Brian Wallace is the long-time President and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association. He has been an advocate for the industry for nearly 30 years. He has networked with hundreds, if not thousands, of laundromat owners, traveled all over the country visiting owners and laundromats, and facilitated research on the industry to help owners better their businesses.

Brian joins us on the podcast to share what he has learned about this industry, about what it takes to be a great owner and operator, and to talk about the trajectory of the laundromat industry.

In this show, Brian and I discuss:

  • Brian’s background and how he got his position as the President and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association
  • What he has done to advocate for the laundromat industry
  • What the trajectory of the industry is
  • How technology is shaping this industry
  • Passive laundromat ownership 
  • Laundromat management companies
  • The fragmented nature of the laundromat industry
  • Tips on running a great business
  • Attendant training
  • Laundromat Marketing
  • Coin Laundry Association research
  • Networking in the laundromat industry
  • Lease negotiations
  • CLA resources
  • The Laundry Cares Foundation

And way, way more! 

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

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Brian's Bio

A leader in the industry for more than 28 years, Coin Laundry Association’s
President/CEO Brian Wallace is a popular presenter, author and advocate for laundromat owners in the U.S. and around the world. He has led more than 750 educational seminars and penned numerous articles on all things related to laundromat management.


Brian is also a passionate supporter of the LaundryCares Foundation and serves as its Executive Director. Among the LaundryCares Foundation programs are its series of Free Laundry & Literacy Days in under-resourced neighborhoods and its founding role in Laundry Literacy Coalition – an initiative to promote early childhood literacy through
America’s laundromats.

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    Episode Transcript

    hey what’s up guys it’s jordan with the
    laundromat resource podcast
    show number 52 and i am pumped
    that you are here wait are there 52
    weeks
    in a year i mean we haven’t been going
    quite a year yet but man 52 weeks a year
    is that right i think that’s right man
    that’s a big deal but i launched with
    three so
    we got two more to go for a full year
    but that’s right i started in may
    exciting stuff coming up oh my goodness
    well hey
    happy episode 52 i am pumped that you
    are here today
    not only because this is episode 52
    which seems like a big deal to me for
    some reason
    but also we have brian wallace the
    president and ceo
    of the coin laundry association joins us
    on the podcast today and we talk
    laundromats it’s
    really really interesting stuff that we
    talk about today i know you’re gonna
    love it and i know you’re gonna get a
    lot
    out of it so i cannot wait for you to
    hear about that but before we get there
    real quick i just want to say man
    there’s been a ton of stuff going on
    uh with laundromat resource lately both
    behind the scenes and also in front of
    the scenes
    is that like a thing in front of the
    scenes
    but just a couple of quick things first
    of all i want to just get back on that
    brainwashing
    uh train that i’ve been on uh for
    a lot of episodes now but get over to
    the forums ask a question answer a
    question
    there’s a lot of really awesome
    conversations happening
    in those forums over there in the
    laundromat forum in the commercial real
    estate forum
    in the repairs forum and also in the new
    member introductions forum
    again i just want to highlight i mean
    first of all welcome to all the new
    members
    we got a bunch over this last week a
    couple i just wanted to say welcome to
    is frank and jignesh i hope i’m saying
    that right
    but uh welcome to you guys i know you
    introduce yourselves over on the
    introduction forum
    one of the cool things happening over
    there on the introductions forum is that
    people
    are starting to find each other in
    similar areas
    and that’s just like by far one of the
    coolest things that i’ve been seeing so
    you know if you’re looking to connect
    with other laundromat owners or
    other people interested in buying a
    laundromat make sure you check out that
    uh new member introduction forum and see
    if there’s anybody who’s popped up in
    your area
    or if not maybe introduce yourself and
    let people know where you’re
    you know where you lay your head down
    where you’re from where you’re from is
    probably an easier way to say that
    let people know where you’re from and uh
    hey try to connect over there with
    people in your area
    super super cool makes me so jazzed that
    that’s happening over there
    um also a lot of really great
    conversations happening so go jump in
    on those one that was really interesting
    uh i think popped up this week maybe it
    was last week and i think it was this
    week
    um was how to value a laundromat that’s
    not making any money
    and i thought that was a really
    intriguing topic
    and i bet there’s going to be a lot of
    different opinions on that so
    go join that conversation some of the
    others go ask a question
    answer a question if you’re listening to
    this
    like right when it’s coming out this
    comes out every tuesday in case you
    didn’t know if if you’re listening on
    tuesday
    what is it uh april 20th
    uh or maybe early on wednesday the 21st
    make sure that you join myself and dave
    laundromat millionaire men’s we have a
    live
    q a going on we do one every single
    month so even if you’re listening to
    this
    after the fact head over to
    my youtube channel dave’s laundromat
    millionaire’s youtube channel
    and uh subscribe so that you know when
    these are coming up but i’ll also put a
    link
    in the show notes which will be at
    laundromat resource.com
    show 52 show five two um
    and if you’re on youtube i’ll also put
    it down in the description down below
    so you can click on that make sure that
    you hit that notification bell so you
    can join us for the live q a
    uh either here in april in 2021 or in
    our future ones because we do win every
    month
    um and then also just a quick little
    reminder that i do
    a free live webinar every thursday you
    can sign up at laundrymyresource.com
    there’s a forum
    right at the top that you can sign up in
    okay that was just a whole bunch of
    stuff i threw at you but i just want to
    let you know there’s a lot of cool stuff
    happening
    all this stuff is geared towards helping
    you find financial freedom through
    laundromat ownership so
    make sure you’re jumping in and being a
    part of what is going
    on and there’s more coming super excited
    about all that
    but without further ado let’s just jump
    into it with brian wallace the president
    and ceo of the coin laundry association
    i know you’re gonna love it
    all right brian thank you so much for
    coming on the show how are you doing
    today
    hey jordan everything’s great here in
    the chicago area
    it’s a little bit of a rainy day but uh
    we can always brighten it up with some
    laundry talk
    that’s right that’s right nothing says
    sunshine and warmth like
    laundry talk maybe we should talk about
    dryers to kind of just warm things up a
    little better
    i don’t know but uh i love that uh i am
    actually a this is a little known fact
    is i am a
    long long time chicago bears fan
    um i think i jumped on the bandwagon way
    back 85-86 when they won the
    super bowl and have pretty much
    regretted it ever since because i have
    not won anything since then
    but you and me you and me both uh you
    know and
    uh you know one of my brothers has
    season tickets so we’ve definitely uh
    had uh some good times uh over there uh
    tailgating and enjoying the games uh
    not often in a winning uh capacity but
    uh it’s uh nice to get out there on the
    on the lakefront and
    enjoy some football so uh i’m a
    long-suffering fan too so we’ll just
    keep uh we’ll keep at it
    i’m a cubs fan too we finally got that
    world series in 2016 so uh
    anything can happen yeah that was a big
    one for you guys
    i’m a dodger fan so i can’t you know i
    can’t sympathize with you there but
    we’ll stick with the bears and and have
    some solidarity there
    no doubt well hey i thought it would be
    awesome to just
    start this off by taking us way back in
    your life and
    and i mean i kind of want to hear the
    path and how you got to where you’re at
    now
    because you know obviously we’re in kind
    of a little bit of a niche
    industry here it’s a little bit random
    whenever i tell people
    you know that i own laundromats you know
    people are always like what that’s
    so weird that’s so random right and so
    people don’t think this industry when
    they think of
    business so i’m just i’m curious can you
    take us back and and maybe
    we’ve uh we have a story for us about
    how you ended up where you are
    sure yeah i’ll be happy to it’s uh uh
    it’s
    you know i wasn’t a young boy dreaming
    of someday being in the laundromat
    business
    i know we have some of those folks out
    there mostly the the second and third
    generation
    uh owner operators but for me i was just
    looking for a gig you know i i
    got my degree in uh corporate uh
    organizational communications and
    uh came out of school and looking for
    that first opportunity in business and
    uh you know where i’m standing here
    today cla’s headquarters
    is about i don’t know 10 miles from
    where i grew up and
    when i started to look for work i had
    heard a lot about
    you know sort of trade associations and
    nonprofits
    especially in the context of meeting uh
    communications professionals marketing
    professionals and that sort of thing so
    it was always sort of in the back of my
    mind that
    uh you know association might be a good
    place to land with my first job but
    uh sure enough i saw that’s how old i am
    jordan i saw an ad in the paper
    uh and responded to yeah
    you know so i i started my gig here
    really is my first job out of school
    as uh at that time they called the
    communications
    specialist and had a chance to be
    mentored by
    a cla’s communications director at the
    time a guy named dick torp who’s an old
    school like newspaper man like
    a northwestern university grad and was
    you know so
    one of those guys you could picture with
    a fedora in the little press pass
    in the brim of his hat and uh learned a
    lot from him uh
    about uh writing and communicating with
    folks and that was sort of the beginning
    of my laundry education
    uh it’s really to take that job here and
    that was almost 29 years ago
    29 years next month and as i got into it
    i started write for
    our magazine which at that time was the
    journal of coin laundry and dry cleaning
    is now you guys know is planet laundry
    uh wrote press releases just got engaged
    in some of the work that we did here
    as a trade association started to meet
    mentors in the business from a laundry
    education standpoint
    kind of transitioned into director
    communications
    and then i had an opportunity to get
    into
    some of the management aspects i was
    sort of the deputy executive director
    for
    a couple of years and around
    i guess would be 1999 our
    executive director uh at that time john
