Entrepreneurship can be difficult. And it can be lonely. It often feels like you’re on a roller coaster of ups and downs, highs and lows. How do we, as laundromat owners, navigate the ups and downs of this wild ride?

Today I have a conversation with Rick Rome about how to navigate those ups and downs. We hope this is encouraging for you wherever you’re at on your entrepreneurship journey.

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Read the Transcript here:

what’s up guys this is jordan with the
laundromat resource
podcast show number 49. i’m pumped
you’re here
today we’re doing something a little
different i think you’re going to enjoy
it we’re going to talk about the ups and
downs of being
an entrepreneur being a laundromat owner
with rick rome and it’s a really good
conversation we have a lot of fun
and hopefully it’s really encouraging to
those of you guys who’ve been struggling
with the ups and downs of
entrepreneurship because it’s a tough
tough journey
so let’s jump into it in a second but i
just want to encourage you and remind
get over there on the forums uh lottery
forums be meeting each other mingling
answering a question
uh asking questions it’s man it’s just a
great place to come
and hang out and uh get to know this
industry and get to know each other
there’s a lot of good
conversations happening over there so
come be a part of it
forums alright let’s jump into it with
rick rome
on this episode of the laundromat
resource podcast
how’s it going rick what’s up jordan
i’m good man it’s uh another day in
heaven i guess
another day in heaven well it is like 75
here it’s beautiful the sun is shining
i just raked a whole bunch of leaves
with the parka and gloves
on uh i had hot glove warmers on and uh
you know what though fresh air
yeah you know i’m feeling a little
sweaty right now over here actually so
uh dude i let’s jump into this man i’m
excited about
uh we talked a little bit let’s we want
to talk about kind of the ups and downs
of being in
business being a laundromat yeah
it’s it’s holiday season which is great
and also horrible in terms of stress
yeah and uh i thought it’d be a good
idea that we talk about
you know what are we what are we feeling
you know i’m i i’m certain it’s not
unique to me or to you
about the our ups and downs and what’s
going on and
how do we uh continue uh you know
marching forward you know
yeah and i think that’s a big part of
just being a business owner in general
that there’s just
ups and downs and you know i think
weathering those ups and downs are a big
part of being able to be successful at
business because
you know if you let those down to get
you down uh
you’re done right like you can’t you
can’t keep going
so no you can’t and on that note
actually i’m going to say something
i usually don’t plug the cla at all but
what i would tell you is i did receive
an email from them
anyone who got that ppp send a note to
your senator
your congressman congresswoman and let
him know that
you shouldn’t have to pay taxes on a uh
loan that was forgiven okay so that
would be another real
massive bummer to small business owners
as if we haven’t gone through enough
crap uh over the last 10 months
so go do that guys everyone they sent
out a link go to their website
check it out and send in they even give
you a sample letter
uh on what to send in uh to your senator
or congressman
congresswoman yeah huge i mean i knew
stuff like this was going to happen
the government tries to get involved
with stuff things get a lot more
inexpensive than anticipated so i just
you know it never ceases to amaze me but
yeah go do that
and you know we got to stand together
you know that’s the only way we’re going
to have any say or any power so
no no no doubt but look let’s also be
fair let’s play devil’s
advocate if you got a you know 50 000
loan and now
that got forgiven but you have to pay
you know 30
or whatever the tax rate is on that yes
that still stinks but that’s 70
using that example that you got forgiven
at the end of the day i know it was all
used to pay uh for people’s uh
salaries and employees and all that jazz
and for that purposes i think it should
um uh forgotten frankly
okay you know no doubt about it but at
the end of the day
uh you know free money is good money
yep take what you get man with that
being said man
talk let’s talk about holiday blooms you
um you know i i get i get in the funk
around this time i go into sticker shock
how much money i spent uh initially
right you don’t look at your credit card
until you get that bill or
you you think about it periodically and
then you’re like i’m going to
put my head in the sand and how it’s
going to affect your business
and you’re like oh my god i overspend on
x y and z
um look at the end of the day i i would
i would tell you don’t cut back on your
on your advertising or marketing because
uh you you have a bigger debt burden to
pay off
uh and frank frankly i would tell you to
accelerate that because that’s going to
drive more sales
which in turn will drive more profit
which in turn will allow you to pay down
that service so thinking of you know
your marketing budget from let’s just
say a thousand dollars a month
to 500 a month to offset your increased
credit card bill
okay that’s not bad thinking but
you have to think about what’s the roi
so if you’re if you’re being charged i
don’t know let’s say
12 on your credit card and your return
your roi on your advertising budget is
well i mean guys it’s a no-brainer right
go with the advertising it’s getting a
better return
the discipline that you need to follow
is now that you’ve you’ve gotten a bit
more profit
can you take that money that that added
profit that you use to pay down your
debt burden
that is the real question you know going
back to your government
that you know we get more tax dollars
what do we do we reduce our deficit
uh our budget uh no we spend more money
but that’s we’re not going to get
political here
my point is stay strong but be
disciplined guys
and and also know you know have empathy
for your for perhaps your your
not only your staff but your potential
clients maybe
for instance you do a holiday special
you know what instead of charging 250
for a small washer
maybe you do it two and a quarter
there’s also karma i believe in karma
some people might not and that’s fine so
stick to the 250.
