loyal to him. And in, you know, and he always picks my brain, too. But there’s a side thing. And then, you know, like I said, I’ve already said this before, but why didn’t it say this? Try to once a month go visit Laundromat, go visit a Laundromat owner that I’ll be willing to just say hi.

01;36;58;00 – 01;37;18;26
Bryan Neal
You know, so a couple of months ago, I went to a laundromat in Philadelphia, and then I went to one in Maryland before I signed up for happiness, I went to one in Maryland that was running happiness. And I wrote around the band with him and I saw what was happening. And I was like, This is a thing which can best help convince me that pick up and delivery should not be ignored, you know?

01;37;18;28 – 01;37;35;15
Bryan Neal
And so, you know, I’ve been to a Laundromat owner in Richmond, and in when I go there, I go there as an open book, you know, and I walk in and I’m like, Hey, these are the things that we’ve really had success with. What about you? You know? And when I give them the information right from the beginning, I’m no longer a competitor.

01;37;35;28 – 01;37;41;19
Bryan Neal
It’s we’re just two people sharing ideas to get better. You know, I Can’t emphasize that enough. That’s extremely important.

01;37;42;28 – 01;38;10;29
Jordan Berry
Yeah, I love that. And, you know, to kind of like, put it all in one little neat box, it’s like, immerse yourself in the business, right? It’s like, go, go find people who you can talk, you know? And that’s that’s the whole premise behind this podcast, right? Is get some people out there to share their story and share the lessons they’ve learned and hopefully, you know, the whole secret sauce saying is let’s pull some lessons out.

01;38;11;05 – 01;38;11;20
Jordan Berry
And help is.

01;38;11;20 – 01;38;19;12
Bryan Neal
Like my first location. My wife was like, now. And I’m like, I don’t know, we got to figure it out. We just we decide the paperwork.

01;38;21;00 – 01;38;36;21
Jordan Berry
I remember that feeling really well where got the keys and the broker, the previous owner left. My wife and I were standing there and we’re like, okay, well, like, what do we do? There’s hardly anything to do right now. I don’t, I don’t know what to do. Yeah, we.

01;38;36;21 – 01;38;52;02
Bryan Neal
Just, I mean, we had a, we had a customer walked in and we didn’t know what to do. Yeah, we saw customer. We’re like, do we say anything? And then she’s putting quarters in and we see getting frustrated. And my wife’s like, Is the machine broken? Are you going to fix it? I’m like, I don’t know. We’re like whispering in the corner.

01;38;52;02 – 01;39;03;17
Bryan Neal
I like this. And then she pushes the start button and we hear water. We’re like, Thank God. But oh man, I look back on it now and I just laugh. Yeah.

01;39;03;18 – 01;39;18;11
Jordan Berry
Good, Good times. Good times. Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that leads pretty naturally into our next segment called Protests and Protest is for those people who are trying to get their first laundromat. Do you have any advice? I mean, it was just you a couple years ago.

01;39;18;11 – 01;39;22;09
Bryan Neal
We just did that question. We just did that QUESTION. Oh.

01;39;22;27 – 01;39;23;08
Jordan Berry
Oh.

01;39;23;21 – 01;39;24;22
Bryan Neal
You skip secret sauce.

01;39;24;26 – 01;39;29;07
Jordan Berry
Oh, my fault. Okay, well, it’s your secret sauce. And so what advice you have for current owners.

01;39;29;27 – 01;40;00;09
Bryan Neal
Listen up. It’s the secret sauce. I’ll go back to the Will Trifold post example from the other podcast Remove barriers for customers. If you have an unattended store, you just understand the fact that you’re losing customers because you don’t have an attendant. That’s an expectation for some. Customers also have an understanding that you are losing customers because you don’t have an open bathroom.

01;40;00;20 – 01;40;23;13
Bryan Neal
Okay, That’s an expectation for some customers. My unattended beach store, we have a wise lock on it with a code. All the regular customers know the code. It makes them feel like they’re in this exclusive membership club or something. Right. But I recognize we’re losing customers who don’t have a bathroom. So, you know, anybody who’s trying to get better in their business just understand barriers.

