Kent Wales is a 15+ year veteran in the laundromat business. He started out owning a self-serve coin laundromat and grew his business and expended into the service sector, offering drop-off and pickup and delivery service.

As a veteran who has taken a business he bought with very little money and grown it into a huge business, he joins us on the show today and offers us a Laundromat MBA. Kent hits all 3 of the main focuses of Laundromat Resource: Buy, Optimize, Scale.

He shares how he bought his first laundromat and gives advice to anyone looking to buy their first laundromat or anyone looking to expand into laundry pickup and delivery (PUD).

He talks about optimizing his business and offers great advice to any owner on how to do that.

He then spends a lot of time talking about how to scale your business. He shares very practical and actionable advice, including knowing if a problem is worth pursuing or not, transitioning from being a DIY laundromat owner to scaling up help, and a big mistake he made (twice!) when scaling his business!

In this show, Kent and I discuss:

  • How he got into the laundry business
  • Vending machine routes
  • How to buy your first laundromat with little money
  • A lesson learned while arguing with his landlord
  • How to know if a problem is important enough to pursue
  • How to transition from a self-employed laundromat owner to being a business operator
  • The biggest mistake he made (twice) when scaling his pickup and delivery business
  • How to build a great team
  • How to pay your team well
  • Strategy to increase prices
  • How to grow your team
  • “None of this is new”
  • Plus, Kent shares a BUNCH of resources to help you succeed!

And way, way more! Get out your notepad and get ready for your Laundromat MBA!

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

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Kent's Bio

As a fourth-generation Spokanite, Kent Wales never imagined he’d be in the laundry business. Kent
graduated from the University of Idaho with a BS in Visual Communications. After serving youth in South
Carolina, he worked as an industrial engineer at Boeing and then spent time at a dot-com start-up. His
experience as a software program manager laid a strong business savvy foundation to build his latest
venture, Happy Laundry.
In 2006, Kent became, as he calls himself, a laundro-preneur. Happy Laundry just celebrated 15 years as
the premier laundry service across the Inland Northwest. Happy Laundry specializes in commercial,
personal laundry, and dry-cleaning services. Approximately 90% of Happy Laundry revenue is generated
through picking-up dirty clothes and linens and delivering fresh laundry to door-steps and businesses
throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Kent credits the success of his company to
hardworking team members, staff leadership, and loyal customers.
Kent is dedicated to giving back to a community he cherishes. He serves on the board of the Northeast
Youth Center and is actively involved in Leadership Spokane. In his free time, you can find him playing
with his schnauzer, Riley, and traveling across the western United States with his wife, Monica.

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    Episode Transcript

    hey what’s up guys it’s jordan with the
    laundromat resource
    podcast this is show number 48 and i’m
    pumped you’re here today
    because today you’re about to get a
    laundromat
    nba that’s right kent wales is coming on
    the show today and you are going to
    learn a ton and
    also you’re going to get a lot of
    homework i’m just going to warn you up
    front
    so listen to this one at your own risk
    but it’s all
    good stuff and it’s going to help you
    find some
    great great success in your business and
    just in your life
    in general so you’re gonna love it uh
    real quick before we get
    into that i want to just take a second
    and let you know of
    all the crazy things happening around
    here right now not all of them but a
    couple of the crazy things happening
    around here so first and foremost man
    awesome awesome stuff going on in the
    forums
    if you have not been over there on the
    forums in a little while
    it’s time to go check it out again go
    reconnect over there and
    jump in on some conversations ask a
    question
    answer a question do that every week and
    uh
    at least once a week oh my goodness do
    it every day
    man and uh let’s all grow over there
    together
    help each other out and learn some stuff
    along the way
    so that’s always going on in the forums
    also i just want to remind you we have
    um uh what do you call a webinars we
    have
    webinars happening every single thursday
    if that is something that you’re
    interested in uh
    man they’re happening every single week
    so head over to laundromat resource.com
    right at the top of the page there
    is a form you can fill out just your
    name and email address we’re not going
    to spam you nothing like that
    um you can jump in on the forums you can
    join one you can join
    all of them you can do uh whatever
    you need to do to help you find success
    in laundromats that
    that’s what we’re doing them for they’re
    always free forums always free
    uh podcast always free uh
    i don’t know we’re just doing a lot of
    free stuff over here it’s craziness
    wild insanity
    the other thing that i want to just i
    just want to put this in your ear i know
    a lot of you guys probably
    most of you guys have gone over to
    laundromat resource dot com
    slash join and join the free membership
    over there i want to encourage you
    if you haven’t done that yet get in over
    there because there is a lot of stuff
    going on behind the scenes over here and
    you are going to find out about that
    stuff
    first over there uh when you are a
    member so
    it’s a free membership it gives you
    access to a bunch of free tools
    um it’s a little bit of free information
    that um only members get and also and
    probably most
    importantly you’re gonna get the sneak
    peek you’re gonna be on the inside
    of what’s happening over here at
    laundromat resource and i’m telling you
    there’s a lot of really really cool
    stuff going on
    behind the scenes that’s about to get in
    front of the scenes but you’ll find out
    about it first if you remember so
    enough of that i just wanted to put that
    in your ear if you haven’t done it yet
    go do it and uh come come jump in and
    join what we’re doing over here it’s
    awesome there’s so many people who are
    all along the journey you know we’re
    kind of hitting three main
    uh three main themes i guess that we’re
    trying to hit at laundromat resource and
    that’s to help you buy
    your first laundromat help you optimize
    your business and then help you scale
    your business
    those are the three main things that
    we’re doing we got people all along the
    spectrum over there
    uh and so come be a part of what’s
    happening no matter where you are on the
    spectrum
    we’ve got stuff going on for everybody
    and there’s more
    and more happening all the time so
    get ready to take some notes and uh
    man just prep yourself for a little bit
    of homework because he’s got some
    awesome
    awesome resources he’s gonna point you
    towards so get excited for that
    all right let’s do this right now with
    kent wales
    kent thank you for coming on the
    laundromat resource podcast
    i am super excited that you came on man
    thanks
    awesome no worries happy to be here hey
    well i can’t wait to hear
    your story i know you have like a pretty
    cool story you’ve gone kind of a unique
    direction
    uh with laundromats so i can’t wait to
    hear that
    but before we jump into your laundromat
    story why don’t you tell us a little bit
    about you
    and who you are and and what makes you
    you what makes you special what’s your
    mom say about you
    like what my mom say huh that’s a deep
    question
    all right we’ll skip it let’s just have
    a little background then
    yeah sure uh kent wales from spokane
    washington
    born and raised fourth generation
    actually
    uh like many people in spokane i did a
    very common thing which was after high
    school say
    this place is too small and you gotta go
    you gotta find
    kind of your own path uh went to school
    in idaho
    uh eventually ended up in south carolina
    then to seattle
    las vegas and finally like maybe
    spokane’s not too bad
    so back here in my early 30s and um
    following the entrepreneurship path um
    not necessarily as a plan other than
    you know hey it’s it’s time to be back
    and there weren’t a lot of big corporate
    jobs i was interested in
    here in town so yeah were you doing the
    entrepreneur thing as you were
    hopping from town to town or were you
    following jobs or what took you all over
    a little bit of following jobs so in
    college i
    became a reserve and volunteer
    firefighter
    worked on an ambulance as well and kind
    of made
    you know decided well maybe that’s not
    my career path
    uh went to south carolina followed a
    friend and worked at a
    camp for troubled kids in a for with a
    state school for a couple years
    and you know after living in the south
    uh being from the northwest
    uh it was time to it was time to go back
    yeah
    um south’s a very nice place and learned
    a lot but i missed the mountains
    so came back to spokane for a couple
    weeks realized that uh
    hey maybe seattle let’s try that um
    worked for boeing for a while a.com
    company around
    2000s and then eventually took a
    consulting gig in
    las vegas and then finally hung it up
    and said you know
    it’s time to stop moving and time to get
    going home so put the roots down
    yep yep yep all right downs and fly
    fishing in our family lake place really
    drew me back here
    so hey man a lake house has got
    a magnet that is just too strong to be
    avoided
    and can’t even flee to the other side of
    the country so draws you back
    it does well awesome well so i’m not
    hearing anything in there yet
    about laundry so how in the world did
    you get into this
    crazy business yeah so
    growing up my dad had taught me just a
    ton of skills
    you know remodeling he had some duplexes
    and rental properties
    so i grew up in uh cleaning up after
    people basically
    uh and learning how to build fences and
    patch drywall
    and paint build stairs and stuff like
    that so
    i took those skills uh it used to be my
    first couple houses
    and then i started when i came back to
    spokane i started flipping houses
    and you know i had a few going before
    2008
    and kind of saw the writing on the wall
    and at that point
    i had been led kind of in
    entrepreneurship uh followed robert
    kiyosaki was
    leveraging up everything that i could
    and
    you know i got a little nervous i’m like
    whoa if i hit one stumble what’s gonna
    happen
    and uh through that robert kiyosaki
    path one of the one of the things he did
    was a a
    a game called cash flow 101 and on there
    you’re kind of going around this rat
    race and the board
    and you’re trying to get out trying to
    get out of the day-to-day
    and it seemed every time that i would
    win that game when i was playing with my
    friends
    i’d buy a coin up you know automated
    coin operated business
    and so that i i first tried vending
    machine routes
    and turns out i hate selling candy
    machines to businesses
    it’s just not something i enjoyed or was
    very good at
    and the next car washes didn’t seem to
    be the right
    you know path and uh laundromats came up
    and i was like all right well i got to
    start looking into that
    and that’s i mean that’s kind of my
    progression into the laundromat business
    um didn’t have a lot of cash starting
    early
    uh so i was looking for something where
    i could it was in a leased space where i
    could buy the equipment from an owner
    and this started poking around at it
    um i got a lot of help from the cla
    early on uh they had uh these seminars i
    think it went down to las vegas and took
    one
    um where it was you know what what you
    need to know about buying a coin laundry
    and they used to have those i think
    maybe once a year or twice a year
    it was definitely worth it got a kind of
    an overview of the industry and
    what things to look at and then i
    started in earnest looking at three or
    four before i finally bought the one i
    have today
    nice so you let me i just want to get
    this straight
    you decided to determine the path of
    your future
    based off of a board game i just want to
    pretty much
    okay okay i just want to be clear about
    that
    be careful what board games you play
    because it may determine your future