    vasileides who’s a great mentor to mine
    and just spoke with him
    uh just in the last week or so uh jordan
    he’s a
    lifelong laundromat business broker he’s
    probably bought and sold more
    laundromats than any person alive wow
    um and and he was um you know he was
    moving on and
    uh the board of directors here gave me a
    great opportunity as a younger guy i
    think it was 29 years old to
    take the role as president and ceo and
    so i’ve had
    you know no direct experience running a
    laundromat but
    uh you add up the 29 years and uh
    you know two and a half million miles on
    american airlines and
    uh trips all across the country and
    around the world
    not just talking about laundromats and
    best practices but more importantly
    listening
    you know visiting stores hearing from
    people that have been successful
    so i kind of see my job in part with the
    association is try to synthesize
    all that information those relationships
    what i’ve learned and
    put us in a position through the
    association to share that with all of
    you
    uh to help the industry do more and get
    better so i’ve had an incredible
    opportunity
    over this time and so it’s not a
    terribly exciting story but
    i started at the ground level and uh now
    going into my
    21st year as president ceo
    started from the bottom now you’re here
    i like it
    right at the top right at the pinnacle
    uh
    well what was it i mean i’m curious what
    was it like as a 29 year old to
    move into that role as president ceo
    of a pretty big association i mean that
    it seems like that’d be a little bit
    scary but what was it like for you
    [Music]
    huh well look yeah as you’ve probably
    found out in your
    business life you know new opportunities
    can sometimes be scary and so you have
    equal
    mixes of excitement and dread uh
    you might have that impostor syndrome
    creep into your mind
    but for me it was just really just a
    great opportunity and i
    remain incredibly grateful to our
    volunteer leadership that
    really gave me an opportunity that maybe
    i didn’t qualify for
    at that time as a practical matter as a
    manager
    i had a staff of
    eight nine ten additional people at the
    time all of whom were older than me
    uh i think nine out of ten were women uh
    and so i had to you know really
    try to accelerate my management skills
    and my you know
    ability to relate with uh employees and
    uh you really do that in such a way that
    i could hopefully
    gain their confidence gain their respect
    because i’m sure they may have been
    looking at this like well this guy
    becomes president
    um he was the one who was sitting in the
    worst desk over by the water cooler not
    too long ago
    and now he’s uh now he’s got the um you
    know the executive office but
    the team here was great the the
    volunteers
    were so supportive uh not only with the
    laundromat
    education but with uh just how to do
    business
    i’ve told people many times i don’t have
    that mba after my name
    but i kind of consider my mba
    working with a board of directors of
    18 to 20 laundry industry professionals
    for 20-plus years and really the time i
    spent
    on the clean executive committee uh is
    really been my
    sort of informal mba education learning
    from folks about
    how to do business how not to do
    business and i hopefully have been able
    to
    pull the best of that together over a
    period of time yeah i think that’s an
    awesome way to learn
    how to do business from you know the
    people who are doing it with people who
    have been doing it and
    you know that’s one of the big reasons i
    started the podcast you know honestly is
    talking to people like you and and a lot
    of these other guests that i’ve had who
    you know have had their huge successes
    and their big failures and
    you know are willing to share those and
    and teach me and teach everybody else
    listening
    uh just you know some of the lessons
    that they’ve they’ve learned along the
    way and i think that’s a really great
    way to learn business
    uh so you know school of hard knocks a
    little bit of
    you know of business ownership uh that
    so many
    of us have gone through and and so
    learning from
    that is is a great way i think to
    shortcut
    some of those lessons so you don’t have
    to learn the hard ones or at least not
    all over
    yourself well believe me if you’ve made
    a mistake
    by that time you hopefully have a friend
    or a mentor
    who’s made the same mistake or recovered
    from the same mistake
    and so you’ve got some relationships to
    rely on and
    uh so believe me there are times where i
    i feel like i’ve missed
    some of that so-called book learning you
    know uh you know
    in in this case maybe an mba track or
    something like that but
    i hope to make up for it with the
    relationships and the real world
    experience and being able to
    uh you know pull together uh the best
    possible solutions when we do run into
    challenges
    yeah yeah well i’m curious i mean you’ve
    you’ve been in this role for a really
    long time what are some of the big
    challenges i mean you’ve seen a lot
    you know the industry has gone through a
    lot i’m sure you’ve gone through a lot
    from being 29 running a
    uh an organization like this you know up
    until now
    what have been some of the challenges
    you know for you personally and or maybe
    for the industry
    over the you know the last 20 or so
    years
    well you’re right jordan i mean it’s
    changed a lot this industry has changed
    a lot since
    1992 i guess if i’m doing my math right
    uh when when i first got
    introduced to it um you know certainly
    there’s aspects that remain the same but
    there’s certainly been a lot of growth
    and i’d like to think the organization
    has had a lot to do with the sort of
    what i’ll say professionalizing of the
    industry
    um and we’re seeing that only accelerate
    uh here recently with technology and
    with
    uh newer ideas new people getting into
    the business different calibers of
    folks with different backgrounds and i
    think it’s all uh works together to to
    bring the industry to the
    to the next level i think when you’re
    running a small nonprofit
    uh dollars and cents are always on your
    mind uh
    you know level participation is always
    on your mind
    uh being able to work effectively with
    an ever-changing group
    of uh very independent-minded volunteers
    uh you can imagine is is sometimes
    challenging but i’d say that you know
    the last couple years i think some of
    the main challenges have been
    you know just making sure that our
    organization can continue to
    evolve uh to sort of match
    what’s happening in the industry and
    still remain relevant
    and remain a valuable resource to people
    in the industry
    uh you know uh in the sort of the trade
    association world certainly 30 years ago
    is very much a top-down scenario okay
    well you’re the
    uh you’re the industry authority uh it’s
    very deferential
    you know that’s where you get the
    information and as evidenced by your
    podcast and a lot of things going on
    today you know information is more
    dispersed and has more resources and
    there’s more places from which that
    comes from and again i think overall
    that uh you know results in better
    educated folks
    in our industry but it also poses
    challenges for how do we best
    uh continue to do what we do here and um
    sometimes with the trade association
    some of the benefits
    can be somewhat less tangible uh than
    than a specific product or service and
    so that’s another
    uh good challenge is to help people
    better understand
    uh the role that we play and what we can
    do working together to make this a
    better industry you know that’s the end
    goal
    how do we make this a better more
    profitable industry that takes better
    care
    of the tens of millions of families that
    come to the laundromat
    every weekend yeah i love that and yeah
    i think you’re right like there’s been
    so many changes in
    the industry uh you know from
    you know i mean shoot man since 92
    the world has gone through a lot you
    know we’ve we went through
    you know 9 11 we went through the 2008
    economic crisis obviously this last year
    has been
    again unprecedented and has shaken
    everybody up
    you know even even our industry uh you
    know maybe not as bad as
    some other industries but you know we’ve
    all felt
    that i’m sure you guys even as an
    association have felt the effects of
    that because pretty much everybody’s
    been touched right
    um so yeah yeah i mean people talk about
    our industry being uh
    recession proof i’ve always said well
    we’re recession resistant
    this is a little nuance yeah and the
    term had a big difference yeah yeah and
    you know i’ve been through those
    economic cycles over that period of time
    and it has been a very resilient
    uh business uh not necessarily easy but
    resilient
    uh in the last year or so i you know
    what i told our team here
    uh when covet arrived was if we don’t
    step up now
    to support our members and to support
    our industry when are we going to do
    that
    right this this is when the need is
    arguably the greatest that we’ve had at
    least in my 30 years and maybe in now
    the 60-year history
    of the organization you know so we had
    to
    step up and provide that help regardless
    of
    maybe cash flow slowing down or people
    not being able to pay their dues right
    away or
    maybe somebody had some magazine ad
    contracts uh that may have been canceled
    but
    we said look we have to deliver for the
    industry
    and um i think that the work that we are
    able to do from an advocacy perspective
    uh to maintain that essential status
    state by state by state by state uh and
    then
    ultimately being able to be added to the
    federal guidance for essential which we
    were not on that list
    we were not on that list it was very
    expensive and very difficult to
    get our names added to that federal
    guidance and
    in retrospect now looking back a year
    later jordan
    it’s not hyperbole to say that that
    saved this industry
    a billion dollars or more hey if we’re a
    four or five billion dollar a year
    industry
    and we’re able to keep the doors open
    for that two
    three four five months that so many
    businesses were in complete lockdown
    i’d like to think that you know
    collectively with us working together
    and have an organization in place
    uh was able to uh retain that revenue
    keep doors open
    and keep this industry firing off and
    and we’ve always known that we were an
    essential business
    there’s a little bit more kind of
    esoteric over time like well we’re
    you know we’re um important or you know
    and i’ve always
    talked to legislators about us providing
    a basic public health service but
    this brought it into very sharp focus
    and made it uh
    really a opportunity to double down on
    the value that all of you bring to your
    customers and bring to the communities
    uh clean clothes hygiene that dignity
    and respect that comes from
    being able to have clean clothes and in
    the pandemic
    uh it was probably the greatest
    challenge we’ve had
    as an industry and i’m just incredibly
    proud
    as to how well all of you responded how
    well you
    adjusted and modified operations and
    stuck to it because it would have been
    easy to curl up in a ball and say well
    we’ll just wait till this is over