but at the end of the day you know i
would tell you that
goodwill is always great it always
it always boosts you and 90 of
everything we do in this world is mental
so be mentally strong and know that it
isn’t just affecting you the business
but also your customer and everybody
else that you deal with
yeah it’s an awesome time to build
goodwill and to
really breed loyalty to you and to your
by yeah i think you mentioned empathy
and i think
i think empathy is a is a superpower
actually i think it’s a bad name but i
think it’s a super power
and i think that using empathy by you
know putting yourself in your customers
and realizing hey you know they’re going
to be
feeling that crunch too that financial
crunch how can i
you know build some good will how can i
uh you know breed
loyalty towards my business my company
my services
by you know maybe just lifting that
financial burden off of them a little
and and i also i love what you were
talking about
in terms of cutting marketing you know
budget and that kind of thing because i
think that that
does tend to be one of the first things
to go but that expense
unlike most of our expenses is actually
an investment in your business
right and so yeah so when you cut that
you’re cutting your income potential um
assuming that you’re doing your
well and it’s actually bringing you more
business than you’re spending
um which is another you know story
another topic well
listen i made the assumption that you
know you
you should know that for you know every
dollar out what’s the dollar
in right i mean we read all over the
place on all these
uh media sites of the blog sites
facebook whatever about
hey you know how much you use the
uh as a percentage of sales and you know
all you know how long is the dry time
and where do you get good parts at a
better rate
i mean you guys have a thumb on that why
in the world wouldn’t you have a thumb
on your marketing as well
i mean that makes no sense to me i mean
is it just a
is it just a duck and a prayer that you
hope that it sticks
no it should never be that way i think
you got to go out there and you have to
and you have to track and guess what
it’s not easy
so you know i would tell you focus
focus and refocus uh because
if the new year’s around the corner
right start thinking about
what you what your goals are right and
going you know full circle if it’s debt
debt reduction
because you overspent on a personal
level on on holidays
um well listen the obvious answer is oh
i’m going to raise the prices on my
washing machines
and that’ll that’ll get me back to whole
well it
it might but there’s a very good chance
you’re gonna turn people off
right i never understood and i don’t
necessarily agree with the philosophy of
oh i’m not my revenues are down so i’m
gonna raise my fight
i i don’t get that i really don’t
understand that
i’m not telling you to lower your prices
because your revenues are down that’s
why you want to raise your prices so you
get more income
no i don’t think that i don’t i don’t
believe in that i i you’re not selling
i mean if you were louis vuitton and
your average
sale price was uh of a an item was
five thousand dollars and you went to
five thousand
five hundred dollars yes those people
aren’t going to notice not one iota i
agree with you
but when you raise your washing machine
and the people who are very desperate
right now
uh and and you as you all know don’t
they’ll leave for 25 cents
craziness and sounds you know think
about that
just think about that so again i don’t
know if the right answer is
to discount to drive more but
i would certainly not raise my prices
because of the fact that my revenues are
down i think you have to look at
yourself and look at how you’re
are you overspending on let’s say
ancillary thing
so you know what you started hiring
somebody to come in and mop
and sweep the floor uh four days a week
and that’s costing you an extra 150
a week well maybe for that next month
you should bag that person
and do that yourself right that’s a much
solution in my book then taking your
advertising budget from
a thousand dollars a month to 500 a
especially if it’s returning a 22 return
on investment versus whatever you do
with the excess free cash to reduce your
at a 12 margin or even a 15 margin
any any point that’s less than 22 is a
losing solution for you it’s not a good
yeah and i think i i mean i think you’re
dead on it i think instead of
focusing on you know cutting back that
marketing expense you should or raising
your prices
uh either or because i agree with you i
think those are both
bad philosophies um focus on how you can
provide more value to your customers
that’s how you’re going to get your
business up right is provide more value
for your customers
uh for what they get you know and
especially in comparison to their other
options whether it be another laundromat
or their apartment complex or even their
you know laundry how can you make their
experience better how can you
give them more you know and i i love the
business philosophy and i try to do this
in in everything that i do
but to give more than more value than
what’s being paid for right if
somebody’s paying me you know five
dollars to wash a load of laundry well
i’m trying to give them
more than that five dollars worth of
yeah i don’t know i agree with you i
don’t know if you can hear me but you’re