01;40;23;13 – 01;40;49;25
Bryan Neal
And those services that people expect are all holding you back. Don’t forget that COVID forced prices up, the customer service went down. So you can go down or maybe the opposite of it. We’ve chosen to be the opposite of it, and the customers have rewarded us for that. That’s one of the things I did to learn, believe it or not, is I read other laundromats, Google reviews.

01;40;49;25 – 01;41;21;21
Bryan Neal
That’s smart. So I would look at the good reviews and go, We need to do this. I would look at the bad reviews and go, We don’t need to do this okay. And we’ll go back to the cockroach. Example. One of my competitors, the very first post on Google Maps, is cockroaches on the floor. That day I called the pest company that I use for all of our other real estate staff, and I said, Let’s start servicing that business location immediately, because that’s the very first review week review people see on their business.

01;41;21;27 – 01;41;51;11
Bryan Neal
They lose a lot of business because I guarantee it. So commercial clients, one of my biggest commercial clients, literally I got the account because I said yes to everything that my competitor said no to. Okay, one one of their requests was will you sort, you know, twins, kings and queens? I advised that that’s a very labor intensive task that they’re asking for and it can be expensive.

01;41;51;28 – 01;42;12;01
Bryan Neal
Their response was, Well, what if I ordered color coded sheets? So what do you mean? Twins will be gold queens or red kings or blue? I said, absolutely. We’ll we’ll sort for you. She goes, Really? You’re the first company that said they would do that. I said, Absolutely, we’ll do that. You just so. And then what was funny is they didn’t know how to do the logistics.

01;42;12;01 – 01;42;34;09
Bryan Neal
So because it was like 70 properties. So what we did was we we we treated them like a partnership, okay? And I showed them, you know, if we put this in a storage unit, an air conditioned storage unit, your staff, the server, you know, turns all these homes over can bring it in. We’ll come pick it up and we’ll deliver it full and stacked on the shelf in the storage unit.

01;42;34;09 – 01;42;48;17
Bryan Neal
Your staff can take it back out. And it turned out to be a great relationship, you know, But I think I was her third or fourth call. And it wasn’t just the sorting, it was other things. But everyone else said no. And I just kept saying, yes, yes, yes, you know, or we could do it, but we need to figure it out.

01;42;49;17 – 01;43;16;27
Bryan Neal
So that turned out to be very, very lucrative. One of the things that I heard on your podcast do believe it or not, music in the Laundromat. Dear Lord, that changed things that’s you know, for a couple of bucks on Amazon, it completely changed the customer experience in the store in the staff love it. They literally tell Alexa to play whatever music they’re in the mood for.

01;43;17;05 – 01;43;33;18
Bryan Neal
The customers love it. When I go to stores now, I’m like, That music you hear, This place sucks, like it’s is. It really was a game changer in the store. It seems like a little thing, but for the customers and for the employees, it was a huge thing. And I wish I would have done it sooner. It was a podcast.

01;43;33;18 – 01;43;54;17
Bryan Neal
It told me about it and then back to, you know, removing barriers. So one of the other things we did with Wall Street for POS is customers can use a credit card to start machines, right? We programed different categories for whatever he wants, all customizable, but we sell silly stuff on there like trash bags. Somebody will be like, Can I get a trash bag?

01;43;54;17 – 01;44;15;00
Bryan Neal
We’re like, Sure, it’s $0.25 so I can use my credit card. Well, it’s $0.50, general, and they just pay $0.30 for a trash bag that you get in bulk at Sam’s Club. You know, latex gloves, right? I mean, you can buy a 1000 latex glove for like pennies on the dollar. We sell a set for a dollar it’s like it’s crazy, you know.

01;44;15;00 – 01;44;40;22
Bryan Neal
So think about all those things that if a customer says, hey, do you have this for sale? If you have the software to do it, do it. Because, I mean, it’s actually it’s been it’s it hasn’t been insignificant. The revenue that it’s generated by us removing that barrier to getting what they need. Same thing if you have like a Venn, right, or whatever, soap, liquid soap dispensing machine, you know, credit card reader know the category charge $0.25 more.

01;44;40;22 – 01;45;04;28
Bryan Neal
We sell them all day long. You know, I need that. The machine dollar has my credit card. No problem. You know so that that’s really and that went back to the podcast about the washers. I mean that’s so simple, but I get so much pleasure out of it when I read the reports, I’m like, really? These people close by, like I sold Dead gloves yesterday, getting me.