    but our industry really stood up and
    stood out
    as a result and i think that that is
    some momentum that’s going to carry us a
    long way
    into the future yeah yeah i think yeah
    i think that’s a great uh a great way to
    put it and i think a lot of people did
    really
    step up and we’re you know we’re able to
    adapt um and you know i talked i’m sure
    you talked to a lot of owners too i
    talked to a lot of owners and
    you know people were hurting for
    especially early on there
    uh you know people were hurting you know
    and not really knowing
    nobody really knew what was going to
    happen not just with our industry but
    with our world right
    and it was a little bit of a scary time
    but i do feel like
    laundromats were you know they were
    one of the businesses that mostly
    remained open the whole time
    but they also just became i at least i
    what from what i saw they became
    uh they became places of refuge almost
    for
    people in the community because
    everybody was holed up in their houses
    right and
    laundromats were a place where they
    could come
    and proactively do something
    to better their situation right
    and i think even just the mental uh
    mental boost that that gave people
    during that time just from customers i
    talked to
    and other owners that i’ve talked to i
    think was a big deal so
    well i’ve always felt that you know we
    are a neighborhood business
    and um i i like to say that
    you know the neighborhood laundromat is
    a mirror held up to the community
    right if you want to get a feel for that
    neighborhood you want to get a feel for
    that community
    pop into the laundromat that’s where
    you’re going to see the people that’s
    where you’re going to see
    the vibe and get a sense of what that
    neighborhood is all about and so i think
    as you’re pointing out jordan that sort
    of community
    uh around this mundane shore let’s face
    it no one’s looking forward to do
    laundry
    but that’s part of this elevation of the
    industry if we can make it nicer if we
    can
    make it more convenient if we can bring
    people more
    support through that corner laundromat
    it really does
    raise up those families in the
    neighborhoods that need that help the
    most
    yeah yeah i agree well okay so you’ve
    seen a lot of change
    over the last 20 or so years out of
    curiosity
    i mean you like you said you talked to a
    lot of owners you’ve
    you’ve been all over you put a lot of
    miles you know on your
    mileage card i don’t know you’ve put a
    lot of miles behind you and
    you’ve traveled a lot what about looking
    forward what do you
    where do you see our industry heading
    what
    kind of what’s coming up on the horizon
    that i mean i don’t you may not know but
    you know i know you don’t have a crystal
    ball but out of curiosity i’m just
    curious
    what you’re seeing well you know we’re
    all experts in our own opinions but
    i do think there’s some things that we
    can look at going forward that
    um i think are you know fairly concrete
    if you look at the prevailing trends
    before kovid
    uptick major uptick in technology if you
    look at the
    greater sophistication in in the
    marketing if you look at payment systems
    if you look at
    uh full service and wash dry fold in
    commercial accounts
    if you look at multi-store ownership if
    you look at
    sort of new dollars uh more than mom and
    pop investors but
    you know some bigger dollars expressing
    an interest in the business
    those existing prevailing trends have
    just hit warp speed
    in my observation so those are things
    that have
    just taken off and maybe progress
    uh that would have taken another three
    four five years to come to fruition
    it’s happening now right so we are
    seeing this this boost and
    yeah i think a lot of it is underpinned
    uh by technology advancements
    and when i look at you know uh
    high tech and laundromat some people
    laugh that off that’s an oxymoron right
    this is an analog old school business
    you know
    uh but if you look at uh what’s happened
    with equipment
    in terms of efficiency um we talk about
    a major difference
    you know from when i started almost 30
    years ago we’re using
    half or less the utilities
    and if you look at uh payment systems
    hybrid systems other things are letting
    people pay
    and in other ways uh you know that has
    certainly driven
    a big part of our growth the larger
    capacity equipment has definitely driven
    our growth and i think that the the
    technology
    in terms of being able to uh manage
    remotely
    and collect data i think that’s blown
    open the doors to multiple store
    management
    and you know very well you know there’s
    sort of a limit to how much you can
    operate
    uh you for yourself by yourself in terms
    of locations
    but as this technology comes on board i
    think it’s going to be
    more commonplace to see five stores 10
    stores 20 stores i still don’t see
    a big roll-up you know a thousand two
    thousand five thousand locations but i
    certainly see
    the what i’ve always called
    consolidation from within
    you know it’s jordan adding the second
    to third the fourth location
    and you start to multiply that across
    the country
    and uh we’re seeing that uh multi
    multiple store management and part of
    what i love about that
    is that you know let’s face it if you’re
    in it for five or ten stores
    you’re probably running a better
    operation right because you have to
    right so it’s clean safe well-equipped
    taking better care of customers so as
    that propagates
    and aggregates in terms of the eyes of
    the consumer i think we just have an
    opportunity to bring more people
    in to use laundromats than ever before
    so i have a very
    optimistic view of the future and a lot
    of that is
    underpinned by the technological
    advancements that i think are going to
    help us do the job even better
    yeah yeah yeah i’m seeing a lot of the
    same
    the same things i’m curious do you think
    do you think we’re we’re coming towards
    an end of the single store
    owner do you see it going that far or do
    you think that there will always be
    single store owners
    they’ll just be more multi-store owners
    and those multi-store owners might have
    more businesses yeah i think it’s more
    of the latter
    um you know this i mean
    i can’t think of another industry that’s
    as fragmented as our business
    right so even with all that we just
    talked about
    if we think there are still about twenty
    nine thousand
    twenty nine five out there um
    you know we can count the number of
    people with a with
    80 or more stores on one hand
    right the number of people with 100 or
    more stores
    perhaps on one finger so when you
    it’s all relative right so yes there is
    a lot more multiple store ownership and
    the number of tens and twenties and
    thirties is definitely way up
    but still i mean that’s a just a
    minuscule amount of consolidation given
    the total number of units uh that are
    out there so
    i do think that there will always be a
    role for them
    for the single store owner if anything
    just for the fact that most everyone
    starts with one
    right there there are some exceptions
    you know i
    you know more often seeing people that
    maybe jump in with
    two or three acquisitions but more often
    it’s a progression right you’ve lived it
    you get the first store and you kind of
    get your feet wet and take a few dents
    and
    things and you kind of learn some things
    and you get store two and store three
    and i just think that that
    will always be a part of the
    um uh evolution of people uh growing
    into the business
    going from part-time you know you know
    the story working the day job working
    the career job with the one store
    working the nights and weekends and
    really pushing and then getting to a
    certain
    uh tipping point where that becomes your
    full-time gig because you’ve got
    multiple locations you can replace that
    corporate salary you know that origin
    story
    uh much more interesting than the origin
    story i gave you for me
    uh is is really how these uh you know
    great members of ours have
    really planted the flag uh taking good
    great care of customers and are starting
    to build wealth for themselves
    yeah yeah i i like that i
    and i see that too uh out of curiosity
    and i mean you may not know the answer
    to this one either i just
    i’m gonna throw it out there but you
    know i think
    for a long time our industry has
    has had people interested in it who
    you know have the concept of you know i
    come in once a week collect quarters
    that’s it um and you know you know as
    well as i know that
    pretty much never is that the case right
    there’s more because
    whenever i tell people whenever there’s
    you know a business and whenever there’s
    people involved
    it’s going to take a little bit more
    than that right
    and there’s machines that break down
    there’s all kinds of stuff that can go
    wrong you’ll have to deal with
    right but i’m curious
    if you think that that message is
    changing if that
    is that that mentality is going away if
    that’s still going to be
    possible for people to kind of get into
    the industry that way maybe like a
    guy i talk to a lot of like high income
    earners who are looking to put their
    money
    somewhere like doctors lawyers engineers
    who want to put their money
    into something and they’re interested in
    laundromats i just talked to a
    plastic surgeon in hollywood who wants
    to who wants to do this right
    and uh and i i think the concept
    of it being mostly hands off is what’s
    appealing to them
    um and the high returns that you can get
    obviously um
    but i’m curious as to is that going to
    be feasible for people
    going forward or if maybe specifically
    for that high income earner
    uh demographic yeah well as you well
    know we’ve had a lot of those high
    income earners have been in the business
    a long time
    right and they uh either are hands-on
    with the laundromat business or they
    hire someone to help them
    uh in that in that respect so you can
    imagine from where i sit
    you know i’ve always outright rejected
    uh the word absentee
    the word passive um i just don’t
    see any evidence of that i haven’t seen
    any evidence of that
    now is it a simple business simple not
    be
    not meaning easy but simple in other
    words the keys
    the operation or a parent they’re
    self-evident you know what you need to
    do
    but as you point out you still need to
    put in the time and the energy to to
    execute on that
    you know so so the simplicity as opposed
    to complexity
    of you know 100 employees or you know
    lots of reliance on receivables and
    stocking inventory and you know from
    that perspective yes it’s a simple
    business but not always easy to execute
    on so
    i think you can have spend less time at
    the laundromat than you might if you’re
    running a subway or
    or some other kind of small business
    opportunity
    um i also think uh when i talked to our
    members over the years
    and when i probe about well what you
    know has you so excited about the
    business again beyond the returns
    because you know that the money is is
    always number one but
    i hear a lot of flex time
    you know you have to put in the hours
    jordan you’ve got kids taking school at
    home
    you’ve got other uh pressures on you got
    things to do