breaking up there for a minute
does it break it off yeah yeah but it’s
okay uh you know stop with the dsl give
us the good stuff
i told you it’s windy overall right now
i i agree with you i think that acts of
kindness or just
just good old-fashioned respect
regardless if they give you respect
that’s not the point you should always
give people respect at least initially
uh and if they’re not giving you respect
you have a choice you can say something
which i
generally would not do to a customer i
would just say thank you and walk away
at first
but you know and that good will that you
just built
if they if they aren’t a appreciative
person which generally people are
it just builds good quality uh a
lifetime value right it just increases
the lifetime value
of that specific customer like oh wow
you know what
the quarter got jammed in the machine
it’s not drying i went to the attendant
the attendant said
sure no problem not only did they give
him the quarter that got jammed in the
machine but you know what
they threw in an extra quarter i
guarantee you that’ll come back
in ten ten times the amount of money
no doubt about it no doubt about it yeah
so anyway
hey listen i got an email from phil
okay and he asked the question about
what else do you do
when you’re you’re we’ll say your
your laundry neighbor is is is dying off
he comes to you and asks you
if you want apartment you know let’s
let’s divide and conquer
you know is that a good solution is it a
bad solution
is it you know is it times of trouble uh
you know what is your opinion on
partnering with
your closest physical competitor um
in regards to uh uh you know owning the
market so to say
yeah i mean i guess i
what does that mean exactly how in what
way would you partner
uh with that what yeah
i suppose it meant i suppose it meant
you guys have unified pricing
uh i guess unified messaging um
i can’t imagine it means unified service
because each are different
um i that’s what i that’s what i
yeah i guess my my initial reaction
would be
i need to i need to take a second and
figure out
is this good for me and my business and
if so how is it good for
my business and i mean i initially have
a hesitation of partnering with somebody
ship is sinking right like i i don’t
necessarily want to go down with their
ship right it’s like uh when you’re when
you’re rescuing somebody who’s drowning
you know you you don’t want them to pull
you down
too if you’re trying to rescue them
right so you
do what you got to do to save them
you know without you drowning also so
i mean if somebody’s coming to me and
saying hey my business is rough let’s
partner together
to try to you know recoup the business
my initial reaction is
okay hold on do i want to partner with a
sinking ship
and number two is there you know
is there a scenario where this could
work out and
my initial reaction is probably not but
you know i’m always open to
being creative and thinking about it but
take some equity right take some equity
in the in the sinking shift potentially
if it sinks not the end of the world i
guess you could sell it for less and get
a little piece of it
um i guess maybe his philosophy was
you know high tide raises all boats i i
i don’t know i’m just reading
an email uh that came in about it asking
the question
so yeah i figured you know i i throw it
out there
i mean i got we got a couple others in
here we can we can nail
uh i got another one asking me about
what type of insurance
you know what type of insurance do you
have for your business
and i’ll lead off with that one stating
i think it depends on the state you live
in i mean
that’s a given i’m not going to go out
on a limb by any stretch and tell you
i’m an insurance guy that knows the
different policies and the different
and what’s uh allowed or not allowed but
what i would tell you that you absolute
what i have i have i have obviously
uh workers comp insurance i have um
theft uh fire uh you know general
liability insurance in case someone
slips on the banana peel
um and then what else i do to support
and make sure i’m protected right it’s
one thing to have the insurance which is
right um but having a video camera
or cameras in the facility uh
allows you to protect yourself to say
yeah look at the guy he said he slipped
on a banana peel look at the banana feel
he didn’t slip on any van amp he just
got to lie down on the floor and said oh
right so you know having those types of
and we’ll say um uh
safeties safety nets uh or backups to
existing insurance again no one wants to
have to
you know spend the money to do that but
what’s the value
if someone uh has an accident and now
you know you have to sell your laundry
or pay a hefty fine for
right or your insurance dropped you uh
and and now you have a black mark so to
uh on your business so when you’re
trying to get general liability
insurance again
are you gonna have a uh you’re gonna
have to pay a lot more money because of
payout and the answer at least in new
york is yes
yeah yeah and i would say i mean again
it’s it’s so dependent on
not only just the state you’re in but
also your particular business
how you run your business unattended is
going to be different from attended
you know a lot of insurance is going to
require you to have cameras
um you know i think and i like your
comment about preventative measures like
the camera but also like