01;45;04;28 – 01;45;16;12
Bryan Neal
So, you know, that’s you could go on and on and on. But I think those are, you know, those are some good some good points, you know, and a lot of other, you know, business owners on this podcast are brought up to a point as well.

01;45;17;04 – 01;45;40;15
Jordan Berry
Yeah. I mean, those are I love them. I mean, they’re very practical secrets are tips for owners to Yeah just add add functionality or removes barriers and I mean I love I think I’ve written it down twice now both times you said it but you know COVID drove prices up and the service down in.

01;45;40;17 – 01;45;41;18
Bryan Neal
Your service down. Yeah.

01;45;41;18 – 01;46;05;15
Jordan Berry
You know, you can choose, you know, if you want to go down with it or if you want to go the other way and actually increase your sort Like I love that. And in fact, I think the Laundromat business is moving more and more and more towards service even on the self-serve side. Now, maybe, you know, people are still on the self-serve side, going to continue to, you know, do their own laundry and full their own laundry and everything.

01;46;06;03 – 01;46;18;18
Jordan Berry
But I think that, you know, there are more things that we can do to serve those customers in other ways. And and part of that is adding functionality like being able to pay with a credit card.

01;46;18;18 – 01;46;34;03
Bryan Neal
Or, you know, those they just want to get their laundry done. That’s all they want. You know, it’s just it’s just like if someone has a problem with the machine, it’s almost never the machine, right? But I don’t I don’t care the staff. I tell them I don’t care. Just start another machine. They just want to get their laundry done.

01;46;34;08 – 01;46;41;29
Bryan Neal
They don’t want to be harassed. They just are trying to wash dry and get on with their life. You know? And that pays big. Definitely. 23 people like that.

01;46;42;10 – 01;46;55;10
Jordan Berry
Yeah, absolutely. All right. We have one more segment called Recommended Resources. Do you have any resources that you can recommend to help us grow our businesses or just ourselves? Personally.

01;46;56;00 – 01;46;58;15
Bryan Neal
I’m trying to think of is there a podcast up to this point?

01;46;58;18 – 01;46;59;22
Jordan Berry
Of course not a good one.

01;47;00;16 – 01;47;20;12
Bryan Neal
Yeah, I know your podcast. I can’t I can’t tell you, man. Every episode of your podcast, no matter how long or how short it is, I always learn at least one good thing that has been proven correct, that is hands down the most valuable resource, I think, out there for laundromat owners at the pump you up. It’s just that’s how I personally feel it’s.

01;47;20;12 – 01;47;22;21
Jordan Berry
Going to cost me. Are you to say that Nothing.

01;47;22;24 – 01;47;38;27
Bryan Neal
Yeah. That’s funny right? Yeah. Yeah that’s that’s kind of it’s funny you said that it’s a good lead in because, you know, a lot of times when people plug things, we’ll call it, for lack of a better description, it’s because in the back of their mind they’re like, Oh, maybe I’m going to get a benefit out of this, some kind of kickback.

01;47;39;08 – 01;48;02;21
Bryan Neal
Maybe I’ll get a subscription free or whatever it is. Right? But but really, you should be plugging things for two reasons. One is to create partnerships right in and through networking. But when you plug things, it should be because that particular person provides excellent service, right? And when they refer you, you provide excellent service. That’s how your business really grows at the end of the day.

01;48;03;15 – 01;48;19;01
Bryan Neal
And in any people that have been in business for a long time, especially outside of the Laundromat, I spend a lot of time outside the Laundromat industry to see how other industries grow. A lot. I mean a lot. I can’t tell you how many times in your life have you heard people say, I’ll even advertise All my business is word of mouth.

01;48;19;18 – 01;48;41;17
Bryan Neal
You’ve heard it countless times. You know it’s a thing and it’s because people are referring because you provide great service. So don’t always look for the anchor and don’t look for the short sighted angle of maybe I’m going to give $50 off a month. Look for the long term angle of, you know, if I have a good business relationship with this person and we’re servicing our customers, well, then we’re going to keep referring each other and we’ll grow together.