    so you can attend to the laundromats it
    doesn’t have to be at a prescribed day
    and time
    right you can work in those hours over
    the course of your week
    and again what i hear from our folks is
    i got to coach little league
    i got to take my daughter on the dance
    uh competition tour i got to do those
    things
    i worked my butt off at the laundromat
    but i could
    make those adjustments and have that
    sort of quality of lifestyle by being
    able to uh take advantage of the
    laundromat industry so
    so it’s i don’t think it’s absentee i’ll
    tell you just a quick anecdote jordan
    this is several years ago um
    i got an invitation it was from one of
    these organizations that puts on these
    hype
    conferences you know these passive
    income massive passive
    you know make money sitting at home and
    multi-level marketing all this stuff and
    i just out of curiosity
    and i later learned out of defense i
    accepted the invitation
    and i went to actually did it twice i
    went to these
    uh conferences where it was just it was
    a hype job you know it was
    it was just hey you’re gonna make money
    you know show up once a week to collect
    the quarters
    so i took that speaking gig to defend
    the fact that yes this is a great
    business but you know here’s the reality
    and if you do these things you can be
    successful uh but it’s not sitting at
    home
    and collecting the quarters once a week
    let’s kill you are
    i was a total buzzkill this is one of
    those things with the lights and the
    music
    and the the guy in the white suit and um
    hyping up all these different
    opportunities and i was the wet blanket
    because i thought i had to
    to uh protect these folks yeah from you
    know having that
    misperception now they only invited me
    back twice i didn’t get that third
    invitation
    uh because i wasn’t there to sell
    anything right this was a big you know
    kind of go to the back of the room and
    buy the dvds kind of thing but
    my point of bringing that up is i think
    that we do a service to people
    by telling them yes this is a great
    business but
    here’s what you need to know right there
    are challenges you do have
    to do that uh but back to this
    technology thing
    and with the high net worth investor i
    think that
    the networked washers the ability to
    remotely manage the store
    being able to have confidence in the
    cash control right that’s always been
    the main leash that holds
    laundromat owners to the store
    rightfully is
    the cash right so so if you have the
    ability to monitor equipment monitor
    employees have safety know exactly
    what’s in the vtm know exactly what’s in
    the changers
    yes i do think that people can
    you know reduce the number of hours that
    they’re spending particularly over the
    course of multiple stores
    and you know really achieve those
    investment goals
    a side card to that is i think that
    there’s going to be a a burgeoning
    opportunity
    for professional laundromat management
    companies
    uh that can put out their shingle and
    say yes
    you know plastic surgeon um we’ll help
    you get into these couple of laundromats
    and here’s a program by which we can
    help you actually manage the day-to-day
    clear the coin jams get make sure the
    attendants are showing up making sure
    the store is clean and
    from that perspective so maybe that
    investor’s return is a little bit less
    but it still is a pretty gaudy routine
    or return
    on the cash invested and particularly on
    the time invested even if they’ve got to
    pay that extra layer
    of supervision and management in order
    to run the store on a day-to-day basis
    yeah yeah i love that i’m actually in
    the process of putting together a
    management company here
    in la with a couple former guests
    actually were
    because you know between us we have you
    know i think
    nine or ten laundromats and you know
    there’s other people who we know
    who want to take a little bit more of a
    passive
    approach to it or just don’t have as
    much time so
    yeah i think you’re right about that and
    especially as
    people start scaling out the number of
    their laundromats
    it’s going to be way easier to hire
    almost like a hotel management company
    right like
    you get a couple of hotels you hire a
    hotel management company to manage your
    hotels
    and that frees up your time because time
    is the ultimate look at our friends and
    competitors in the laundry route
    business the apartment laundry route
    business you’ve got
    uh companies that you have uh
    you know million million and a half
    washers under management
    uh half a million um hundreds of
    thousands tens of thousands
    so it’s not exactly the same thing of
    course but
    that mentality of being able to manage
    those locations
    uh you know not exactly treating them
    like route stops but
    maybe an amped up version of that i do
    think that that will be in demand
    like you said not just the person who
    gets stretched too thin when they hit
    that fifth or sixth laundromat
    as an individual but people that want to
    have a stake
    they want to have an investment in our
    sector
    but don’t have the wherewithal to sit at
    the counter every day
    and and manage the store uh 40 hours
    a week yeah yeah yeah and i think that
    that is one of the ways that i mean it’s
    been
    the industry i think it’s been shifting
    away from that but i think
    you know when i think about laundromat
    owners from
    30 40 plus years ago i think a lot of
    them sat behind the counters at their
    laundromat that was their
    their job right it was like a true mom
    and pop
    store where they that’s just what they
    did like
    and a lot of owners did that way and i
    think less and less so that that’s the
    case
    from just my observation i haven’t done
    any research on that but that would be
    yeah
    i think that’s a i think that’s a fair
    fair assessment
    um you know and again it’s such a varied
    industry we don’t
    you look you and i both know people that
    love being in the store yeah
    uh you know dust till dawn uh and then
    dawn till dusk again and they love to
    chitchat with customers and they like to
    tinker and fix machines and that’s their
    that’s their jam they love it
    yeah um and you know just a different
    a different approach from someone who
    says well look i’m looking at this more
    from an investment perspective
    i’ve got cash to invest i’m looking for
    the best roi
    so i’m going to spend the time that i
    need to spend there but then i’m going
    to get help
    i’m not going to turn a wrench i’ve
    been telling people for years you know
    the you can sum up some of this trend
    and less time turning a screwdriver and
    more time
    turning a profit right the kind of that
    mentality of
    you know you know let’s let’s scale you
    know let’s do multiple locations
    and let’s know how to do those jobs but
    better yet
    knowing how to find people that can help
    you do those jobs you can build
    yeah yeah it’s been one of the most
    i guess encouraging and surprising
    things about doing this podcast is
    talking to people all over
    the world who own laundromats and
    seeing the diverse the diversity and the
    ways that they run
    their laundromats right we had uh you
    know jacob on the
    podcast he runs a youtube channel there
    i fixed it he loves to be hands-on
    he you know is you know he’s in his map
    and and just loves that um and then you
    know
    show 50 we i just interviewed a guy who
    he’s never seen his laundromat he lives
    he just moved into his rv and he’s
    traveling the country
    um from here in california and his
    laundromats just outside of atlanta and
    he’s never seen it right
    and those are way different style and
    and everything in between
    uh you know so the diversity of it is
    pretty cool that you can run and
    run successfully in whatever you think
    successfully looks like
    with this industry and so that
    flexibility is really nice
    that really made me think going back
    this i meant to say this earlier but i
    really like that you
    use the term flex time as opposed to
    absentee or passive i think that needs
    to get incorporated
    into our vocabulary
    more as the flex time because i think
    that really does nail
    for example uh just today like i have a
    pretty
    busy day today right we jumped on this
    call at eight in the morning
    i’ve got stuff going on with the kids
    later we had a little neighborhood
    uh like socially distance birthday
    outdoor party
    for a neighbor a little bit later so we
    got like a lot going on today so i just
    got up at four in the morning and i went
    out
    to my laundromat did my stuff that i
    needed to take care of
    made it back here in time to walk my
    kids to school and then jump on a call
    with you and
    i can do that right i don’t have to be
    there at a specific day or specific
    time and um yeah getting up at four in
    the morning to go to the laundromats not
    ideal always but i can do it if i
    if i have other things that i want to do
    so yeah flex time
    let’s keep that term going because i
    like that
    that’s yeah it’s it’s the truth and i
    can remember we even did a membership
    campaign years ago where we were
    you know kind of featuring our members
    but they weren’t you know the
    stock photos of the person leaning on
    the washing machine
    it was um you know people that were out
    fixing go-karts and people that were
    taking kids to little league and people
    that were
    had their feet up at the beach and just
    trying to emphasize that our industry
    it’s a means to an end no one’s here for
    the love of doing laundry right well
    maybe there’s a few
    couple people uh people people that are
    obsessed but but it is a
    pathway um when i do see those old
    old-timers jordan you know one of the
    things i
    i hear a lot is you know just a little
    longer but you know what i put two kids
    through college
    you know just a little laundromat but it
    helped us um
    you know navigate a family of six and
    uh and we i don’t know what we would
    have done if not for the laundromat
    or it gave us the chance to travel or we
    got a a
    cottage uh you know summer cottage or
    you know these
    you know so in other words it wasn’t
    about the glam and glory
    of running the laundromat it was the
    opportunity to work hard make an
    investment make a great return
    and then use that as the launching pad
    to
    pursue your real passions and the things
    that you want to do for yourself and
    your family
    yeah i love that and you know the the
    concept of lifestyle design
    is really popular right now and i think
    when a lot of people think of lifestyle
    design they’re thinking like tim ferriss
    like go live
    somewhere else and you know
    dance your days away and sit on the
    beach or whatever that
    you know the case might be right but
    lifestyle design is designing a life
    that you want to live right and so if
    that’s fix and go cars with your kids
    that’s coaching your kids little league
    team right and that and
    in in that sense i think that
    laundromats can be a great lifestyle
    design business um and
    you know and this guy who you know tom
    in episode 50 who’s traveling
    the country in his rv you know while
    owning a laundromat that he’s never seen
    across the country
    is a next level of that lifestyle design
    it doesn’t have to be that extreme