    yeah well it’s all the role of the dice
    right so
    that’s right yeah well i mean but
    seriously that’s a pretty cool
    uh story and kind of an interesting
    observation but from playing i mean the
    game is designed
    to help you see the power in something
    like a laundromat
    or you know something that’s a little
    could be a little less hands-off if you
    want it to be
    um correct so i mean it’s not that
    surprising but on the other hand i mean
    you know picking a picking a direction
    to go in life from a board game even if
    it is kind of designed to help you see
    that that’s
    that’s bold i like that well yeah you
    know the one great thing about the board
    game is and i
    i mean i’ve had uh entrepreneurship’s
    been in my family for
    at least a couple generations three
    generations i guess you know
    but most of my family were business kind
    of order taker type
    businesses we were in the lumber
    business and my great grandfather was
    originally a bookkeeper that started his
    own sales business
    and you know i didn’t really get the
    mechanics of the business as much so
    what the board game was teaching us
    early on
    assets and liabilities income statements
    and just
    just things that i hadn’t learned yet
    and so you know pairing those two
    together
    at the time that made really good sense
    yeah that’s pretty cool so i mean if
    just real quick if anybody’s interested
    i’ll put a link down below in case
    you’re interested in that cash flow
    board game
    um you know we were talking a little bit
    before this and
    i was just saying man there’s a kids
    version that i think would be a lot of
    fun to play with my kids to help them
    learn
    you know just some financial knowledge
    uh
    you know on the one hand so anyways i’ll
    put a link down below just in case
    you’re interested in that
    okay so you decided to get a laundry mat
    i mean you said
    that you didn’t have a ton of money so
    can you tell us a little bit about the
    process of how you
    went about getting into that first
    laundromat
    sure so i i looked for something
    so i knew kind of early on that i
    wouldn’t be able to
    i didn’t know enough yet to go out and
    build my first laundromat from scratch
    without running one
    um i considered going to work for
    somebody that owned one but
    at the same time i didn’t know that i
    was going to get you know looking at the
    business that i would get direct
    experience working with an owner you’d
    kind of be an attendant which
    you’re you’re taking care of a store at
    that point um
    so i looked at let’s see one two
    i think three or four deals before i
    decided on this one
    um a lot of them were people that had
    bought it
    you know one one of them was somebody
    that had bought it for and their
    son was running it was kind of they were
    buying their kid a job
    um but i looked to the real estate the
    lease was not good
    um they were making pretty decent money
    but the lease was a huge chunk of what
    they did and the layout of the building
    was
    was terrible and and that you were
    taking care of all the triple net
    yourself
    so i kind of early on it was like you
    know it’s just not going to work
    another one was just too small it was an
    outlying town
    when i finally found this one i just
    kind of heard through the grapevine
    talking to the distributor
    you know this guy kind of maybe wants to
    sell he spent a whole lot of time there
    himself
    and um i looked and i saw that they had
    put
    they had too few dryers in there so it
    was one
    thing kind of early on i looked at and
    i’m like we could slap you know six
    stack dryers in there and kind of
    alleviate a bottleneck
    um the landlord actually owned the note
    on the equipment
    when he bought the building and so for
    me it was
    less than the price of a new car uh down
    and i was you know signed my name on the
    dotted line and here i am owning a lease
    and a job
    so yeah that’s awesome
    my first walk into it yeah so the
    distributor kind of turned you on to
    this location and just because of the
    way that everything was already set up
    and structured with the landlord
    holding the note he i’m assuming he
    carried
    some of the note you know he continued
    to do that and
    so you were able to just cut a
    relatively small check and get your foot
    in the door
    yep exactly nice
    all kinds of freedom and to being like
    one of
    two employees and you know 24 you know
    24 7 responsibility
    it’s totally awesome yeah right yeah how
    how did you feel after you first bought
    your
    laundry i mean where you’re like man
    that stupid board game or
    you know i was i was watching your uh
    interview or kind of about
    about you on your page and said you know
    learning those lessons
    up front it reminded me i remember
    closing
    on new year’s eve 2005 you know it was
    2006
    was uh the day i took over and
    my girlfriend at the time and i had
    plans to go out and i got an argument
    with the owner
    or the previous owner over some stuff
    that was supposed to be
    left a couple computers and some tools
    as we were counting out the till
    after you know nine o’clock and the
    quarters in the store um
    you know and so you know here i am i
    think i got the world by the tail i got
    this figured out and the first thing i
    do is getting an argument with the
    previous owner
    about some computers and tools that are
    probably worth 500 bucks
    and so that was my entry into it
    honestly
    um i probably should have tuck tail to
    run right then but
    yeah well i’m but it is kind of uh you
    know it’s like welcome to welcome to
    business right
    like yes you know you’re you’re
    you know you got to deal with with the
    things that come up and you know that
    can be people
    trying to take advantage of things or
    you got to kind of weigh those out too
    right it’s like
    how big of a deal is this and do i put
    my foot down or do i just
    keep moving forward that’s tough so did
    you get that resolved
    yeah we has kind of a little bumpy but
    the next day he brought a couple of the
    computers back he felt bad about it
    it’s just one of those life lessons that
    you kind of learn you know just what
    what you just said there’s been a couple
    times in business where you’re like
    how much is this problem worth
    and is is this something i need to stand
    on principle for
    or is it is it something that is much
    easier just to go away
    you know make go away and find to find
    the compromise solution for
    that’s you know how i say business has
    been my mba
    owning a business because i’m learning
    every day every single day
    this is my 15th year in this business
    and i just keep learning and i love it
    just out of curiosity i mean you may not
    know
    the answer to this but how how do you
    know
    if it’s something whatever it is if it’s
    something that you should pursue
    and you know for the principle of it or
    if it’s something you should just
    let go what’s good question i uh
    i’ll just i’ll you give another thing as
    an example we had a common hallway with
    our
    neighbor next door and the first
    vacation i took
    in this business i was a week-long
    rafting trip where i’m
    pretty much out of contact and i come
    back and then built a closet
    kind of halfway down this hallway
    because it was no longer going to be
    accessible to the outside and
    i was furious because you know it’s you
    know it’s like 35 square feet
    seven foot by five foot no big deal
    right sat down with my
    attorney and he’s a little he’s much
    older he was a friend of my dad’s
    and he just gave me the best advice in
    these situations he’s like
    how much are you willing to spend to get
    that 35 square feet back
    because if it ends up in court yeah i
    mean it’s that’s going to be very
    expensive square footage
    so in this particular situation is it
    is it worth the money and the effort and
    the pain
    to do it and that isn’t was he in the
    right there’s some question
    i i consider even to this day now but
    and that’s it’s one of those things it’s
    definitely been a lesson and teaching me
    and i
    i think it depends on each situation and
    i think you
    really have to check your temper um
    and be able to look at it from a cost
    benefit analysis but then also
    how can you live with it for long term
    because it might be something like
    this closet that we have to look at
    quite often right
    yeah yeah i think those are awesome
    points to consider and especially the
    emotional part of it
    you know because things can get very
    emotional i can i’m pretty like even
    keel most of the time but i can
    think of a couple scenarios where you
    know i’ve
    i’ve gotten worked up for whatever
    reason about an issue
    and then looking back on it now i’m like
    man that was not a big deal really
    you know and so taking some time to
    let the emotions cool off before you
    decide if a problem is worth pursuing or
    not
    is absolutely it’s awesome advice so
    yeah and the other thing i would say too
    is
    um like asking yourself the question i i
    think the cost
    benefit is the key right but also asking
    yourself the question
    you know is this gonna slow down my
    progress like if you’re growing a
    business
    and you have to stop doing the things
    that are gonna help you continue to grow
    your business in order to
    deal with a problem that may or may not
    be
    consequential in the long run you really
    should do that intentionally right like
    if you’re going to invest the time to
    deal with the problem you got to make
    sure it’s
    worth it and it’s you know it’s not
    going to slow down your progress so
    [Music]
    yeah absolutely especially with growth
    in a business i mean
    so if you’re going to grow up any
    laundromat or any
    laundry service business you eventually
    get to this point where you’re like
    i cannot be the single point of failure
    you know there are certain yes things
    that i do
    and expertise that i bring but if i’m
    the only one fixing equipment
    or i’m the only one folding laundry or
    i’m the only one
    scheduling employees like you’re
    scheduling team members like
    eventually that’s going to break like
    you can be super human
    and i think you’ve got a i think you
    really have to look at
    you know as you’re growing how do you
    how do you choose your battles wisely
    so well i think that’s a good question
    i mean this may be a little premature in
    your story but out of curiosity because
    i mean i think a lot of people when they
    start out especially if they’re
    trying to kind of bootstrap sort of the
    way you did how do you go from
    like initially you probably do need to
    play most of those roles if not all of
    those roles
    um so how do you make that transition
    from
    i’m the one cleaning i’m the one folding
    i’m the one
    paying the bills i’m the one making
    schedule i’m i’m the one doing
    everything right now
    to bringing other people on how do you
    make that transition
    the sooner you know the first thing i’ll
    say from my experience is the sooner you
    can do it
    the better off you are now i know that
    everybody comes to this business from a
    little bit different perspective right
    some people need this business it’s not
    just an investment for them
    in their future or you know they have a
    a
    some sort of a gig or they have a bunch
    of money that they’re looking to get
    return on
    this like this is their business and i
    think
    when i think about those and where i
    came from i was an owner operator
    that’s how i would look at it there’s
    the owner portions of the business and
    the operator portions
    as soon as you can if you want to grow
    to any kind of scale
    or size whether that’s in the service
    business or
    in the coin laundries you have to
    separate those two things
    the operator perspective yes you may
    have to do that and work shifts for a
    while
    but the sooner you can get yourself away
    from the
    the thing that you can pay somebody 12
    to 15 to 20
    an hour then you can focus on the things
    that you do well which is
    and you may have to learn these things
    right which is setting up your insurance
    and saving money
    on you know the different business
    elements and services
    and people that you employ whether
    that’s insurance people
    or accounting or you know all those kind
    of things so
    separating those two roles i think is is
    is probably the biggest key and i wish
    that i learned that in year two
    instead of year 10.