you know keeping your store clean and
dry so people aren’t going to slip
and you know all those things are
important but here’s what i would
recommend if you’re looking for
is start calling insurance agents figure
out what they recommend
and i would call multiple agents and say
hey i’m
you know i have a laundromat what
insurance do you recommend that i have
how much is that going to be
and compare policies and prices because
it’s not only
prices that’s important you know a lot
of times we get fixated on oh well this
insurance is
200 a month and this insurance is 500 a
month so i’m gonna go with the 200
a month insurance well maybe
but maybe you’re not being covered in
ways that you need to be covered
with that 200 a month insurance policy
and the other thing is
it with insurance this is not just
business insurance this is
car insurance you know home insurance
any of those things
my kind of philosophy is those discount
insurance agents
are not the ones that you want to have
in your corner
generally speaking when something goes
because their their goal is going to be
first figure out how to not pay out and
that’s what i’ve seen over and over and
over again
whereas if you get a quality insurance
company that’s giving you a quality
insurance product
when something goes wrong they’re going
to be in your corner
and when you own a business like a
if something goes wrong where you’re
going to need insurance something has
gone wrong and you need somebody
in your corner and you need somebody to
be backing you up
so yes compare prices but also compare
those policies
and the customer service well here’s
another thing to think about right one
thing i do i do it on my
on my vehicle then i do it on my general
liability is
i jack up my my uh deductible
well general liability there are no real
deductibles at least none that i
know of but uh because i’ve never
had to use it but at the end of the day
i’m okay like on my trucks i go for i
think it’s
i’m at a two thousand dollar deductible
at the end of the day if i if i hit
and i have to pay for it generally it’s
going to cost less than two thousand
dollars to fix
and more importantly it’s not going to
go through in my insurance company
so my premiums aren’t going to go higher
so i i take that risk uh i guess on the
first two thousand dollars
uh which helps me uh lower my premium
so it allows me to get better coverage
if you’re one of those guys that says
200 versus 500. uh boy would that be a
horrible mistake to make
and then it turns out you owe someone
like 40 000
and all you saved was 800 over the life
of the
policy and now you got a 40 000 building
i mean that would just be
horrendous yeah and it happens too and
you know insurance is a tricky one and
that’s why i
highly recommend because it’s so complex
there’s so many different policies
there’s so many different
things you can add on to it and you
don’t want to be oversold but you also
don’t want to be undersold
right and so that’s why i highly
recommend talk to multiple insurance
agents from different companies
see what they recommend compare those
policies compare the prices
you know even get some recommendations
from you know maybe the top two or three
that you
like and find out how their you know
customer service is how is it when
things actually do go wrong are they
going to be a huge pain to work with
or are you know are they going to be
you know are they in your corner i got
one for you
i i this one’s from me to you question
first of all before i ask
before i ask you are you familiar with
bill.com or quickbooks and things like
that yeah
yeah so i am migrating
into a build.com uh and then i’m gonna
the api to have it go directly into my
okay and some may say well why would you
do that
well in my opinion why i think and my
question will be to you is
do you use that in in if so what you
like about it but what i want to say is
i like the automation i like
um the fact that it helps me lower my
controller costs right i don’t have to
pay as much out to my controller now
uh to sort of say reconcile um
my book so i think it pays for its own
right in case you have
an audit or for tax at the end of the
year tax stuff
it’s all right there for you um your
vendors get paid
one two three so you have to worry about
skipping a payment
um i used to be one of those guys that
never trusted the utility company like
they always charge me more if i gave it
on automation but
i i turned a blind eye to that um and
realized that over the last four years
since i’ve automated payment on that
um they haven’t screwed me so
uh i just think that you know and and
and i want to hear your thought but i’m
gonna tie this all back into the
of what it’s like during the run of
laundry so
by all means uh what do you what do you
do for your
laundries or your broker business and
your vendors
and things like that do you use one of
those systems um
if not why not things like that yeah so
for my laundromats i’m still just using
spreadsheets i created a spreadsheet you
know a while back and
and the reason for that is i’m i’m still
mostly a self-serve
laundry i mean that’s like the majority
of my stuff and it’s it’s pretty simple
the spreadsheet i created you can
actually download it for free
the spreadsheet lawnmanresource.com go
to the resources and you can download
that spreadsheet that i use
and you know use it yourself if you want
