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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