    yeah no i that’s a genius answer i love
    that in separating the owner and the
    operator roles
    and looking to hand off the operator
    roles and
    and taking on the owner roles you know a
    lot of
    a lot of people you know say do your
    your high value
    tasks um you know and focus on those and
    delegate your low value task or to bring
    it back to kiyosaki
    you were on the left side of the cash
    flow quadrant which is the self-employed
    and you’re moving over to the right side
    of the cash flow quadrant
    which is business owner right and if you
    haven’t read that book
    you know go go look at excuse me go look
    at the
    go search it online and and check out
    the uh
    just the general quadrant and what that
    is it’s pretty it was really
    enlightening for me
    and uh and if you want to read that book
    there’ll be a link down below i’ll put
    that there too
    but yeah definitely rich dad poor dad
    read that one first if you haven’t it’s
    a quick read it’s a story
    with lots of and then you got to do cash
    flow quadrant
    because that those two things those
    those
    um those two books were the
    were the foundation of my
    entrepreneurial leadership in fact i
    found one on the back of the
    on the back of the bathroom toilet that
    my dad had that had never read
    and so i stole it from him that’s right
    it’s the exact same thing
    the same exact thing my dad had it on
    the back of the toilet never read it
    that’s so funny
    uh yeah yeah i’ll put links to all those
    uh in down below if you want to pick
    those up um okay
    all right so you bought your your first
    one
    and you immediately got into an argument
    with the previous owner so that’s
    awesome
    so talk me through what was the what was
    after that argument what was the
    beginning of your experience like
    you know i didn’t i didn’t have a bunch
    of uh
    i’ll tell you what i didn’t have i
    didn’t have a bunch of experience
    managing people
    i’ve done i’ve been a pretty hard worker
    and i was blessed with uh
    work ethic and grit uh as my friend dave
    menz would say
    um you know i got that from whether
    that’s my family or my upbringing so
    you know kind of like a bulldozer back
    in those days you just drop a blade and
    plow a superhighway
    um you know i think about that today and
    i don’t do that as much anymore because
    a lot of times you may not need a super
    highway and maybe you only need a hiking
    trail
    and so you know that comes down to that
    effort and what you’re gonna do
    but when i started right away um you
    know i started working shifts like
    like a lot of people do i got to know
    some customers you got to know the
    kind of people that tried to scam you
    out of a quarter and
    get all wrapped around the axle on that
    which makes absolutely no sense to me
    like i should have just had i literally
    should have just had like 25 bucks a
    quarters in my pocket all the time
    yeah and i should have just handed it to
    people so much less
    um so much less emotional
    strain on me early on for so little
    money
    i know instead of fighting over is
    somebody trying to scam us out of a buck
    well here have a buck
    yeah you know and voting again we get
    back to focusing on those things that
    that make a difference
    i think it was maybe within the first
    year because i worked shifts quite a bit
    we were trying to expand i i was um
    on one of my shifts i i picked up a
    basket of laundry and i said
    if i continue to do this i will
    i will be here the rest of my life it i
    can i need to get away
    from picking up baskets of laundry
    and i think that that it well it took me
    a number of years
    to start our service business in earnest
    and get it rolling to the point where
    you know to where we’re on the path we
    are today it was that moment when i
    realized
    again it’s an owner operator question i
    just can’t keep doing this
    because i’d always been a doer and and i
    never managed a whole bunch of people so
    that was kind of my first couple years
    was learning that
    yeah that’s a huge lesson it’s that
    mindset shift
    of you know i i mean i love what i can
    really relate to what you’re saying just
    with
    you know having that that gritty mindset
    and
    um and having to kind of almost
    like leave that behind have a different
    mindset not that grit is bad i love
    like grit i mean i think it’s necessary
    but you want to focus that on the right
    things right i i
    can’t even remember where i read this
    now but it really
    it hugely transformed uh
    the way i thought about this stuff um
    and i really wish i could remember where
    i read it if i remember i’ll put it in
    the notes
    but it was just this concept that
    there’s
    um there’s two different kinds of
    mindsets there’s a time and effort
    economy mindset where you hear people
    saying
    like i put in all this time i put on all
    this effort
    i should be paid for that right and then
    there’s a results economy
    yes whereas you get paid for the results
    that you get right
    and and you know the point being
    is you can be gritty and put in a ton of
    time and a ton of effort
    folding laundry but you’re gonna keep
    folding laundry that’s
    right what you’re gonna keep doing right
    because that’s a time and effort economy
    way of thinking about things
    whereas if you have a result economy you
    know you can say hey this has to get
    done
    but i don’t have to be the one to do it
    the results just need to be there and
    i’ll get compensated based on results
    totally transformed the way i thought
    about stuff absolutely
    well and i i that’s the difference
    between you know as an owner
    and one of your team members and and i
    think there’s some crossover that can be
    done as well like you can reward people
    with bonus systems and different things
    to to push more on the results but at
    the end of the day
    they still have hours to fill whether
    they’re a laundry attendant or a laundry
    processor
    for you know doing that doing that kind
    of work and i think it’s
    the more you can get to to rewarding
    people
    for their for their results
    i think the better off your team is
    going to be long term as well
    huge yeah huge love that okay so you
    ran this laundromat as a self-service
    laundromat
    for a while without really a service
    component to it right
    a little bit of wash dry fold but you
    know i didn’t i think early on i was
    really late to the game of residential
    laundry because i had always been the
    guy
    you know i started my business in 2006.
    um and my the the owner previous owner
    was doing loads for really
    cheap money and i didn’t see how you
    know the labor costs i just didn’t see
    how it’s going to work out long term
    you know i always focus on getting more
    coin laundry customers in the door
    and then just using the the wash dry
    fold just to try to kind of recoup some
    of my expenses
    for for uh for labor
    so i i didn’t really get into the
    service business probably i think it was
    about a year and a half in
    i went to a chamber of commerce event
    and um
    but they have um it’s like they call it
    a business after hours and you could
    meet different people
    and i had been to a couple of them and
    finally i decided to get a table and
    set up our laundry basket some shirts a
    couple of business cards and
    some flyers and a guy that owned a party
    rental company came to me
    and said hey we’ve got we’re opening up
    a business and
    we need somebody to iron our table in it
    and so
    that that probably out of any one thing
    thrust us into the into the service
    business
    wow wow that’s really interesting okay
    so you decided to
    push forward into that basically because
    of this party rental guy who just
    he wanted this table in an iron
    so what did you do i mean did you have
    an ironer what did you
    how did that work we didn’t have an
    ironer we set up a
    ironing board on one of our folding
    tables we did a lot of it by hand you
    know
    back in those days i just didn’t have a
    ton of money i had a bunch of debt yeah
    um
    and i was like i just don’t i didn’t see
    the numbers and how the
    process was going to work even though i
    was had been in the
    aerospace realm for a while like
    and done lean manufacturing and i could
    just it didn’t
    the two didn’t click for me for a while
    i’m a little slow in that
    sometimes um but he came to me and
    you know we got it going for probably
    two or three years
    i guess about two years with him and i
    made
    probably one of my quintessential uh
    mistakes in business and that was i got
    one guy that was
    45 of our service business
    and so now i’m at basically the beck and
    call
    we’re the employees of his company you
    know even though we had separate
    you know even though we were separate
    companies we were you know they they’d
    say
    do this and we’d like well how high do
    you want us to jump
    so i mean if that lesson for me probably
    the biggest one
    was and i had to learn that one twice um
    don’t don’t let if you’re going into the
    service business don’t
    go get a huge customer first
    get a whole bunch of little ones um
    because if you lose that one big
    customer it puts a heck of a hole in
    your
    in your business and you end up not
    having enough work for people and
    it’s just rough yeah and i’ve seen that
    play out in multiple businesses multiple
    arenas i have a buddy who
    you know he he has a metal fab shop
    and he he ran into that same problem
    where
    one of his customers was like 60 or
    maybe even more than that of his
    business and he was always stressing out
    and they he just felt like they had so
    much leverage
    over him and you know finally he was
    able to kind of diversify
    away from that and it just relieved so
    much stress and it gave him power back
    over his business right he felt like he
    didn’t have power over his business
    because he relied on this one customer
    if you lost that one customer
    he was probably going to go under right
    or have to make drastic changes at least
    so that’s a huge huge lesson yeah and i
    had to learn
    you know we were kind of so dense we had
    to learn it again when a
    hotel came to us and said hey how you
    know it’s a 40 some odd room hotel
    we’d like you to do our linen which we
    chose to do
    and then when they got purchased in 2009
    uh it was just an asset sale and they
    nullified her contract and said
    hey we actually own the linen for the
    hotels well they gave us 24 hours to
    come pick it up
    oh here i am like you know yeah
    tons and tons of linen and i and i
    learned it again i i think it was at
    that moment that i said
    i am never gonna have one customer
    that’s over
    you know my goal is seven percent of our
    total gross business
    yeah and once they get over that i can’t
    take on another until
    until i get enough small and medium
    customers to diversify that out again
    because i’m not having that happen again
    yeah
    man that’s that’s pretty crazy but
    you know it’s like that’s really hard
    because and
    i think that’s a really good kind of
    guideline because it’s really hard like
    if you’re
    you know if you’re just kind of dinking
    and dunking along with a few
    smaller accounts and all of a sudden you
    get a big one
    out of the blue like it’s tough to pass
    that up so what do you
    what do you do about that right do you
    take it and
    and figure out what to do from there or
    you know
    yeah i mean so how would you okay so
    let’s say you’re
    like back in the day again and this
    hotel comes and this whole situation
    happens again
    would you take it on and then try to go
    find a bunch of smaller clients or would
    you say no until you found smaller
    clients what would you do
    you know i i would definitely if i if i
    had the knowledge that i do today i
    would pass on it
    because i went looking for it i knew
    somebody else that owned the laundry
    had it and they were struggling with it
    and i
    i would just say no and the reason i
    would is because
    you know you you really put yourself at
    risk when you have somebody
    that has a large portion of your
    business because you don’t want to
    stress
    you’ve got to be able to pay for and and
    the things you do have to be profitable
    that’s the other thing
    if there’s one thing i could tell like
    owners getting started in this business
    like focus on your process focus on
    quality
    and don’t worry about the price i mean
    you have to be in the realm of reason
    but
    if you’re trying to undercut your
    neighbor just to just to win the
    business
    you’re going to lose in the long in the
    long run so
    there’s no doubt in my mind race to the
    bottom is
    you know somehow amazon and walmart let
    them duke that out
    yeah yeah that’s great advice and you i
    mean you have to have
    huge scale to be able to race to the
    bottom and win
    that race without going under and you
    know
    by and large most laundry mats or even
    service parts of the laundry mats aren’t
    going to be able to do that so correct
    awesome advice okay so you have a
    laundromat
    that you got for less than a price of a
    car
    you because of a board game just want to
    keep going back to that okay
    good um and then you kind of ran it as