    but that flex time gives you the ability
    to design
    life the way that you like it and i like
    i like thinking of it that way flex time
    i’m going to use that more often i like
    it all right you got it use it
    use it use it use it yes um well okay
    so i mean we’re talking about all this
    stuff right so
    what maybe i mean you’ve talked to a lot
    of owners and you’ve been in this
    industry
    longer than most people have so
    what i mean can you give us some some
    like
    tips on how do you how do you build a
    good business
    how do what you know and then once you
    have a good business how do you grow it
    you know
    uh because i think you know i’ve i
    talked to a lot of owners who
    especially this last year have been
    struggling right their
    their income has been down or you know
    they don’t have money to reinvest in
    their laundry matter whatever the case
    may be and they might be listening to
    something like this well that’s not what
    my life looks like right i’m
    trying to like duct tape my laundry mat
    back together
    or whatever the case may be so i’m
    wondering if you could give us
    you know just maybe what are some tips
    of being um
    you know running a a solid laundromat
    uh business and you know and growing
    that into
    something that can help you design your
    life
    the way you want it sure sure well you
    know
    that’s one of the things that probably
    hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last
    30 years
    is you know some of these basic
    underlying principles and you had kind
    of previewed this question for me and
    i’ll just tell you
    just the first couple things i scratched
    out um
    in no particular order about you know
    kind of recipes for success
    um we’ve had a great webinar we filmed
    right here yesterday
    on uh creating an attendant training
    program and we had a couple of our peers
    ken barrett
    and yvette morton williams came on and
    just talked about how they put their
    program together and what it
    was just top of mind for me jordan was
    just invest
    in the attendant training and
    that’s dollars and time and it’s not
    just
    all right welcome to your new job as uh
    laundromat attendant
    go work a shift with sally she’s my best
    attendant you’re gonna work a shift
    together and then off you go
    uh that’s what i’m seeing among best
    practices is having an actual program
    having a protocol having
    policies and procedures and investing
    the time and energy
    to have the best possible attendance
    because you know we talk a lot about new
    investors and people getting into the
    business and one of the
    uh one of the several things i try to
    say to kind of sober uh
    you know that that view is look you’re
    gonna spend
    a couple hundred to several hundred
    thousand dollars
    and the one person who has the most to
    do with your success
    is the minimum wage attendant who’s
    visiting with customers every single day
    yeah right it’s not you you we just
    talked about that right you’re not going
    to be there all the time yeah
    so i think that we need to reapportion
    the amount of time and energy we put
    into
    having the best attendance so that was
    top of mind except from just from
    yesterday
    it’s good that’s good yeah the the the
    modern uh
    thing that popped on here uh as it
    relates to
    uh promotion and marketing is there’s a
    lot of things you can do
    we can help you jordan you can help
    customers with with the marketing
    but the one thing you need is a perfect
    google listing
    the google maps google my business if
    you’re going to get one thing right
    make sure that the people that are
    looking for you and they’re looking for
    you on their smartphone
    that they can find you and it sounds
    rudimentary
    it sounds like the bar is low but if you
    do that
    that’s a distinct competitive advantage
    in the laundromat business because most
    of your competitors are not doing that
    how much does that cost free yeah
    zero and even if you hire someone to
    help you with it you’re not talking big
    bucks but we’re talking about a big
    return real quick i mean i love that and
    as
    as somebody who owns a marketing and
    website
    design company for specifically for
    laundromat owners
    i would say that having a good solid
    google my business listing
    that you keep up to date is more
    important even than your website because
    i would agree most people are going to
    go on their phone to their maps app or
    or to google and search laundromat near
    me when they’re looking for laundromat
    and whatever laundromats pop up on that
    map or at the top of google there
    that is where they’re gonna go first
    right and if they come to your store
    first you have the opportunity to keep
    them as a customer
    right and most people aren’t looking for
    your website
    first and foremost well i mean it’s nice
    to have everything nice to have a
    holistic
    uh campaign and you know we’ve been
    offering
    uh marketing assistance for 20 or 30
    years everything from the old postcards
    uh to door hangers and now you know with
    our amp
    program doing some of the same things
    with websites and optimized online
    listings
    um and it’s just it’s just an absolute
    must and you can’t tell me
    you know look we’re not too far
    a front of when you know laundromats did
    zero
    marketing it was to build it and they
    will come you know and
    i think that is really uh a significant
    competitive advantage today to have your
    act together when it comes to that
    simple
    uh digital marketing so get it from
    jordan get it from us
    get it from all you know multiple other
    companies out there but just do it
    get it done and your business will
    benefit yeah agreed
    all right sorry to interrupt you but no
    i just i thought that
    was a great point to google my business
    it’s a great point
    yeah and just when we’re talking about
    let’s talk just a minute about marketing
    messaging
    is um keep in mind that i
    at least i think that we’re selling time
    savings inconvenience
    and we’re selling clean clothes two
    things that rarely come up in the
    marketing messaging
    in our industry yeah it’s dollar
    tuesdays it’s half off of this or free
    load or
    and we’re not talking about the fact
    that we get your clothes cleaner
    right and we can get it done faster you
    know and
    and so when we’re when we’re thinking
    about the messaging don’t
    revert to selling on price because if
    you’re a good laundromat owner
    you can’t sell on price because you’re
    doing too good of a job
    you have well-trained attendants good
    equipment a clean environment
    and those things conspire to make sure
    that you have to get a fair vent price
    you know so uh will there be price
    shoppers yeah they can stay in their
    apartments
    and do laundry there they can go to a
    crummy laundromat down the street
    but if you infuse that into your
    marketing that this is a better place to
    do the wash
    um i think that’s a more powerful
    message and
    you know over the years we’ve done some
    consumer
    research uh you know what are laundromat
    customers looking for
    and i we did it several years ago i kind
    of took those
    results from that survey and i
    synthesized it into kind of a motto and
    i’ll try it out on you jordan
    laundromat customers want time savings
    and convenience
    in a clean safe environment that’s close
    to home
    one more time laundromat customers want
    time savings
    and convenience in a clean safe
    environment
    that’s close to home yeah i mean
    there’s not really much more to it than
    that right like that yeah
    yeah and if you have to wonder about
    owners they want price they want price
    they want price they want price well
    that’s kind of what we hear and
    yes there are price shoppers but you
    know the lion’s share of customers
    looking for value
    right you know and i think if you’re
    going to do the marketing
    let’s make sure that that messaging gets
    across clean clothes
    saving time and taking good care of your
    family
    yeah yeah and i think that there i see
    well i felt this
    and i see this all the time in like the
    forums and the facebook groups and
    everything where
    we’re we’re afraid of price like as
    owners
    generally speaking like we’re afraid of
    price people are afraid to raise their
    prices
    i’ve been afraid to raise my price you
    know and it’s a genuine
    fear but you know what you’re saying
    what we’ve had
    so many of the just the top operators
    that we’ve had on this podcast
    have all said the same thing we don’t
    compete on price
    we we offer valuable
    opportunities for for customers to save
    on time
    and convenience and we charge for it
    like
    because it’s a it’s a good valuable
    service that we’re providing and
    that message has been consistent over
    and over and over and i think that we
    and i’m and i’m saying we because i’m
    speaking to myself too but like we
    need to not be afraid of price
    and and raising those prices because
    our costs keep going up right like you
    you mentioned
    earlier that the technology has has
    you know basically cut our utility
    usages
    in half over the last 30 years well it’s
    a dang good thing because our utility
    usage is probably
    20 times higher than they were 30 years
    ago right like yeah the rate
    yeah they’re going through the roof
    right and we’re paying those utility
    costs
    so we cannot be afraid to to charge more
    in order to you know keep our business
    afloat like if our business closed down
    all the people that come to it
    aren’t going to they’re going to have to
    go further it’s going to be less
    convenient and less of a time savings
    for them
    so do yourselves and your customers and
    community a favor and keep your prices
    where they need to be
    georgia no look you know and again we’re
    you know as a trade association we have
    to be careful how we talk about price
    and in terms of our
    tax exempt status and not overstepping
    on uh antitrust or anything like that
    but we can talk about successful
    strategies we can’t talk about hey you
    ought to charge x for a 20 pounder
    now we have all that data in our annual
    survey you know people go on the
    facebook groups and elsewhere and wonder
    about well what’s the average price of
    this like well we have the data
    for 25 straight years we can give you
    that benchmark
    but if we made this list of the 100 best
    laundromat owners in the country
    and maybe i know 98 of them um
    you know there’s not going to be one
    person on that list that is the
    discounter in their market
    [Music]
    and a good chunk of them are going to be
    a price leader no doubt but
    there’ll be zero that are the discounter
    in their market yeah
    yeah well i mean that’s a good i mean
    that’s just good good knowledge to have
    and you know i just
    speaking to anybody out there who is the
    discounter in their neighborhood
    like this is not to disparage anybody
    but this is to give
    insight that the real the real value in
    your company is the value that
    you provide to your customers not the
    price cut
    that you give to your customers right
    you sell yourself short and you sell
    your
    your business short if you’re providing
    value for your customers
    and not charging enough for it right so
    that that’s where the focus needs to be
    and that’s what i hear consistently over
    and over from top operators is focus on