01;48;42;05 – 01;48;52;10
Bryan Neal
I mean, you can you just you cannot cannot ignore that if you can, if you want. But then you’re an old school laundromat owner. Let’s just call it what it is. We brought that back in, right? Yes.

01;48;52;11 – 01;48;55;06
Jordan Berry
Yeah, I go all around. I love it. Yeah.

01;48;55;17 – 01;49;20;14
Bryan Neal
Oh And, you know, again, I think I think that’s probably good enough for me. Really? Yeah. You know, if you want, like, recommended resources, like books, I think I referenced earlier, Dave Ramsey, hands down. You know, I’ve read the most complicated financial books on planet Earth. And, you know, like, I don’t know if you’ve ever read The Intelligent Investor.

01;49;20;14 – 01;49;37;26
Bryan Neal
I just tell people, if you want to get a headache, go read that one. You know, because, I mean, you really got to understand some things, understand what they’re talking about. But, you know, all the financial books I’ve read over the years, all the real estate books I’ve read all over the years, hands down, the one book that changed my life.

01;49;38;11 – 01;50;01;16
Bryan Neal
And I say that like 100%. Being honest here was total money makeover. And it wasn’t because I followed his investing advice and it wasn’t because I followed his advice to pay off the mortgage. But it was what he taught me in that book was, of course, he talks about the debt snowball and I don’t know, he worried it this way, but what I did is I sat down and I looked at all of our debts, you know, 27,000 credit card debt, whatever it all was.

01;50;01;27 – 01;50;17;06
Bryan Neal
And I added up all the interest payments and I went to my wife. I was like, we’re spending thousands of dollars a month in interest. This is insane. And so we snowball and all that stuff except for the mortgages. And all of a sudden I was like, Whoa, now you start really saving money towards rental properties. I mean, it was a game changer.

01;50;17;06 – 01;50;25;11
Bryan Neal
It changed our lives. I mean that wholeheartedly. It really did. So and that other book to the coin laundry book, and.

01;50;26;02 – 01;50;29;27
Jordan Berry
I’ll put a link to it. I know it’s in time where I can’t think of the name of it either, but yeah, just do it.

01;50;30;06 – 01;50;54;06
Bryan Neal
Just make sure you buy that by the right revert revision, because I think the original one and then I bought that 2002 maybe I can’t remember, but there’s a newer one now and I’m just tired of buying the same book over and over. So I’m just reading that. But that one cracks the code on demographics. Another thing that book has in there that’s genius is if you want to evaluate a shopping center from a laundromat owner perspective, like is this a good location?

01;50;54;06 – 01;51;14;11
Bryan Neal
It’s great information. But if you think opposite to that, like, wait a minute, if I want to buy a shopping center, does this shopping center that I’m thinking about buying does it, have all these elements that are listed in this coin laundry book, Right. So really, you could use that same guide to evaluate a retail shopping center and go, does it meet all these webcasts, be a successful retailer?

01;51;14;11 – 01;51;27;27
Bryan Neal
Yes, it does. Okay. Let me let me pursue that investment not being a laundromat, but being that the owner of a shopping center that’s in a coin laundry book, who would have thought of that? You know, So, you know. Anyway, that’s it. I’m awesome.

01;51;27;29 – 01;51;35;23
Jordan Berry
Yeah. Yeah. No, super good. Super duper good. Especially the part about how great the podcast is. I mean, that was probably the best part of this whole thing. Not. Oh, I.

01;51;35;25 – 01;51;40;04
Bryan Neal
I almost told you what razor I use now and I my shaving razors also. Yeah.

01;51;41;03 – 01;51;58;18
Jordan Berry
I’ll put an affiliate link to that razor down in the description. Make a couple bucks. Just get it. All right, Last question I have for you before I tell you how great you are, is if people have questions for you, they’re just like they’re jiving off what you’re talking about. Is there a good way for them to connect with you?

01;51;59;12 – 01;52;19;26
Bryan Neal
Yeah, I don’t I’m not a like social media elite, So I do have a Facebook, you know, under these notes, how I say a Facebook, you know. Yeah. So I have the business side coastal Virginia laundry for Facebook. And then of course there’s there’s my Facebook personal one Brian Neal which is stupid like I’m like I just want a business page.