    that you you’ve learned some lessons
    kind of up
    to this point and you’ve kicked off your
    service
    business how how did that go when you
    decided okay we’re gonna
    we’re gonna this isn’t gonna just to be
    to you know kind of help compensate our
    employees we’re gonna actually try to
    make this part of our business
    tell us about what that was like scaling
    that
    scaling that out did it take a long time
    sure if it i you know i’m a little
    hard-headed so it definitely took
    it definitely took longer than um
    longer than i thought it longer than it
    would for me today
    we got into the business i didn’t really
    think residential laundry i didn’t think
    much about it this was like say 2009
    2010. i’m not like i know it doesn’t
    seem like anybody was talking about
    delivering that
    we didn’t get a lot of requests for it
    we didn’t advertise it
    uh but people were still building dry
    cleaning pickup and delivery routes
    and i had because we had sort of a drop
    off or a dry cleaning business in our in
    our laundromat
    we still had you know had a decent
    relationship with the local cleaners
    and i had this van which i’d gotten for
    our
    our two big customers which i’ve now
    lost
    and i realized if i want to keep the van
    and i’m and i have enough
    to bring the the business in i’m gonna
    have to
    find something to pay for those uh pay
    for those costs
    and you know i was making you know we
    negotiated an okay deal
    you know it’s pretty decent and standard
    in the in
    it’s about a 50 50 deal in the business
    uh for basically doing the pickup and
    delivery and we have a decent cleaner
    they’ve
    you know we’ve had bumps over the years
    and we’ve had definitely upsides
    but but we learned how to go kind of
    door to door
    and build dry cleaning routes and that
    got us
    pretty much to cover our entire city
    within about three years
    so i you know went from having one band
    to two
    just to cover that and we were doing
    okay we were making a little bit of
    money at that
    but anytime we would get a commercial
    laundry customer to kind of throw on
    there uh
    you know it was it was gravy because the
    pickup and delivery i had people five
    days a week
    i didn’t wasn’t sending the van just out
    to one customer and back
    they were as part of a route and so
    while i’m not a you know we it does say
    happy laundry and dry cleaning in our
    in our name we don’t own the dry cleaner
    uh
    and you know as far as working that out
    that was a good
    parlay for us to build a larger route
    business
    so yeah i don’t know if that answered
    your question
    yeah no yeah it it totally did so
    so you say about like three years it
    took you to kind of cover
    your city with those routes
    yeah that’s good and and you partner
    with uh a dry cleaner
    which i think a lot of people are doing
    now
    um i don’t know how common that was when
    did you start
    your i’d have to go back and look but
    let’s just say 2010 2011 is when we
    started the okay
    rounds yeah that’s pretty early on what
    did you do
    just out of curiosity did you use a
    software were you doing it on
    [Music]
    sell spreadsheets on pieces of paper
    what were you doing
    on excel spreadsheets um it was
    an ugly i just there’s too many things
    to go
    i i went through like four or five
    different uh
    software programs to try to do this
    easily
    we did things the hard way we just kept
    beating our head against the wall like
    once after another instead of
    buying a dry cleaning or point of sale
    software which we should have done up
    front
    yeah again i mean i’m all for grit
    but when it’s misapplied it can be
    yeah and i mean that’s a lesson i’ve
    learned many times over and i’m probably
    still learning in certain areas so
    yeah grit can be an awesome asset but it
    can also hurt you
    so right right when you’re gritty about
    hitting your head against the wall
    you’re in trouble for sure
    yeah sure yeah okay
    so talk to me about what that did
    for your business um when you added that
    like how did that compare to the the
    self-serve
    portion of your laundromat compared to
    your service business it was an
    interesting it was an interesting time
    right because we’re going from
    you know probably 70 of our
    income coming from from our coin laundry
    to
    30 being serviced we launched the
    you know it’s a little bit it’s a little
    bit throws the numbers off when you’re
    not pro
    performing the service you know and
    you’re only getting 50
    of it and you still have expenses for
    delivery and customer management on that
    but
    we were at um you know pretty quickly
    that got down to 50 50 and then
    things started to turn the corner when
    we when we
    focused in earnest on commercial laundry
    and got some big
    uh massage therapy customers i started
    doing some
    direct mail work uh calling on customers
    just
    trying to be in scrappy and trying to
    get types of businesses that
    you know they’d come in and drop off at
    the laundry and like oh you’re a
    business do you want us to pick up and
    deliver
    and if they were in our service zone
    we’d find a way to service them and
    um and then we’ve kind of figured out
    early on that
    our to control the whole process and our
    most profit definitely comes from our
    commercial laundry business
    um so what would you say i mean
    if you have an idea about this what
    would you say percentage of residential
    versus commercial is we’re 50 50 now
    okay 50 50. revenue-wise yeah
    how how has how did that affect
    how did the last year affect your
    business i know a lot of people
    they’re commercial went way down
    and and a lot of people their
    residential even went up a little bit
    so just out of curiosity is that i mean
    was that your experience this last year
    yeah i mean i think like a lot of
    business owners over the last
    year uh coveted hits were terrified
    right you’re gonna have lockdowns
    is is it gonna be safe for my team
    members to work
    my team members are scared um and we go
    from
    you know this time of year which is sort
    of our ramp up to summer because our
    summer season is now pretty busy we have
    lots of
    uh vacation rental homes that we take
    care of
    uh get a lot of kind of seasonal laundry
    that way and then we also do
    wedding venues for table inning but so
    we’re starting to ramp up to that this
    happens and i would say in the first
    two weeks after kind of that you know so
    by april 1st
    our business with businesses being
    closed is down
    60 you know
    because because a lot of the commercial
    customers are closed we have
    quite a few residential customers that
    are like you know we’re staying at home
    and we’re scared yeah but the coin
    laundry’s there right
    so you know you’ve got this commercial
    laundry business
    some residential dry cleaning which
    falls off the face of the earth
    and then you’ve also got uh the coin
    laundry well
    yeah i had to lay a few of our team
    members off because we’re
    labor heavy for processing commercial
    laundry
    but i did say that of them i said you
    know
    if if you are if you can’t get
    unemployment or you’re short on rent
    money or you’re short
    you guys can’t eat just let me know i’ll
    be happy to help i’ll write you a check
    i mean we’ve got my wife and i are
    we do very well and so i’m happy to help
    them through this time
    and because i also wanted to come back i
    know that some we’re gonna find our way
    through this
    but we definitely saw you know like a 60
    in our service business just drop off
    and then the coin lottery was down maybe
    10 15
    on the year so yeah it’s a big hit has
    it started to come back yet
    i mean we’re in we’re in march of 2021
    now
    yeah what’s is your commercial coming
    back and
    how’s that oh yeah so so i was on the
    whole last year and i know this is
    um i know a lot of people haven’t
    haven’t experienced this so i i don’t
    say this to brag but
    our last year year-over-year sales was
    still up 15
    that’s awesome what do you attribute
    that to out of curiosity like what do
    you think
    we were able to pivot on a couple things
    like so we have the three pieces so that
    helps
    um and and people came to us early and
    said hey we’re gonna have these needs we
    had a couple of homeless shelters
    um that two or three of them and a
    university that was going to put some
    quarantine
    areas in place and so having opl
    machines
    and doing commercial laundry we have the
    processes and procedures in place
    to be able to safely handle that kind of
    that laundry early on and and i have
    lots of friends in the industry so i
    called them up and i said you know
    what do we need to be concerned about
    and so
    we took on some laundromat customers
    that
    are not laundromat some commercial
    laundry customers that really have
    helped us
    over the last year so that that is
    that’s what i attribute that to and then
    by september things were
    on the upswing and starting to come back
    so yeah
    well i that that’s where grit
    can take you in the right direction
    right like when you’re focusing on
    okay we got to we got to figure out a
    way to make this work we got to pivot
    you know let’s look for other
    opportunities that we can
    you know help help people but also keep
    our business going and
    and not just going but growing man i
    think that’s awesome that you guys were
    up 15
    last year and uh man
    yeah that’s awesome like you don’t hear
    too many of those stories
    you know no and i and i kind of i that’s
    one thing i do share with people because
    i
    you know it’s even with the name happy
    laundry it’s hard to be grumpy
    you can’t you it’s just a you got to be
    you got to be nice to people when you’re
    talking to them and you can’t just
    complain about all the bad stuff so
    it is one of the things that i do say to
    other business owners and when i’m
    talking to like my banker and
    insurance people it’s like well how are
    things going and i tell them you know
    how lucky we feel
    and i got a great team i couldn’t i
    couldn’t do this without the team
    so yeah well and that’s that’s key and
    what i see from a lot of top operators
    like yourself
    is they put together great teams right
    and i think that’s
    key uh maybe i don’t know do you can you
    share about how how did you put together
    a good team uh yeah i made
    a bunch of mistakes early so the first
    thing i will tell
    i will say that um almost put me off
    about the laundry business in general
    and this was from the very beginning
    reading on messaging boards and meeting
    people in the
    and kind of that cla forum was hearing
    people complain about laundry customers
    and you know how horrible they were
    seeing yourself different than
    somebody coming in your store or
    something like that it took me a few
    years to get through that mindset that
    you know i don’t care who somebody is i
    don’t care whether you’re homeless or
    you’re a millionaire
    you still deserve to be treated with
    respect unless you’re not treating me
    with respect in which case
    leave and so from that perspective it
    took me a while with my team members to
    finally get to the point where i’m like
    you know we provide a we provide a good
    job for people a safe place to work
    we provide them opportunities i’ll send
    them to class
    like it took that mindset shift for me
    that we are a good employer
    and that’s where i made the huge mistake
    early on i didn’t think this was a good
    job because i was trying to work it i
    was just trying to
    get somebody to fill in those hours
    instead of like becoming a leader and
    trying to help people along and
    grow them outside of what they do just
    from
    cleaning or helping other laundry
    customers or folding sheets or do
    you know we’re we’re we’re but we’re
    about more than that
    and so it was actually you know the the
    growth
    and shift in my business was the shift
    in my mindset of
    we’re a good employer and we provide
    value to our team members
    that was the biggest well that’s huge
    too
    you know and i think you know a lot of
    owners
    get caught up in their when they’re
    trying to hire employees they’re trying
    to
    pay as little as possible and
    and don’t give their employees much
    right in terms of training or in terms
    of even just
    instilling value in them and in what
    they do
    and the importance of what they do i
    think all those things
    are are huge in terms of building a
    great team
    and and because in in order to build a
    great business you have to build a great
    team
    it’s like mandatory right you can’t have
    you can’t have bad employees
    and then have a great business it just
    doesn’t work that way so
    huge huge huge and again i mean
    that’s one of the common threads i see
    from top operators is the ability
    to build a great team and whether they
    just could naturally do it or
    they kind of stumble through it and make
    all the bad decisions until they finally
    stumble on the right ones which is the
    way i like to roll up you know mostly so
    um whatever the case though they they do
    it right they build the great teams
    yeah we we um i think it was four or