to but um
that’s it’s just simple it’s just easy
you know
because it’s just cash coming in you
know on a weekly basis so
cash in cash out so you reconcile that
way yeah but for my other
businesses i’ve used quickbooks and
both they’re pretty similar um
and yeah i mean i i agree with you i
think that if you have
anything more complicated than
you know a set amount of cash going in
set amount of cash going out
um you know i i set up my auto bill pays
with my utilities and stuff um just
through their
their websites um but
uh yeah man i highly recommend using
something like that
um some people use accountants and uh
and that’s totally fine too
but if you’re if you’re running it
yourself or you have somebody on your
staff who can run it
man one of those quickbooks uh
freshbooks just
really really simplifies things and one
of the things i really like about it is
first of all it’s easy to give to my tax
guy right like just
click a button it prints it out nice and
and he’s got everything he needs you
know to do his thing
but you can also you just get a lot of
data that way like if you want to look
you know certain things you can run
different reports and get a lot of data
what’s happening with your money it’s
easy to keep track of
where your money is coming from where
it’s going
and uh you know when you it’s it makes
it easier to see anomalies like
you know utility company doing you know
something funny or something like that
so i i mean i think that they’re well
worth their money if you’re doing your
your finances yourself then or somebody
on your team
man i would highly recommend doing
something like that quickbooks
i i completely agree i mean if you’re
going to use a
mechanic to fix your machine why
wouldn’t you use an account to fix your
yeah right and and i guess where i’m you
know where i’m going back
to this full circle is i’m just trying
to point out the psychologies
of successful operators right what do we
think about
uh on a daily basis weekly monthly basis
and all these different um innuendoes
potential uh pitfalls that come about
um in our daily live business life right
you know i guess what i’m trying to get
at is you know
plan be prepared right i i i when i was
a wrestler in my in the in our waiting
there was a there was all these little
signs uh you know posters like
you know grab the moment and whatever
and the one that stuck with me the most
luck is when opportunity and persistence
come together i use it all the time
and you know on wall street used to say
it’s better to be lucky than good
right so luck to me means opportunity
and persistence
coming together and that’s what i’m
ultimately trying to
describe in this the show about you know
the psychology of what successful
business operators do
and what they do and their mindset on
you know the proverbial hits the
fan what do you do
well good news we are lucky because we
have we have
backups to everything so to say we know
we have our thumb on our numbers
we know what’s coming in we know what’s
going out we know where we can adjust on
the fly
we know where we can save money here and
gain some market share somewhere else
those are the things
that i think as a as a as a laundromat
whether it be small or or big you
you should have a you know a pulse uh
your thumb on the pulse
of of your of your business because it’s
to me it’s my lifeline it’s my
puts food on the table you know you know
i want to make sure that we got a nice
turkey uh for thanksgiving or or a ham
for christmas or um you know cookies for
hanukkah whatever it is that you
celebrate but right you know
that’s just that’s the purpose of why i
thought this show was important
yeah and i mean i think that’s huge and
i i think
you know successful people do tend to do
alike that you know and so i love i love
that and the other thing too
that really stood out to me is you know
it particularly with like
what i call like the whirlwind right the
whirlwind activities this is the stuff
that has to happen like you gotta keep
your books you gotta pay your bills
those things
a lot of people who kind of get stuck
and and they have problems moving
their business forward or expanding they
get caught up in that whirlwind
and they’re spending a lot of time
trying to manage their books they’re
spending a lot of time trying to make
sure their bills are getting paid and
they’re spending a lot of time on that
whereas i see all the time successful
operators not just in our
industry in our business but all over
they are
still taking care of their whirlwind
activities because those are things that
have to be done
but they’re looking for ways to minimize
their time investment in those things
so that they can spend more time on
business building activities
and i see you doing that all the time
really really well
and a lot of other top operators they
hiring people to take off you know
whirlwind activities off their plate
they’re putting systems in place they’re
using technology
all those things to help them manage the
so that they can focus more time on
business building
business expansion you know big picture
working on the business not in the
business cut
kind of thing so huge i agree man i
thought that was great well
i thought it was an awesome show good
talking bro all right man
we’ll talk to you next time


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