    providing value for your customers don’t
    focus on being you know the low price
    leader
    in your neighborhood well sometimes what
    some of those stores do jordan is
    they’re really good at making a volume
    but they’re not good at making a profit
    yeah and you know
    an educated buyer you know into your
    world
    in brokerage they don’t care about the
    gross
    nor should they right all that matters
    is the net
    and it’s very difficult to maximize that
    net
    if you’re the low price leader in the
    market yeah
    yeah awesome well that’s i mean i think
    that
    that’s a huge and i love the marketing
    message that
    you know that where we miss the mark all
    the time um you know and
    there’s there’s something to be said to
    do promotions where you’re discounting
    you know certain days of the week and
    stuff like that of course but
    but that i mean just straight from the
    data right is
    from from the consumer surveys that you
    guys have done is saying hey people are
    looking for time savings and convenience
    so
    you know marketing 101 is
    find out what the customer wants in
    their own language
    and just tell them their own words back
    to them right
    and they’re you’re going to connect with
    them on a level that they
    didn’t even anticipate because you are
    speaking their language literally
    so i love that well well that that the
    survey that we did
    and and i i had the joy of being able to
    sort of write the survey and i gave
    like these nine characteristics of why
    you would choose a laundromat
    and we asked consumers to rank them in
    order of importance
    and price was like ninth
    or seventh out of nine you know maybe on
    one year was
    six out of nine one year was eight eight
    out of nine
    and what people wanted if i can remember
    this off the top my head the number one
    thing that consumers told us they wanted
    having enough machines available when i
    need them
    number one yeah okay uh number
    two was uh feeling safe and secure yeah
    right so you know we we tend to like you
    said have a narrow vision
    on ben price but the consumers are
    telling us
    that uh it’s in that bottom half of
    considerations behind
    availability of equipment a clean safe
    environment
    and several other factors that come to
    mind before they worry about what the
    price is
    yeah what’s nice to know if you have a
    super dangerous laundromat
    that you’re probably going to have
    machines open so customers will be fine
    with it because their number one is they
    want machines open right
    number two yeah none of those factors
    exist at a vacuum jordan you gotta you
    gotta have
    uh you know hopefully uh you’re hitting
    on all checking all those boxes
    yeah yeah yeah well and that’s true man
    i i think that
    you know having a safe place i mean
    right the basics right
    are having a clean place like nobody
    wants to come
    clean their clothes and then leave a
    dirty store
    you just don’t feel like your stuff is
    clean right you got roaches walking
    around and stuff this is like my store
    when i took over
    my very first one the roaches the size
    of my face in there
    and i’m like well who’s gonna come do
    laundry here i’m not i don’t want to
    bring one of these things home in my
    laundry right like keep it clean
    keep it lit uh you know keep it safe and
    that sometimes depending on where you’re
    at
    is easier said than done and again going
    back to that
    that not being passive uh for me
    in my first laundromat it was a
    dangerous place i didn’t
    i mean i knew it was like not a great
    neighborhood i did not know it was like
    outright dangerous place when i took
    over it and it took a lot of time and a
    lot of effort
    to clean that place out but you got to
    do it right it’s got to be a safe place
    because that’s you know like you said
    that’s top
    priority in that top half so you know
    focusing on those basics and you know
    keeping machines
    working keeping your coin changers if
    you’re still
    in a coin store keeping those full
    making sure there’s coins available
    which sometimes is easier said than done
    in those unattended stores
    um you know i i talk to people and this
    happens in my unattended store and i
    talk to people all the time who
    people come by crazy amounts of quarters
    for whatever reason right it can be hard
    to keep them full but you got to do it
    right
    you got to go to the bank an extra time
    a week you know all these basics
    you just like you said it’s simple but
    it’s not always easy but you gotta
    you gotta stay on the basics keep doing
    the right things
    over a long period of time so
    love that uh i mean we’ve mentioned
    some cla research have you guys been
    doing
    any research recently or anything new
    coming out just out of curiosity what
    you guys doing i love
    that’s one of the things i like most
    about the cla is that you guys are you
    know try to keep your finger on the
    pulse of things you’re
    always asking questions of owners and
    customers and
    vendors and all that so out of curiosity
    you guys have anything going on lately
    yeah there’s a i guess a couple things i
    could mention uh we’re just about to
    field our
    for our 25th straight year our our
    industry survey
    which gives you know annual data
    on event price equipment mix expense
    ratios for utilities
    for payroll for rent
    for uh really all the basic things that
    that we’re doing and so
    we think it’s important to spend the the
    money and again this is not an online
    poll
    you know we hire a professional research
    company that does the
    statistically sound surveying and we
    make sure that
    we’re investing in good data for all of
    you and so that’s something that we
    publish every year
    it’s free to members annually as part of
    your membership it’s in our store
    uh it’s not less than 100 bucks if
    you’re a non-member that wants to buy a
    copy but
    you don’t have to guess you know the
    data has been gathered and aggregated
    and we can you have the ability to look
    at it
    on a multi-year basis another thing i’ll
    mention is we
    especially with cobid we started doing a
    lot more kind of a survey monkey style
    pulse
    survey so we were reaching out to you
    in the beginning of the pandemic and
    finding that the average store was down
    30 percent uh in those first couple of
    months and then quickly recovered as you
    got into the
    to the end of the year we did some great
    survey work
    in the face of our advocacy on the coin
    shortage
    we did an awful lot of work related to
    the scarcity of quarters
    i was personally engaged with the u.s
    mint with the cash product office at the
    federal reserve the u.s coin task force
    and they were looking to us for data
    they were looking for the data from all
    of you saying i am having trouble
    stocking quarters my bank does have them
    available or doesn’t so we’re able to
    get that information and
    share it with all of you like we did but
    also sharing it with the
    regulators and legislators that you know
    are involved in these key issues
    i guess the third thing i say on
    research is we continue to put out
    once a quarter four times a year a brand
    new white paper
    which is a eight or ten or sometimes
    twelve thousand word deep dive
    into these key uh industry topics and so
    again those are free if you’re a member
    uh four times a year but they’re all
    available a la carte in our store
    so if you want to get the best
    information on due diligence
    or demographics and site analysis or
    leases or we just did one on commercial
    accounts uh we just released one on
    writing a business plan so again
    you don’t have to guess you know we’ve
    got a
    professional vetted authoritative
    resource here
    that can help you with that and you know
    part of that goal is to have a you know
    a distinctive library
    that has the collective best information
    and best practices
    uh from all the subject matter experts
    and make sure you can find that all in
    one place
    yeah i love that and you know i going
    back to like
    what’s changing in the industry and i
    think that that is one of the things is
    i mean the data’s been there right but i
    think our world in general
    like the biggest companies in the world
    are all data companies right like
    even amazon it’s a data company right
    and they’re
    you’re aggregating data and then using
    that data
    to you know to put the right things in
    front of the right people to sell to
    them right
    so data is is king right now and so we
    need to be making
    business decisions based on data as
    often as possible and that’s where
    you know the the power of the network
    washers the
    you know the card readers that have all
    kinds of data user data
    all that stuff has so much power
    in you know because that data can be
    used to make the right decisions right
    you’re not guessing anymore and so you
    know i love that you guys are doing the
    you know the the polls and the um the
    industry
    state of the industry um research
    project the industry survey
    um and the white papers all that stuff
    because that data
    is that’s like gold right it’s like
    that’s how you
    print money is you use the data to uh to
    make your decision so
    love that absolutely love that well we
    got a few
    little sections that we normally do and
    i thought maybe
    we could uh we could jump you and we
    talked about a lot of these things
    already but i just
    you know maybe just to pinpoint we have
    our first section listen up it’s the
    secret sauce
    called secret sauce okay and
    uh secret sauce is basically you know
    what what’s a good tip to help somebody
    take their business
    to the next level a current owner
    something that they can implement into
    their business to maybe
    help them grow their business yeah i
    shared a couple of those earlier but the
    one that i still have on the list here
    is uh is networking with your peers
    um you know this podcast is a good
    example
    of that and again when i talk to
    long-time
    members of the association and again we
    do all these programs and
    in events and services and
    but what they come back to is the
    biggest value i’ve had
    is the people i’ve met through the
    association and
    um you know it’s those uh connections
    those friendships
    those abilities to talk somebody who
    speaks the same language
    and so i just would encourage uh people
    that you know this can be an insular
    industry if you don’t
    leave your store and if you don’t go out
    and make an effort
    either virtually or in person to connect
    with other people in the industry
    uh you’re you’re just never gonna get to
    the level of success that you’d like to
    have
    so so the secret sauce for me is your
    peers
    the other people in the industry and
    jordan you probably
    discovered this i don’t know how we can
    uh
    you know take credit for it i don’t know
    that we can but this industry
    is very willing to share you know people
    aren’t you know maybe if you’re across
    the street that’s one thing but most
    every store owner
    is willing to you know share information
    share best practices
    and try to help the next guy and so
    that’s something that i think
    has to be part of the ingredients in
    your secret sauce
    yeah i love that secret sauce and you
    know that is exactly what this whole
    podcast relies on right it relies on