    five years ago we
    leaned in it was a stretch for me
    financially at the time
    to um to afford it but we
    went to a dave ramsey entree leadership
    um kind of event that had happened in
    our
    in our area and and out of that signed
    up for a business mastermind group with
    them and you know dave’s entree
    leadership book
    i mean that’s his playbook of how he
    built the dave ramsey business or
    you know the businesses that are
    underneath what he does
    and i learned a lot about
    valuing team members holding them
    accountable
    you know one of his great stories is
    about giving people rope that’s how he
    raised his kids you know
    they earn a little bit at a time and you
    kind of you know they got a little bit
    of rope and you kind of let it out i do
    the same thing with whether it’s
    managers or
    i try to teach my manager my managers or
    lead people to do that with the people
    that they’re
    that they are um are responsible for
    so they kind of gotta earn a little bit
    of that trust and sometimes you got to
    pull it back in and hold people
    accountable
    you know i’m not the best at it but you
    also got to have the hard conversations
    you know you got to hold people
    accountable you got to hold yourself
    accountable
    yeah well and that’s really what it is
    too right it’s like
    you gotta know what you expect of people
    then you have to be able to communicate
    what you expect
    of them right to them in a way that they
    can hear it and then you’ve got to
    hold them accountable to what you expect
    of them and it’s
    it’s not it’s simple but it’s not easy
    to do right and it’s continually
    evolving as
    you know different people are coming in
    and out and the roles shift your
    business grows in this area so roles
    need to shift a little bit so it’s
    ever evolving and and you know it’s not
    an easy
    skill to master um but
    i’ve got a long way to go i mean i’ll be
    the first to tell you that my wife
    used to manage uh 15 to 20 people
    and i quite frequently would have
    conversations with her
    where do i need to go because that one
    you know one time andrew was directly
    managing
    seven to eight nine seven eight people
    trying to do schedules
    with our vendors and stuff and finally
    you know her and i came and she’s like
    you know you’ve gotta let go of some of
    this so we hired somebody
    to be our laundry manager and kind of
    made started in that evolution seven
    years ago
    um so you know that that has been
    then you gotta learn not only how to
    manage team members you gotta learn how
    to manage managers
    i mean that’s that’s the learning that i
    and i’m constantly learning
    on that how do i set the right example
    for them
    even though i’m completely you know i
    work from home half the time
    i’m not there as much as i used to be
    it’s actually most helpful if i’m not
    there because
    i can try to micromanage too much stuff
    and get in the way of the flow that
    they’re creating
    because i’m paying them to manage so let
    them do what they
    you’re paying them to do yeah it is
    it’s a tough balance well let’s score
    you some points here for a second
    and because everything i’ve learned and
    heard you say about your wife
    is i feel like she needs to get some
    credit for
    some of these successes because it
    sounds like she
    i mean listen you sound like a really
    quality guy but it sounds like you
    married up a little bit here
    married yeah yeah so good for you which
    says a lot about you right like
    i don’t know good for you uh but i mean
    how involved has your wife been in the
    business
    and how you know how’s that look over
    the years
    yeah so my wife has been i mean it’ll go
    six months between times that she’ll
    actually set foot in the store
    she does not she has not been a part of
    the day-to-day
    she is very much in a consulting and
    advisory role
    um you know we operate our family life
    off of the dave ramsey principles so we
    found that about seven years ago
    uh paid off personally paid off all our
    debt and our house and the business
    you know we’ve always been kind of used
    car people and that’s just kind of who i
    am
    um looking for a deal i guess um
    but the thing i think that came
    that she brought to the table early on
    was uh
    looking at our finances definitely from
    a budget perspective
    and so we worked together to make plans
    and so
    you know what i’ve i just can’t say
    enough where she stepped in and said all
    right
    you can go off on this decision that’s
    fine but how
    how’s that going to affect these other
    things you want to do over here so
    you know she is definitely my closest
    advisor we don’t make
    you know neither of us make big
    decisions without without consulting the
    other person so whether it’s a business
    or personal
    yeah that’s awesome and it’s you know
    it’s cool to have
    you know partner like that that you can
    bounce ideas off of and
    her experience and and wisdom you know
    compliments what what you’re doing and
    uh that’s pretty cool and she’s a
    uh she’s a financial coach right with
    the she is
    certified now she does helps people
    through paying off debt
    planning for the future uh planning for
    kids college
    buying a house uh figuring out what to
    do with big
    big financial situat their decisions so
    yeah she’s
    she does an awesome job with that she’s
    a great listener that’s one thing i
    love about her yeah that’s awesome well
    hey
    you know if you’re out there and you
    need some financial coaching
    i know i know a guy who knows
    a lady who’s got you covered that’s
    right yeah
    cool um all right so well you mentioned
    that you’re not spending as much time
    there as you used to
    how much time are you spending you know
    physically at work i’m
    um unless i’m working on a project i’m
    there mondays and fridays
    um and and i and i get together with my
    leadership team on thursdays
    um i always seem to have a project that
    uh
    you know we just we actually just bought
    a box truck in january because some of
    our commercial laundry is getting big
    enough where
    we’re doing cart exchange um so
    you know went had to get that get that
    all stickered up and ready to go
    and figure out help my lead driver
    figure out how that fits in the rotation
    and things to do and then now we
    we’re getting this space next door to us
    so that’ll be my project for the next
    couple months
    coordinate contractors and kind of
    figure out what the plan is for there
    so yeah man well i mean that’s pretty
    cool
    all right so when you’re when you’re not
    there and you’re not working on a
    project
    are you doing a lot of stuff from home
    or we’re not really
    yeah well i’m in my home office now
    we’ve uh
    we you know because of covid we we just
    basically said hey i need to be
    and i’m way more productive when i’m at
    home especially with the thinking tasks
    because i can be quiet we can i go work
    in the living room i can take a walk
    with the dog when i need to
    but you know i’m not my head is in the
    future
    and working on future things rather than
    listening to my staff sometimes
    and the challenges that they’re dealing
    with right there and
    i got i have to separate myself all
    right i find my head
    and myself getting sucked back into
    things you know i employ managers and
    customer service people and
    and laundromat attendance to to do those
    things so
    i gotta let them do that that’s you know
    that’s
    probably been one of my you know it’s
    not for everybody they’re not able to
    maybe not everybody is able to kind of
    work from home in that way and let go
    but you know every time i would take a
    big vacation i would notice that we
    would have a blip and new customers
    and and grow out of the way
    yeah that’s that always makes you feel
    great doesn’t it i mean on the one hand
    you’re like yeah awesome and on the
    other hand you’re like
    what in the world man
    [Laughter]
    well you must not have kids if you’re
    finding a piece of quiet at home
    is that i do not yeah my wife and i do
    not have kids so because my kids
    since we started this interview have
    poked their head in the door three times
    and i hope i hope you can’t hear this
    but
    for the past 45 minutes downstairs
    there’s an alarm on the alexa that’s
    been going off
    that i can hear and it’s and nobody’s
    here to
    turn it off so it’s been going off this
    whole time so there’s no peace and quiet
    happening over here
    yeah i get that get that yeah
    my sister went through some of those
    same same things with
    the daughter that stayed home in the
    last year and then her and her husband
    both working from home so
    yeah yeah yeah um well that’s awesome
    though
    that you’re you know you got that space
    and that you
    you are able to take that space and get
    away and
    it’s kind of that whole working on your
    business for versus working in your
    business
    uh concept right get some time to work
    on your business to do things like
    expand into a new you know unit to do
    things like buying
    a box truck you know to accommodate your
    larger commercial clients and be able to
    expand into even bigger commercial
    clients hopefully
    right yeah so that’s awesome
    um out of curiosity what are your
    what do you have in store for the future
    are you
    you know are you trying to expand more
    do you want to ramp up your
    your service business so for us so the
    growth area
    is definitely the service business we
    see um
    you know dollar for dollar i get about
    double the return
    on the on me on the investment when i
    put it in the service business
    and and that’s been a lot of hard-fought
    years into processes and figuring out
    ways to do things and
    lean manufacturing you know using those
    process improvement techniques to make
    to make things as
    as big as possible but yeah our service
    business is the growth area the other
    thing we’re seeing right now hands down
    is just a growth and wash raffle
    um residential wash dry folding our
    routes is is just exploding
    so and i’m really i’m really
    appreciative of that um
    and we you know we we charge handsomely
    for it we charge appropriately for it
    we’re in one of the higher
    minimum wage states we need to be above
    that
    to find good people bonus structures
    different things like that so
    um you know it’s uh i really
    really feel like we have a great product
    too so
    i see i see residential and commercial
    both kind of on par
    in their growth patterns we’d love to
    build you know buy our own building and
    build a purpose-built facility
    for both commercial and residential
    laundry and we may get to the point
    where we can afford to do that
    where the coin laundry is is such a
    small part it’s okay to
    either run that as a separate entity or
    um
    or sell it and move to a big facility so
    we’ll do one of those two things
    yeah yeah well i mean you mentioned
    something in there that
    i mean it reminds me of you know again
    what a lot of top operators talk about
    and
    dave mins is a big huge proponent of uh
    which by the way if you haven’t heard
    any of dave mintz’s podcast episodes
    he’s done a couple now
    with me i’ll link those down below
    they’re they’re both
    must listen uh episodes i think but
    you know he’s a big proponent of of
    value and then charging appropriately
    for the value
    um but you also
    i mean you mentioned like you want to be
    above paying minimum wage
    which is awesome and i think a lot of
    laundromat owners
    are afraid to do that because it gets
    expensive right and how do you
    how do you make that jump to say okay
    i’m going to commit to
    trying to go after a better quality
    of employee by paying a little bit more
    than
    what i have to pay them how do you how
    do you do that
    you know so the first the first part and
    i hit on this earlier but i’ll just come
    back to it because if
    if i were doing this interview this to
    say something i wanted to hear 10 years
    ago
    it was value what you do you’re you are
    you are providing an awesome service and
    if you’re not providing an awesome
    service you’re just
    providing a mediocre service go figure
    out how to provide an
    awesome service even if it costs you a
    little bit right in the beginning be
    proud of what you’re selling
    be proud of what your your company puts
    out there
    and and so that was the that was the
    starting point for
    it all is this isn’t just a coin laundry
    in a
    somewhat moderately undesirable
    neighborhood in
    you know of your of your area where it’s
    kind of clean and
    there’s sort of people coming in and out
    you know provide an a level service
    and from there build and find people
    that that
    will work and create that and they’re
    out there it doesn’t and even at minimum
    wage
    i mean we’ve we’ve had people i have
    people now that have worked for me for
    ten years
    seven years five years four years
    four years three years and then we’ve
    got a handful that are brand new this
    year
    we have 16 team members um
    so you know building that team you need
    the longevity and so you got to believe
    in what you do
    and then you got to get them to believe
    in what you do so