01;52;19;26 – 01;52;44;04
Bryan Neal
Why do I have to have to have a personal page? But I was never even on Facebook till I became a laundromat owner. I don’t understand that policy, but I don’t I don’t anyway. And if they are if they just want to see me, like, right on it. No, I’m just getting fired. Or they can email on the air cover, see of a laundry at gmail.com covers the acronym for Cost of Virginia.

01;52;44;04 – 01;52;44;25
Bryan Neal
The area here.

01;52;46;19 – 01;52;48;07
Jordan Berry
Is a Gmail.

01;52;48;07 – 01;52;48;16
Bryan Neal
Yeah.

01;52;49;24 – 01;53;12;15
Jordan Berry
And that will be in the in the show notes or the description for on YouTube down below. Brian this has been killer so much good stuff first of all I mean your story is very compelling it’s very cool story and I love your get after attitude and your you let’s make it snappy and let’s go. I love that I resonate with that a lot.

01;53;13;00 – 01;53;39;05
Jordan Berry
But even more than that, I love I mean, you just gave so many good practical tips and advice and just really, really appreciate you spending the time here with all of us this morning and coming on and sharing your story and your wisdom. And I cannot wait to hear how the progress goes with with the rest of your endeavors and especially intrigued by this pest control company.

01;53;39;05 – 01;53;42;12
Jordan Berry
So that’ll be cool to hear about next time we have you on.

01;53;42;24 – 01;53;48;15
Bryan Neal
I’ve been trying for like two years to get that. I just got to say I almost had the right guy once. Almost.

01;53;48;21 – 01;53;49;18
Jordan Berry
Go get it. You’ll get.

01;53;49;18 – 01;53;52;22
Bryan Neal
It. Oh, this is a booboo, by the way.

01;53;52;26 – 01;53;54;00
Jordan Berry
Oh, look at that.

01;53;54;00 – 01;54;00;28
Bryan Neal
He’s he’s slowly becoming a laundromat Internet star. I think he’s on Google is think on the website. I mean, he’s.

01;54;03;02 – 01;54;15;13
Jordan Berry
He’s all over. Check out if you’re listening to the podcast, you have to check out some of the links in the show notes and we’ll maybe maybe you can send me over a picture or two and we’ll put that with the show notes. I’ll tell you, Booboo.

01;54;15;26 – 01;54;17;16
Bryan Neal
I’ll give I’ll get you on. All right.

01;54;18;00 – 01;54;25;04
Jordan Berry
Thanks again for coming on. This has been great. Yes, sir. And we’ll have to have you back and you know, in a little bit of time and get an update, too, because I’d be great.

01;54;25;26 – 01;54;27;15
Bryan Neal
Thank you. I really appreciate your help.

01;54;27;15 – 01;54;50;27
Jordan Berry
You love that episode with Brian Neal. Awesome. Awesome stuff. So much good stuff in there. And huge thanks to Brian for taking the time to come and share his story and share his wisdom with us. As always, pick at least one, at least one thing to go and put it into action this week. That action is what takes you to the places you want to go in life, right?

01;54;50;27 – 01;55;11;15
Jordan Berry
So got to take action. He talked about how we overcome our fear with action. So fears holding you back from taking action. Go back and listen to what Brian has to say about overcoming that fear and go take some action this week. And maybe one of the actions you can take is to go to a lot of my resource outcomes, like forums and share what action you’re going to take.

01;55;12;05 – 01;55;27;26
Jordan Berry
And it could be a vicious cycle if the action you’re going to take is to post on the forums, you post on the forum, you’re going to post on the forum, then you have a post on the forum could get really confusing, so maybe take a laundromat related action. Also that makes two actions now. All right, go, go post your action over it.

01;55;27;26 – 01;55;47;09
Jordan Berry
A lot of my resources that comes as forums keep each other accountable, encourage each other to go take that action and I will see you in the next episode. Don’t forget, come join the lot of my resource pro community. Join a mastermind group, Get in a group with a bunch of your peers and you know, achieve those goals.

01;55;47;09 – 01;56;02;08
Jordan Berry
Gather. It’s great. It’s great. We’ll see you next week. Peace.