    people willing to come on and share
    their experience their lessons their
    wisdom
    you know with each other and i you know
    there’s
    there’s the whole um you know mantra
    that
    so many people spout you know you’re the
    average of the five people you spend
    your most time with
    you know there’s i mean there’s in
    things along those lines like it’s
    important
    who you communicate with and it’s
    important who you take information right
    and so if you want to grow your business
    to the next level
    you need to start getting around
    networking getting around people who
    are doing things at another level from
    you
    inside our industry and probably outside
    of the industry also
    um so i think that’s great secret sauce
    yeah we got another section called pro
    tips
    and pro tips is directed to somebody
    maybe trying to buy their first
    laundromat you have any tips for the
    first time or something maybe they
    should be aware of or be thinking about
    or
    doing before they buy their first
    laundromat
    sure well i certainly love speaking to
    prospective laundromat
    owners um you you may not know this but
    we have a program where i
    uh we sent an invitation i want to speak
    to every single brand new member of coin
    laundry association and quite often they
    are first timer so we
    i’m having these conversations multiple
    times a week
    and so we kind of speak that language
    what i’m hearing a lot from people are
    looking to buy their first store
    is kind of that tire kicking and the
    frustration i have looked at five stores
    i looked at 10 stores i looked at 15
    stores in the area
    and what i try to tell them is the
    shortcut for that analysis
    is talk about the lease first
    everyone wants to talk about the revenue
    or agent condition of the equipment
    or you know why the person is selling
    and again those are all things you’re
    going to want to discover
    at some point in your process but if the
    lease isn’t right
    the rest of it is a moot point right the
    revenue doesn’t matter
    what equipment’s in there doesn’t matter
    how many parking spaces don’t matter
    so you know when you’re going through
    that arduous process of kissing a lot of
    frogs
    um you know if you can focus on the
    lease
    first and oftentimes at least if it is
    bad it can be improved
    but i’d view that as one of the more
    compelling shortcuts for first-time
    laundromat owners that may be
    in a little bit of a fatigue stage of
    looking at a lot of existing stores
    have a laser focus on the lease because
    if the lease isn’t right the rest
    doesn’t matter
    yeah i think that’s really great advice
    you know i do uh
    you know webinars every week and when we
    do one on how to buy
    your first laundromat one of the things
    that i’ll say in there is
    you know your lease is arguably your
    most important asset
    you know it’s at least as important as
    your machines if not even more important
    than your machines
    more so yeah because if you have a bad
    lease i mean
    i can’t tell you how many previous
    owners i’ve talked to who have
    you know gotten out of the business uh
    because they had a bad lease and you
    know their laundromat just couldn’t
    support it
    and so you know i i think that’s huge
    and
    finding a good lease is probably even
    more important than finding a good
    location
    uh or at least on par with that because
    you know that lease is going to be one
    of your two biggest expenses right
    between maybe labor might be your other
    big expense
    but it’s a huge asset or a huge
    liability to your business
    right if we flip that for the existing
    operators
    the best thing you can do today to make
    your laundromat more valuable is to
    improve the lease
    add time you know set the terms
    because when it comes time for you to
    sell which may be on your schedule or
    life schedule you never know what’s
    going to happen so if you’re on that end
    of the transaction
    making your lease longer making it more
    competitive
    is again probably more important than
    you increasing the net
    you have to have that lease right
    whether you’re from the seller’s
    perspective or the buyer’s perspective
    yep couldn’t agree more uh awesome pro
    tip
    and for anybody looking to buy their
    first laundromat uh
    you know that’s a that’s a great
    shortcut and not even just a shortcut
    but that’s just good solid advice
    in general that you need to be looking
    at check out those leases find out the
    the length left on them and the terms
    left on them so
    awesome pro tip thanks for sharing that
    another
    section called recommended resources and
    obviously the coin laundry association
    is
    uh is an awesome resource for owners
    maybe i don’t know if you want to
    highlight maybe some resources
    in particular that you guys have or if
    you have resources that are not
    coin laundry association or i don’t know
    but do you have anything yeah
    i think i can uh hit on some cla stuff
    and some non-cla stuff uh maybe from
    more of a personal perspective but
    from the association standpoint again
    this is an aggregation of 60 years of
    industry know-how this is the knowledge
    base
    this is thousands of laundromat owners
    over decades
    and so we’re sort of the repository of
    those best practices and that best
    information so that comes through
    uh you know planet laundry magazine
    which you can
    subscribe to for free just go to
    plantlaundry.com
    i mentioned the white papers is a great
    resource
    i said yesterday we did a webinar we’re
    doing multiple
    topic specific webinars each and every
    month that you can enroll and take those
    take those courses jordan one of the
    things that we’ve really
    uh beefed up here in the last two years
    is what we’re calling cla business
    solutions so
    again it can be a little bit uh isolated
    running a laundromat you don’t you don’t
    have a lot of help
    right you’re wearing all the hats and so
    one of the things that we’ve done is put
    together the cla business solution so
    we’ve got
    vetted curated uh discounted
    support for your property and liability
    insurance
    your health insurance uh getting
    demographic reports uh we just launched
    a new program with paychecks for
    discounted
    uh payroll processing our amp digital
    marketing
    atmosphere tv we’re helping you with the
    in-store video feeds and several more so
    what we want to do is be an extension of
    your business
    you don’t have the ability to put on a
    marketing director
    you’re not going to have a accounting
    department that’s going to go find you
    the best deals
    we have a great program on utility
    buying uh if you’re in a market that’s
    uh
    that where you can buy deregulated
    utilities for either gas electricity or
    both so
    let us be an extension of your business
    you can’t be an expert in buying natural
    gas and finding payroll processing
    and figuring out how to do the best
    website you know but we can help you do
    that
    through cla business solutions and that
    would be another resource you could find
    on our
    website at coinlaundry.org
    on more of a personal basis on
    recommended resources
    a couple things came to mind i’m a
    believer
    in just recent years you know an old dog
    learning new tricks is i’ve really tried
    to take advantage of executive coaching
    and you might automatically think that
    that’s priced out of your range
    uh don’t assume that i have found that
    you know having a coach uh just like
    anything else
    can be really helpful and i tend to kind
    of change up coaches with different
    perspectives and just different
    approaches um
    and a friend of mine happens to run the
    international coach federation so you
    can go to their website they have a
    great
    tool for finding accredited local
    coaches based on
    uh topic of interest or price point or
    the way you like to learn
    so you know even though you said i’m
    just a laundromat owner
    no you’re a small business entrepreneur
    you need you could benefit i think from
    from coaching just like i do uh each and
    every week so
    uh the coaching i think is something
    that i’d like to share as a recommended
    resource
    just uh generally um i love that i know
    nobody’s brought that up before i really
    love that yeah i mean it’s
    like you know who couldn’t benefit from
    from having a good coach
    and um you had asked about maybe some
    book recommendations i don’t think i’ve
    got anything
    uh you know super secret for you but um
    actually through one of my coaching
    engagements i really took a deep dive
    into
    simon sinek and his book uh start with
    why
    you may have seen it through i think
    it’s the third most watched
    ted talk ever from simon sinek and i
    just think that that’s a great
    book or watch the video or both about
    just really understanding what makes
    your business tick
    why why are you there and using that as
    the platform
    for driving uh your decisions uh in the
    business and making sure that
    you’re taking the best possible care of
    your customers those are a couple of
    recommended resources that i’d
    be happy to share yeah i love that book
    and i think i
    i mean i think that’s great for anybody
    looking to buy their first laundromat
    maybe
    go check that book out first before you
    pull the trigger on that because that’s
    a great book
    and it really digs deep into you know
    what your motivation is and if it’s
    if if your motivation is going to line
    up with you know owning a laundromat
    you know because that’s a big question
    and i see a lot of people who
    you know buy a laundromat and a year or
    two later they’re out of it because it’s
    it didn’t line up with what they were
    looking for so you know start with why
    and and also i think that’s a great
    resource for current
    business owners too um like i mean like
    you mentioned so
    great yeah great yeah and you know and
    you know starting with why maybe that
    could be a segue for me to talk about
    these signs behind me here
    and uh next yeah the laundry the laundry
    cares foundation because for me this has
    had a lot to do with why and so the
    short version
    is uh myself other friends in the
    business we just feel an immense
    amount of gratitude for this industry
    and the livelihood that it’s provided
    you know the way i look at it my career
    for almost 30 years
    starts with that mom dropping a quarter
    in a washing machine you know and those
    families are often from under-resourced
    neighborhoods that we serve
    and it got us thinking about what can we
    do
    to give back and support the families
    that have been supporting our businesses
    all these years and so we
    created a separate foundation the
    laundry cares foundation really with
    that mission of giving back
    to the families that support our
    businesses and as we’ve
    dug deeper into that work we found that
    we really have a
    unique opportunity because we are a
    channel we are a conduit
    for connecting resources with the
    families that need them most
    if you talk to people that are engaged
    in literacy people are engaged in
    uh health care people that are engaged
    in
    providing providing resources to
    low-income families what they’ll tell
    you is these families are hard to find
    right there there’s help available but
    it’s just hard to
    connect with them based on those