    be a good boss be a good owner
    be a good person man that ah i gotta
    write that down
    be a good boss be a good owner be a good
    person that needs to be on a shirt
    like a t-shirt probably does i’m gonna
    make that shirt and i’m gonna send you
    one
    oh that’d be great be a good boss be a
    good owner
    be a good person that’s good i love that
    um you know i’m in reverse you could do
    that but
    you know that’s and you know i took this
    from dave ramsey when we hired our last
    uh our newest laundry manager he’s been
    with me about a year
    uh he was in the restaurant business um
    and he loves to teach people he loves to
    train
    i mean he’s a good natured human being
    anybody had the experience of working in
    a in a restaurant where you’ve got ups
    and downs
    you got fast times and slow times um
    and he loves to train people so that
    that makes it easy right
    i mean none of this is easy but i mean
    it makes it easy to
    for other people to learn from him when
    he likes what he’s doing
    right yeah that’s
    yeah that’s huge and you know just
    on a very way way smaller scale
    when whenever somebody says something
    nice about me and this podcast
    it’s never really about anything that i
    say or do
    it’s always like you know you really it
    seems like you really
    believe in this and you’re like you’re
    enthusiastic about it right and that’s
    like when you have that belief
    in what you do and and that enthusiasm
    for it it’s contagious
    and and so if you can do that in your
    laundry business that’s
    yup it’s huge too so absolutely yeah
    you know we’ve we’ve we’ve expanded for
    um for our team members in the last in
    the last year some benefits
    you know the more i looked at it i look
    and i see a lot of my team members maybe
    didn’t have the
    the same style of parenting that my
    parents had or my grandparents
    that talked a lot about business
    ownership investing in the future
    saving for the future so we we actually
    started a retirement plan
    and it’s available to everybody the best
    immediately
    yeah i mean even if it’s not a ton of
    money right it’s
    they they get a save three percent and
    we match that three percent
    and we you know i put a lot of effort in
    the last
    six eight weeks into explaining to
    people why that’s important and
    overcoming barriers to people who don’t
    think that saving for the future is
    important
    so even if you know they start now and
    maybe you know maybe they’re 25 or 30 or
    35 whatever
    and maybe they can get you know 150 or
    200 000 dollars
    over their lifetime you know even if
    they’re uh even if they stay in that
    you know 10 15 20 22 an hour
    i mean that can make a huge difference
    to someone
    down the road yeah absolutely
    that kind of stuff yeah i love that and
    i love
    that you do that for your employees
    because again it’s not necessarily easy
    to do but that’s
    i mean that’s why i think it’s important
    what we do is important man when we’re
    trying to build a good business
    it’s not just to make more money for
    yourself but like
    you’re doing good for obviously you’re
    doing good for your community
    and all your customers like that
    obviously is what you’re trying to do
    you’re doing good for your employees
    because
    you’re giving them a paycheck and stuff
    but when you can go above that
    and and help them
    not even just help them plan for their
    future but
    instill in their minds that there’s
    importance in doing that even
    you know just just uh you know
    enlightening them to that mindset that
    they may not have ever even
    considered before and they’ve never even
    really understood
    you know similar to what i think a lot
    of people feel when they read rich dad
    poor dad right and they have that
    like oh my gosh like i never even
    thought about an asset versus a
    liability right like
    that kind of aha moment that you can
    help employees have by
    saying hey it’s important to save it
    reminds me of uh
    i don’t know if you’ve ever read the
    richest man in babylon
    i have heard of it and i got about
    halfway through it i’m an audiobook guys
    yeah me
    and i love that one especially as an
    audiobook actually because
    the uh the narrator is just he sounds
    like he’s
    straight out of babylon but anyways um
    one of the things that
    um that comes up in there is
    one of the points that that he’s making
    is you know we all think that we have to
    we need every dime that we make as a
    necessary expense
    right and then he’s he kind of makes a
    point like well how much do you make and
    how much do you make and how much do you
    make
    and how is it that you all spend
    everything that you make
    even though you make different sums on
    necessary expenses
    right and if you can kind of help people
    see that you know your employees see
    that
    if you take off three percent to invest
    into your future
    you’re not gonna miss it right like
    you’re not even gonna know it’s not
    there
    um because you’ll just compensate and
    you’ll spend your money
    slightly differently but that three
    percent plus the three percent you’re
    going to match
    is going to make a big difference down
    the line
    absolutely well then it’s just and it
    becomes automatic
    and things that we can make you know if
    you can help people
    automate savings for themselves i think
    that’s the biggest
    long-term that that will have the
    biggest help
    you know and being and and even if it’s
    not you
    as you know if you’re an owner of and
    you’ve got 10 or 15 employees you can’t
    know everybody’s stories but you know i
    do talk to my managers about it like hey
    you know if somebody’s having an issue
    dude
    definitely let me know i’ll be happy to
    talk to them and i kind of listen to it
    and hear
    you know we have enough long-term team
    members now too that have been around
    from
    some of my coaching that you know that
    they get it
    they try to help each other i think
    that’s the most important thing
    yeah huge well it makes a difference man
    and i love that you said that and
    you know are sharing that because i
    think it does give us as laundromat
    owners a little bit different
    mindset to think about to
    um you know in terms of how we utilize
    the money that we get from our business
    right
    all right we’re also the backbone of the
    we’re also the backbone of the economy
    you don’t he i mean we’ll hear main
    street and all that kind of stuff
    but there’s we’re the things we do are
    not um
    they’re not fancy laundry’s not fancy
    laundry is not aerospace laundry’s not
    tesla you know we’re not amazon we’re
    not tilting up warehouses that big
    but it’s the day-to-day that we’re the
    heart of the economy in this country
    and i you know yes there’s a piece of it
    and yes
    i’ve done pretty well from it um
    but but i try to kind of level up the
    next
    my team with along with me so that
    they’ll you know stick it out for the
    long term too
    yeah i love that yeah and
    i’ve never really heard anybody say
    we’re the we’re the
    heart of the economy but i love that man
    i love that and i believe that
    well i think if you look up the
    percentage of employees that work for
    small businesses
    it’s it’s huge so yeah
    yeah i’ve seen that i’ve seen that all
    right
    we have a little section called down to
    business
    uh let’s get down to business
    over and out awesome and that will just
    help us
    get to know your business oh and how it
    works a little bit more
    uh so what’s your um what’s your social
    security number no i’m just kidding
    um so you guys are ready
    you know i heard that whenever this is
    totally random but whenever
    uh you go to a place that has like a
    loyalty card or whatever
    and they need a phone number or whatever
    you can use that and
    somebody has registered that number
    pretty much everywhere
    yeah so use that one and whoever has it
    registered probably
    racks up on the bonus points oh
    absolutely yeah
    all right uh so you are in
    spokane washington washington yep almost
    to idaho for those that don’t know
    wait what’d you say we’re almost in
    idaho so
    seattle is about 300 seattle’s over here
    we’re over here right next to idaho so
    about 300 miles apart
    okay so you’re nowhere near seattle
    you know near idaho i actually like
    idaho i spent a lot of summers in idaho
    my cousin lived there
    i really like idaho have some good
    memories out there we’re at
    uh idaho falls yep
    so not too far away by yeah yep yeah on
    the
    south ish yeah it’s awesome uh okay
    so you only have one location right
    we do okay we’ve been looking at getting
    an
    a second coin laundry location nothing’s
    jumped out at us
    it’s always you know you you look at the
    investment in that
    and the investment that we’ve already
    made to grow a service business
    yeah and that i can put in a lot less
    money and get the same return in our
    service business right now so
    why would i do that is part of it yeah i
    mean it’s a great question
    a great way to think about it i mean you
    know at your point
    it’s like it only really makes sense
    if you don’t have the capacity to do
    the amount of service that you need to
    do right and even at that point
    probably makes more sense to buy a you
    know a dedicated space to build out
    you know so yeah yeah that’s it’s been
    the ongoing question for the last five
    years as the service business has grown
    how how is like how huh
    like how big is your store out of
    curiosity
    it’s 3 000 square feet okay i’m like
    stumbling over here but
    what i’m trying to get to is like how uh
    how
    how much you’re using these machines are
    they going 24 hours or do you not have
    to go 24 what are you doing
    no it’s uh so we let’s see let’s see
    that
    three years ago we came in and we took
    out we used to have about
    2 000 square feet that was a laundromat
    and we ran a wall down a third of it so
    our actual laundry mat is only about
    1500 square feet now
    and the rest we opened up and put some
    opl machines
    on premise laundry chemical injection we
    keep those going between
    six and ten hours a day um and we can
    flex
    into the laundry space because
    commercial laundry
    if it’s not super dirty or it doesn’t
    need special treatment
    um it can go in the kind of the regular
    machines and we have
    we have some like soap cart or caddies
    that we have
    that help that help kind of speed up
    that process but
    that allows us to flex into the that
    equipment during the day
    so from eight in the morning until two
    in the afternoon when there just aren’t
    that many people in our laundry because
    of our location
    so um and that way we could lock things
    up at night that was the other thing
    so yeah yeah okay so you got
    you got some serious stuff going on in
    that um
    on that commercial side yeah storage
    became the issue and we
    ended up putting some storage sheds in
    the back that we
    you know store the clean and the dirty
    in separate sheds obviously but
    and then they can they get loaded right
    into our vans so
    yeah that’s that works that’s not
    because i think that storage
    is um that’s a huge deal in fact a
    previous guest mark vlascamp sent me a
    video
    i mean he’s just he’s in texas and his
    service businesses
    pick up and delivery is just blowing up
    and he sent me this quick little video
    of his shift change and there was
    laundry
    everywhere man like everywhere so he’s
    killing it down there which is awesome
    we gotta have him back on
    to talk about that but um that storage
    issue can be a real
    issue you know you see them people
    storing them like
    on the bulkheads and all over the place
    you know get creative with that storage
    but the sheds
    that’s a really good idea probably makes
    it easier to kind of load and unload too
    and you’re not getting in the way of
    people doing laundry and
    a lot of efficiency in that that way our
    wash person can only bring in what they
    what they need to what they need to do
    at that one time
    moving too much stuff you know in carts
    around but you know that’s kind of the
    trade-off
    was this your was this your wife’s idea
    be honest because it sounds really smart
    so yeah oh so it was your idea that just
    evolved over time
    wow okay okay maybe i just didn’t give
    you enough credit early on
    yes uh okay so did you
    started in the business in 2010 is that
    what you said
    2006 was 2006. yep
    you’ve been around this is our 15th year
    15 years
    wow that’s awesome uh
    let me ask you how much does it cost to
    do laundry on the self-service side
    uh in spokane washington
    we’re we’re definitely the price leader
    um we wrap we kind of have a programmed
    way of doing
    price increases and i do price increases
    twice a year
    whether we need it or not and it’s been
    about three percent
    so i’ll look at you know that’s all
    across our service business unless
    something’s under contract which we do
    have some of those
    but kind of our retail wash drying fold
    and and um commercial business will go
    up twice a year
    and and i tend to look at the coin
    laundry at the same time
    and so i don’t know you probably want to
    know
    let’s see our 40s are i think 775.
    oh my gosh yeah and our our uh
    little 20s which are small chassis ones
    are 350 now i think
    they can level up to four and a quarter
    um
    we’re kind of stuck on the dryers i’m
    thinking about going full cycle dryer
    pricing
    because i’m stuck at five minutes a
    quarter just say it’s pretty tough to be
    like
    a quarter minute you know like that’s
    that’s
    uh yeah well i know a lot of people are
    moving to that full full cycle pricing
    for the dryers and it makes a lot of
    sense especially if you’re
    you know your vin prices or where
    they’re at you know it’s almost like
    shoot man you’re kind of giving away
    dryers right at
    compared you know so
    yeah and we’ll probably do that we’ll
    probably do that as we get the next
    this next space up and running in the
    next few months because all
    you know we’ve really our laundromat
    business during the day
    they’re stuck to six stack dryers
    because we take up
    everything else you know during our busy
    time in the summer we may have six
    attendants on
    folding laundry um you know probably
    actually
    probably closer to averaging five
    attendance on each shift
    so that can be that can be pretty
    that can be pretty busy where we’ll take
    up almost all the laundry mat and all
    the folding space so this
    just moving this to the next level will
    be helpful yeah
    yeah that’s a that’s a big deal that’s
    pretty cool
    um okay so well what does it cost and do
    you do per pound for your
    pickup and delivery what does it cost
    per pound
    i think we’re at two
    [Music]
    211 or two i can’t remember
    i’m so unfocused on it i don’t i don’t
    focus on the price
    um yeah you’re 211 or 214 actually
    so one of those two okay that’s i think
    you’re the first one come on who’s been
    in the twos
    so good for you man that’s awesome it’s
    so funny because
    you know i’ve said this before i think
    but like some of the markets where you
    would expect
    prices to be high like in new york or in
    la even
    prices are actually relatively low
    because there’s just so much competition
    but prices where you wouldn’t
    expect them to be as high you know they
    can be
    a lot higher because i guess because
    there’s not as much competition
    but right yeah that’s good man 211 214
    that’s pretty good
    [Music]
    uh i mean do you have any sense of
    like turns per day that your
    self-service is doing
    yeah i was gonna say like you know
    i will say this because we for the last
    three years we’ve
    three four years we’ve been pushing
    [Music]
    you know our laundry our coin laundry
    customers out the door
    um you know that i i would say that i’ve
    tried to find
    a way you know not physically i mean
    we’ve closed the laundry a couple times
    when we’ve been too busy
    should put assigned clothes for today
    for the day because i need all the
    equipment to process it out if we’re
    doing a special project or something
    um but
    you know just taking up all the folding
    space leaving one or two folding tables
    for somebody that comes in
    though where we’re at it’s always been
    monday through friday is one number and
    i’m about
    uh i’m probably 10 or 15 percent higher
    just on saturday and sunday alone
    than i would be monday through friday
    yeah so
    yeah so i’m just picking attendant on
    when we’re
    on saturday and sunday right and we’re
    not doing processing very much
    commercial on those days
    right yeah so at the end of every
    podcast episode it might kind of like
    wrap up
    i try to pick one tangible thing right
    to
    to implement and the thing that i’m
    hearing from you
    is try to get customers to not come to
    your laundromat
    because your business will grow that’s
    what i’m taking away here so far because
    you’re like
    well it’s either that or if you want
    customers to come in
    tear apart a washer where you need to
    take up an entire
    an entire um yeah an entire
    entire row yeah you’ll just they’ll
    stream in the door
    yeah i know that’s that is true actually
    it’ll
    it’s so stressful uh do you have any do
    you have any sense of how many
    pounds of service laundry you’re doing
    uh no um and i’ll tell you why
    because we are we are split
    we used to and i and this is again
    learning things the hard way
    i was always trying to compare myself to
    a linen service early on
    and i never got to understand early on
    how to
    sell pounds instead of pieces hmm
    our business and this was i visited with
    dave men’s a few years ago
    and i just got it in my head i’m like i
    have got to make a shift
    from counting pieces of laundry
    to pounds and we still have a couple of
    big accounts that are by the piece
    but honestly the shift to doing pounds
    was fantastic for us
    i i don’t i honestly don’t know i could
    probably add it up and get
    and get a good idea but it’s not
    something i keep track of
    i look at dollars what did you what did
    you like about
    the shift to pounds over pieces just
    quicker and easier
    yeah quicker and easier from a process
    perspective
    from a marketing perspective to my
    from an ongoing marketing perspective
    it’s pretty hard for
    a big leading company to come in and
    sell one of my commercial customers
    because
    they have no way to know what
    we’re doing versus in comparison with
    someone else
    when i go to sell a company sometimes
    it’s a little bit harder if they’re
    trying to pull out an invoice
    and they say well this company only
    charges me like 40 cents a sheet
    that’s all i’m paying i’m like yeah but
    look down here
    service charge service charge service
    charge service charge total tax
    oh by the way are you getting 150 sheets
    delivered to you every time
    because it looks like you got like 400
    additional sheets here that you’re not
    using
    so once you kind of break that down
    anyway i’m going off on the tangent but
    yeah no
    i mean it makes sense and i i think most
    people are doing by the pound anyways
    but i was just curious as to
    you know most operators are but but when
    you’re in the service business they’re
    they’re going by the piece by the piece
    kind of they’re obscuring what the
    totals are
    yeah okay yeah well i mean it seems to
    make more sense for the customer too
    a little bit more transparent to go by
    the pounds
    well our biggest value proposition to a
    small
    uh mom-and-pop business especially that
    are that are
    you know medium linen usage is
    one if you own your own linen it’s
    i like to transfer that risk to them
    that’s number one
    but number two i let them take advantage
    of
    what i would call the float if or or the
    the ups and downs of their need
    whereas when i lease or when a big
    company leases linen they’re just
    charging you a flat
    inventory level so for most small
    businesses the benefit is for them
    you know one week they’ve got to employ
    let’s say massage therapists one week
    they’ve got two employees
    the next week they might have one and a
    half
    they have enough linen to do what they
    need but they only have to pay for what
    they use
    and so that’s that’s been a really easy
    sell for me
    long term yeah smart yep
    are you um on the self-serve
    side are you keeping an attendant there
    full time or do you not really have to
    do that because
    you have other people there we started
    that way
    and then when our service business
    wasn’t as big we
    cut hours they would leave at like five
    o’clock
    and then we would have problems from
    five to ten
    so much so that we got a security
    company to come and close up the
    building because i got sick of doing it
    um we have automated locks and that kind
    of stuff
    covid i actually cut our hours from 10
    pm close to 8 at 8 pm close
    and we have something somebody from open
    to close
    except for the hours of 6 8 or sorry
    7 30 a.m to 10 p.m on or 10 a.m on the
    weekends
    so we still have a minor portion of
    unattended but
    honestly i i like the fully attended
    model there’s just less
    problems yeah so yeah as someone with
    one of each
    i can i can vouch for that for sure
    um in fact if you want an unattended one
    in southern california
    i might be open to just giving it to you
    i’m just saying think about it
    i’m just kidding uh are
    are you doing just coin are you doing
    card on the self service
    just cause coin yeah yeah ours isn’t big
    enough
    i think if i were to build one i’d and i
    were to attend it full time i would
    definitely do a card
    yeah yeah i think so too
    uh how many hours a week do you think
    you’re working on your business
    if it’s not projects it’s probably 20.
    if there’s projects well i’d probably be
    honest
    probably 15 if there’s no projects if
    there’s projects i’m probably up to
    you know up to 40. yeah cool that’s
    yeah that’s pretty awesome it’s pretty
    awesome to have a business
    you know the size and caliber of yours
    and
    you know i have to put in 40 hours when
    something’s going on and otherwise
    you’re doing half that or less
    that’s pretty awesome well you know the
    other thing too is with our
    managers and team members i i’m not a
    big fan of overtime
    especially in the especially in the
    processing end because people’s
    you know after about six and a half
    hours it’s a hard job they’re standing
    on their feet
    all day and they’re just not as
    productive
    after you know six and a half seven
    hours so
    you know i try even with our managers
    who don’t do as much
    laundry obviously they got flat other
    tasks to do um
    i really frown on overtime unless we
    need it
    because i i don’t want us to be pushing
    that edge all the time
    i’d like us if we got a big week to be
    able to flex into it
    rather than doing that so yeah again
    that’s that’s
    smart yep well we got another section
    called
    secret sauce listen up it’s the secret
    sauce
    secret sauce is what advice could you
    give to
    current laundromat owners um maybe
    something that’s working well for you
    that they could implement into their
    businesses
    to help grow their businesses uh
    i’ll tell you what happened in arts um
    team growth and hiring of team members
    so not only realizing that you create
    have a value that you provide value to a
    team member that you hire
    but finding the team members that fit
    not only the values you have but the
    values you want
    and so i ran across a book by patrick
    lincione
    called the ideal team player
    and the gist of it is is that you’re
    and it’s a great story it’s an easy read
    he’s got some resources online as well
    where
    you’re basically looking for a team
    member that’s humble hungry and smart
    and it doesn’t mean i don’t mean smart
    and rocket science
    and humble meaning they can take some
    constructive criticism or they’re not
    they don’t
    need to be top person all the time
    and they’re hungry they like they want
    to work there
    are questions and a way to do an
    interview process
    to come to that person and
    that type of team member and so that was
    that was a huge shift in our business
    when we implemented that about
    four years ago and so you know we had to
    turn over a bunch of team members when
    we started hiring
    those those kind of people because they
    only want to work with people that are
    humble hungry and smart
    yeah yeah that’s that’s huge well first
    of all
    i’ll link to that book i feel like we’re
    giving people a lot of homework
    uh in this episode but you got a lot of
    books to buy
    you got a board game to buy and you i
    mean there’s
    there’s a lot of things you guys need to
    do out there so well
    it’s an mba course right right oh i mean
    like that that’s what your business is
    is your mba it’s life you got to
    constantly be learning
    that’s it hey you want if you want to be
    as successful as kent you got to get on
    his level so get these books
    i got i got to give you another one
    though because and and i got to put the
    shout out i mentioned
    dave a couple of times but there have
    been
    no less than a dozen
    to 15 people in this industry
    who have helped me from where i’ve where
    i’ve
    come from and helped me learn
    you know i’m not shy so i would pick up
    a phone and i would call
    and hey would you help me what about
    this what about this what about this you
    know
    try not to annoy anybody or go overboard
    but i’ve had
    so much help a lot of it came from
    people i met at cla events
    some of my best friends are in this
    business now
    because of the kind of helping each
    other
    we’re not in direct competition you know
    there’s definitely some camaraderie
    between business owners
    and i i would say my other secret sauce
    is
    to definitely reach out to owners and
    how can they help because they will
    people want to be helpful
    yeah yeah i think that’s huge and
    i think i mean
    honestly it’s a big part of the reason
    that i started the podcast is because i
    wanted to meet
    people like you who are going to help me
    and improve what i’m doing
    and and be able to help other people too
    but you know
    mostly me no but seriously
    uh it’s been it’s been awesome for me to
    just get to talk to so many
    just incredible people human beings
    uh or you know as our our t-shirt
    is gonna say so many good bosses so many
    good owners so many good people
    uh yes you know but i think that’s huge
    it’s why
    you know it’s a big part of why i’m
    doing what i’m doing and trying to get
    get people to collaborate as much as
    possible you know it’s why i’m bringing
    people like you on the podcast it’s why
    we have a forum on on laundry resource
    it’s why
    you know i’m working with some people
    who are going to start
    you know putting some more stuff out
    there um
    you know to people just sharing and that
    camaraderie together but i think that
    you’re right and nothing
    beats reaching out to
    you know people like you and people like
    dave and people like
    some of these other guests or just other
    top owners out there
    jeff jeff gardner is a great uh he’s
    been involved in the cla
    start helped start and laundry cares
    man that most of what i learned uh
    between him and myself guy
    about opl equipment and so i mean that’s
    why we have a quality product today was
    because of
    him being willing to share that
    knowledge with me and i mean i really
    appreciate that
    yeah yeah and you know what’s kind of
    cool about that
    too is you know you i mean like you said
    you like to learn things the hard way
    you know that’s i mean that’s kind of my
    story too right learning things the hard
    way
    but people smarter than us don’t have to
    learn things the hard way
    if we go if they go and talk to people
    like you who’ve already learned the hard
    way and they can learn from your hard
    way of learning right you can shortcut a