    families are busy and they have multiple
    jobs and they’re
    you know they’re uh often uh sort of
    dispersed
    and we said yeah we know where they are
    we know where they are every week
    and we have this tremendous opportunity
    to connect them with resources
    you know so uh our three pillars real
    quickly are
    our free laundry and literacy days uh
    where we
    uh put on or encourage you to put on uh
    a day of free laundry
    uh but build that with uh perhaps free
    food free soap
    and connections to local organizations
    whether it’s a wic clinic or a health
    literacy group or
    a financial literacy group um or a
    reading
    campaign group to you know come to the
    laundromat and help connect
    those customers with the resources that
    can help them
    you’ve probably talked to the willowford
    family a quick anecdote from those guys
    is you know they had one of the
    breast cancer awareness charities
    approached them about setting up a table
    on a saturday afternoon
    and the net result of that was they had
    more sign ups more connections with
    at-risk
    women than they had found in any other
    outreach that they’ve done
    so what we’re trying to do with the
    foundation is
    activate this continuity this connection
    that we have to the communities that
    need the most help
    and our primary effort has been this one
    over here which is the
    uh laundry literacy coalition talk about
    oxymorons
    but knowing that you know the families
    and their kids that are coming to the
    laundromat
    are behind when it comes to kindergarten
    preparedness
    reading at the third grade level by
    third grade uh they often live in book
    deserts
    uh i take for granted with my
    ten-year-old we got more books than we
    can
    uh you know stack up in any one place so
    delivering books
    uh you know is an important part of that
    laundry and literacy day the second
    thing is
    our family replay learn centers which is
    building a mini
    library space in the laundromat we’ve
    all got that
    that corner that you can sort of up
    cycle into a little space with a
    bookshelf and a table and if you’ve seen
    uh the videos at laundrycares.org you
    see that it it is a game changer
    it uh lifts up those families your
    attendants
    hold their heads a bit higher you feel a
    greater sense of purpose
    in your business as a laundromat owner
    and it’s delivering real
    measurable help in the communities by
    having those connections and then we
    partner with local library systems and
    other folks that can come in to
    read stories the third pillar is a
    disaster response and recovery you know
    we know that when there’s a hurricane a
    tornado some kind of natural disaster
    there’s ready help when it comes to
    finding people
    a hot meal a place to stay but laundry
    is one of those really acute needs
    that’s really hard to
    match and solve right away so that’s
    the part of our foundation that we’re
    working hard to develop further but all
    of you are in a position to
    uh provide that type of support we get
    calls from fema we get calls from other
    relief organizations because they really
    need access to
    to laundromats in the wake of those
    storms so the way that
    all of you can help go to
    laundrycares.org one of the things you
    can do for free jordan is just simply
    enroll your locations in our laundry
    cares network
    it’s free put in your locations and all
    you’re doing is raising your hand and
    saying i’m a community friendly
    laundromat
    that’s only that the only commitment
    you’re making but as we work with local
    partners and have opportunities come
    that come up we’re able to find you
    literally on the map you’ll see the map
    on
    coin on closing in on a thousand
    locations
    and that way we can connect you with
    these opportunities to give back to the
    community so
    um for a higher sense of purpose for
    giving back
    and taking care of the the families that
    take care of us
    laundry care’s foundation is a great way
    for you to live that
    and tying it off with new investors
    jordan what i’m hearing from a lot of
    people that are new to the business
    is they’re looking for that corporate
    social responsibility they’re looking
    for
    getting into a business where they can
    have a real impact and so laundry cares
    has actually
    made our industry that much more
    attractive to new investors because
    there’s a built-in csr program
    a ready-made uh banner for them to help
    the community
    yeah i love that i love you know i i
    think that
    you know the the two biggest reasons
    that i think that i hear
    people wanting to get in this business
    is one you know the
    the time and money freedom kind of that
    flex time uh you can have and but
    number two is that you can you can do
    something good for your community right
    and so i think that
    laundry cares does a great job i love
    the three pillars you know those are all
    huge needs and
    i people don’t think laundromats when
    they think of community outreach when
    they think of
    you know disaster relief those kinds of
    things
    but you know as as we’ve seen over this
    last year
    you know laundromats can play a huge
    role in
    in all of these things so i love that
    there’s an organization out there
    uh getting us together and
    and empowering us and giving us the
    opportunities to
    um you know to give back to our
    communities and
    to help you know our communities in
    times of need even
    so and and and just in general not even
    just in times of need but it’s just in
    general
    it’s it’s a it’s a real honor to do this
    work and and
    encourage all of you you volunteer at a
    free laundry day event and it’ll it’ll
    really change your perspective
    and uh you may have seen our hashtag
    laundry’s connecting communities
    because i think that’s really what it
    boils down to you know
    laundry’s connecting communities we have
    a tremendous opportunity and i would
    argue an obligation
    to do this work and to take care of the
    families that take care of us
    awesome well brian this has been awesome
    i’m
    super super grateful and humbled that
    you came on and talked to
    us about you know what it is that you do
    in at the cla and laundry cares and just
    sharing all the wisdom and experience of
    your last
    you know almost 30 years now and
    congrats on 29 years next
    month by the way that’s a big thank you
    big milestone we’ll have to uh
    you know throw some kind of party or
    something next year
    you know maybe a makeover i didn’t have
    all this great stuff
    when i started out yeah yeah maybe
    you’ll have to get i don’t know do you
    get like a
    like a mid-life crisis for being you
    know
    being in there for 30 years let me go
    get a harley or something for your third
    year
    uh i don’t know i’ll just i’ll be
    content with uh
    getting back on the road and getting out
    to see everybody
    again here after the after the pandemic
    but uh
    my pleasure to be here jordan i really
    appreciate the invitation and the
    opportunity to connect with
    with your followers and i just hope
    everybody understands that
    there is a community in this industry
    both from a business perspective and
    from a charitable perspective and
    i appreciate you giving me the
    opportunity to share a little bit about
    what’s going on here
    yeah and just real quick uh why don’t
    you tell people how they can get a hold
    of you
    or um you know find out more information
    about the cla the coin laundry
    association
    yeah thank you for that yeah just like
    most things uh start at the website
    uh coinlottery.org
    our listing is in is in good stead but
    we’re kind of national
    uh in scope so coin lottery.org is a
    great place to learn about
    your membership uh getting engaged to be
    part of this community
    as well as some of the individual
    resources i mentioned laundrycares.org
    which is another place where you can
    learn about the activities of the
    foundation how you can get involved
    and last but not least planetlaundry.com
    which is our flagship publication we’ve
    been uh
    just now past our 30th year of
    publishing the best
    magazine resource in the industry and so
    again if you’re just getting
    your feet wet you can sign up for a free
    subscription print and digital
    and get the best information your hands
    every month from planet lottery magazine
    awesome well and those links and all the
    other links that we talked about
    including
    i’ll throw in the international coaches
    federation all those links that we
    talked about will be in the show notes
    if you’re on youtube
    those will be down below in the comments
    section so make make sure you click
    through those
    uh brian again thank you so much for
    coming on it’s been
    awesome and we’ll definitely have to do
    this again sometime
    i’d love to do it again jordan thanks
    again for having me i appreciate it
    we’ll talk to you soon
    thank you how cool was that episode with
    brian wallace
    super super uh just grateful that he
    came on and shared with us
    uh all this wisdom that he’s had from
    being you know part of this industry for
    a really long time obviously he’s met
    a lot of people in this industry maybe
    some of you guys have met him
    he’s checked out a lot of different
    laundromats so very very cool to get his
    input and
    an insight uh into you know
    this industry and figuring out how to
    help us grow our businesses that’s what
    he does for a living so very cool
    again thanks to brian for joining us uh
    every single week i try to encourage you
    pick one thing that you can put into
    action
    big or small doesn’t matter action is
    the key to success
    so pick something that you could put
    into action this week one of the things
    that i loved
    that he said was that he has
    coaches different coaches at various
    times and i
    love that i’ve been thinking about doing
    that um
    finding some coaches for me personally
    um there’s a whole bunch of different
    kinds of coaches out there
    um you know anywhere from you know
    personal training
    coaching to i think he said he’s doing
    executive coaching
    small business coaching there’s some
    free coaching
    that i’ve heard of through uh i think
    sba does that
    um there’s uh there’s a lot of different
    kinds of coaches out there so
    for me uh i’m gonna be looking for
    my next coach uh to help me take my
    businesses
    whether that’s my laundromats or maybe
    even here at laundromat resource
    to the next level so that could be
    exciting for me
    obviously but it could be really
    exciting for you too if we
    uh you know if we just keep on rolling
    out some cool stuff that we’re doing to
    help laundromat owners out
    too so be on the lookout you know feel
    free to ask me about my coaching
    and what uh what that means for you
    because that should mean something for
    you too i feel like all right
    anyways make sure you pick something put
    it into practice and head over to
    laundromat resource.com
    forums let us know what action step
    you’re taking
    based off of these podcast episodes i
    think that we would all
    really benefit from hearing from each
    other about what action step we’re
    taking
    and what that means for us all right i
    cannot wait
    to see you in the next episode of the
    laundromat resource podcast
    until then we’ll see you peace
    [Music]

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