    lot of that stuff
    if you get connected with the right
    people who can help guide you
    you know into success man
    so that’s great secret sauce
    amazing stuff we got another section
    called pro tips
    pro tips pro tips is for
    the newbie what would you tell yourself
    you know 15 years ago or the new person
    trying to buy their first laundromat
    what’s what’s a good piece of advice you
    give them
    ooh that’s a really good one thank you
    um i thought that one myself i like that
    yeah thanks
    let me just say let me just suck to kind
    of i should have written a
    i should have written an answer to this
    um
    you know never give up on yourself
    that’s probably
    the that’s number one on the pro tip
    number two
    um none of this is new
    i don’t care it may be things
    things that you need to grow your
    business right now may not be available
    in
    our industry but they’re
    really i mean in humanity there’s
    nothing new we’ve done we’re just
    we’re regurgitating and putting
    you know new window dressing on things
    and concepts that have been around
    forever
    you know you talked about the richest
    man in babylon i mean that’s a
    fable that came from like what i can’t
    remember like
    a long time ago forever yeah so
    so look for those uh synergies look for
    those
    um talk to your friends that are in
    business be in
    other business groups and find the
    things
    in your specific way as a new person
    that you’re going to kind of
    layer these things together to create a
    great business i mean you gotta have a
    good foundation there’s no
    no doubt about it you know you gotta
    have hopefully a little bit of capital
    when you start
    bootstrapping don’t don’t gosh don’t do
    what i did
    i mean i know that there’s a lot of
    stories like that and people grew things
    from nothing but
    um and i had a little bit of help but i
    i would definitely say
    you know just look out even outside our
    industry and keep learning because
    there’s something that’s gonna help be
    the secret sauce for your
    for your your business your neighborhood
    your laundromat your service business
    mm-hmm yeah that that’s great advice and
    uh i mean i wrote down
    both of those like never give up on
    yourself
    and none of this is new like that’s
    yeah it’s like it’s like simple but it’s
    just genius you know and i’m starting to
    think
    that maybe your wife married up also
    somehow i don’t know i’m i’m trying to
    figure out how that works out but
    i think maybe i don’t know okay
    uh we got another section called
    recommended resources which
    is kind of what it says do you have any
    resources you recommend
    to help us grow our businesses or
    ourselves
    yeah i i mean number one i’m a i’m a big
    proponent of the cla
    they’ve done a lot of good things over
    the years i mean there’s a lot
    there there’s almost sometimes too much
    information when you’re getting started
    but i i think they were you know
    instrumental for me and getting started
    um growing yourself there’s a couple of
    things that have been super helpful for
    me personally are the the
    mustachian movement uh mr money mustache
    yeah he’s a popular blogger but it kind
    of fits into my
    realm in life about minimalism some
    what frugality but also like
    what what what kind of things give you
    the most return
    you know whether that’s emotionally
    physically you know
    monetarily on your time and effort
    because the one thing we all
    we all have the same amount of
    in a day is time and we never know when
    it’s over
    but but a lot of times i think we try to
    get i think we
    we try to either do too much or really
    realize maybe
    you know hey gosh i got to be over here
    and i’m not there yet and you’re beating
    yourself up about that
    you know sometimes less is more not only
    in business
    but in personal life so yeah yeah and
    i’ll link to
    both of those things cla uh which is an
    awesome resource and also
    i’ll link to mr money mustache’s the
    article that kind of put him on the map
    so he’s big if you’re not familiar with
    him he’s big into the
    the fire movement which is financial
    independence return retire early
    that big movement and a lot of that
    simplicity
    comes through that and you know one of
    the concepts behind it is
    you know that if you know
    if you simplify your life you don’t need
    as much money
    to retire early essentially but the the
    the article that really put him on the
    map
    made him kind of blow up was he wrote an
    article that
    basically said here’s how to know how
    much money
    you need to retire at what age from
    where you’re at now here’s how much you
    need to save
    um and it i think it had an almost
    kiyosaki-esque
    aha moment for a lot of people where
    they’re like okay well that puts a
    number now i have a goal to shoot for
    i’m
    this age i want to retire at this age
    here’s how much money i have to save
    to be able to get there and uh yeah i
    think it’s called like the shockingly
    simple math
    of retirement or something like that
    it’s 20 25 times your yearly expenses is
    how much money you need
    in the bank and it’s a rough rule right
    four percent
    withdrawal rate that gives you the four
    percent withdrawal rate for the rest of
    your life
    right and you know so that’s two things
    right you can
    earn more money but also if you look at
    what you’re spending and as business
    owners if
    you should be fairly we should be really
    good at that right if we just apply that
    a little
    bit to our personal lives too like if
    you’re
    spending less every month or you get to
    where you’re comfortable and you get the
    most value i mean
    a lot of people talk about value you get
    the most value out of that
    you don’t need as much yeah
    yeah yeah and i do like the concept
    behind
    uh behind it all which is i mean it
    basically says
    you know figure out what’s really
    bringing value to your life
    and the things that you’re spending your
    time and money on that don’t bring value
    to your life
    right and cut those things out and focus
    your
    time and focus the money that you do
    spend on the things that
    are bringing joy and value to your life
    and get rid of the rest and
    yeah i think when you do that you find
    out there’s a lot of things
    like here’s a good example like when
    when you move
    and and this is like i just moved
    right like in last year in august i just
    moved and there are still boxes
    in my garage that i have not touched and
    you know that’s a great example of
    probably pretty much everything in those
    boxes
    are things that don’t really add any
    value to my life that at one point or
    another i spent money on and probably
    shouldn’t have
    right and so that’s a good kind of
    if you move what aren’t you gonna what
    aren’t you gonna need
    you know so yeah anyways awesome awesome
    resource
    so there’s a couple there’s a couple of
    uh facebook groups
    mustachians and practice is one and if
    you just
    if you just search in the search field
    and facebook mustachions
    spelled like mustaches because i don’t
    know how to spell it so
    um you’ll you’ll come up with a couple
    of different ones and there’s
    you know there’s some such just like the
    forums such
    super smart people that are thinking
    about this stuff all the time so
    just little tidbits to get during the
    day and i really or during some of the
    weeks
    i really like this yeah pretty cool
    that’s a good uh nobody’s ever brought
    that that recommended resource that’s a
    good one i like that
    and i think it a lot of people resonate
    with it because i think a lot of people
    are trying to get out of that rat race
    and don’t really know how and this kind
    of puts a little bit of a
    concrete spin on you know here’s here’s
    what you need to do if you want to
    retire early
    or if you just want to stop doing what
    you are doing
    as a job you know this is what you need
    to do
    and you know whether that’s making more
    to get there or making more and spending
    less to get there whatever you got to do
    here’s what you got to do and it makes
    it very simple so awesome resource
    and the philosophy behind it too super
    good okay uh
    man this has been killer there’s so
    i have like a full page and a half of
    notes i’ve written down one two three
    four five six seven quotes
    from you uh my goodness i’m um so you’re
    about to get quoted all over the place
    uh just and obviously we’ve given
    people a ton of homework there’s like
    seven or eight
    books here there’s a board game there’s
    uh
    the coin laundry’s there there’s a blog
    with mr money mustache there’s facebook
    groups people got to join
    there’s a lot of things that you got to
    do here but i want to just encourage
    everybody
    man there’s a lot i mean there’s a ton
    to take home from this but but pick at
    least one thing and actually do it
    right if it’s buying one of the books
    buy a book if it’s
    getting on a facebook group get on a
    facebook group whatever it is like
    pick something there’s so much to pick
    from um
    from the things that can if it’s and and
    maybe i might encourage you
    actually to pick this one thing if
    you’re not sure what to pick
    send kent wales an email and just
    ask him a question but if people do want
    to ask you a question
    what’s the best way they can get a hold
    of you yeah so you can
    you can email me at uh my work email
    address kent kent
    at happy hyphen laundry.com
    so cool and i’ll put that in the show
    notes too
    we’re at happylaundry.com is our is our
    business website address
    um so is it happy hyphen
    laundry dot com yeah yeah either one i
    finally bought the dome i finally
    i finally leveled up and bought the
    domain name that was painful
    uh somebody somebody was parking it huh
    yeah yeah it was parked for a number of
    years and when we did it
    i think i think originally they wanted
    like five grand for it and i’m like
    i’m not spending five grand for the
    domain name
    eventually it came down to like uh
    sixteen hundred bucks
    so yeah eventually yeah sometimes you
    gotta just pull the trigger
    but five grand yeah that’s a little
    steep
    yeah so all right so if you’re gonna
    pick something you know pick something
    grab a book or whatever but also
    shoot kent an email and thank him for
    sharing all this wisdom ken thank you
    for sharing everything that you’ve
    shared here uh you know
    shared a ton of resources but you just
    i think even more importantly the way
    that you
    look at your business the way that you
    approach your business the way that you
    operate your business and the model
    you’re setting for your employees
    uh that is just i mean it comes through
    as like
    no wonder you’re doing as well as you’re
    doing and and no wonder you’re going to
    continue to grow because
    i think you have that nailed i’m sure
    you know like everybody there’s
    there’s tons of growth to be had you
    know we can always grow if you’re not
    growing you’re dying
    but yeah man i mean you’re you’re in a
    good spot man and
    very very inspiring episode and cannot
    wait for everybody to hear this so thank
    you again for coming on and agreeing to
    spend your time doing this with us it’s
    awesome
    anytime thank you sir all right man well
    we’ll have to have you back on
    so we can get an update to see what you
    end up doing with your
    if you’re if you buy a build out and
    build out a separate spot or what
    i don’t know if you just keep trying to
    kick your self-service customers out and
    i don’t know man i’m kind of curious
    what happens there so
    nice all right man we’ll talk to you
    again soon
    all right i know that if you’ve made it
    this far
    you are smarter than you were before you
    started this show
    i just you know that was just such a
    cool episode kent
    amazing amazing stuff he’s got a really
    cool business going
    and it’s growing it’s man it’s just
    really cool to
    uh to get to talk to somebody like that
    i feel super privileged and super
    honored
    every single week i encourage you pick
    one thing that you want to put into
    practice
    one thing that you can implement action
    right action paves the way to success so
    pick one thing that you can put into
    action no matter where you’re at in your
    laundromat journey
    and put it into practice this week for
    me
    the thing that really stood out to me
    and this is something that i admittedly
    have struggled with
    uh from the get-go and what i one of the
    things he said is this is a really small
    little like minute detail that uh in the
    grand scheme of things
    uh just it was just a little blip in the
    in the podcast
    but it really uh stuck out to me and he
    said that
    he increases his prices two times per
    year and for me increasing prices is
    always like a sticky
    subject for me i just i don’t know if
    it’s i just don’t have the confidence to
    just do it like some of these other
    owners
    are just like hey here’s the value that
    i give
    here’s the price i’m gonna charge
    because it’s that valuable right and i
    just i don’t know if i have a hard time
    with that personally or what my issue is
    i got some mental block or something
    but i love that he just said hey two
    times a year
    i’m i’m analyzing my prices and i’m
    looking to increase
    somewhere uh two times a year and i like
    having that
    schedule almost to kind of keep me
    accountable
    for um keeping my prices where they
    should be
    so i’m definitely putting that into
    practice i’m gonna put it in the
    calendar
    and because my calendar rules my life
    and uh
    and i’m gonna start implementing that so
    whatever yours is i would love to hear
    about it
    man go drop a note in the forums and
    talk about you know what you’re putting
    into action over there i know that that
    would inspire
    encourage a lot of other people who are
    over there in the forums to see what
    action you’re taking and inspire them to
    take action
    that’s how we’re all going to be more
    successful by taking more
    action all right hope you guys love this
    thing if you did love it
    if you haven’t done this before wherever
    you’re listening whether that’s on
    a podcast app or on youtube or whatever
    if you could just give me a rating a
    review
    a subscribe that would just help
    everything that we’re doing over here i
    don’t say that very often i should say
    that more and i probably should say that
    in the beginning
    when most of you are listening and
    there’s only like four of you probably
    listening now
    but those four of you hey go give me a
    little rating review that’d be awesome
    and help me out all right guys
    we’ll see you next week on the
    laundromat resource podcast
    this is jordan peace
    [Music]

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