Eli Carey is retired military. Eli, however, didn’t just retire from the military, he retired to a booming laundry business! His story is fascinating and the path that led him to his three-pronged laundry business demonstrates a feasible path into a prosperous business that many laundromat newcomers can take.

With a combination of grit, smarts, preparation, and the right partners, Eli shares his story from a blossoming vending business to the unique way he acquired his laundromat, to scaling into an impressive laundry service business. 

Eli’s story will leave you energized, inspired, and motivated to push to the next level. He shares his experience, wisdom, and lessons learned along the way to help you build your own successful laundry business.

In today’s show, Eli and Jordan discuss:

  • Eli’s military background
  • How to start a vending machine route
  • How he acquired his laundromat by assuming the seller’s debt
  • Lessons learned from taking over another business owner’s debt
  • Eli’s $15,000 laundromat nightmare
  • All about the dry cleaner business
  • Pandemic-resistant commercial laundry clients
  • The importance of pivoting your business
  • Partnering with the right people
  • Taking action as a new laundromat owner
  • Resources Eli recommends to help you grow yourself and your business

And a whole lot more! If you’re trying to get into the laundromat business with little money, or if you’re trying to scale your laundry business, this is the show for you!

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

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Episode Transcript

hey what’s up guys it’s jordan with the
laundromat resource podcast this is show
number 53
and i’m pumped that you’re here today
because today we’re talking with eli
who’s basically building three
businesses in one
and he gets this business in a very very
unique way
and his path to laundromat ownership is
very
unique but it’s also i think very
applicable to a lot of people who want
to get into this business so i know
you’re going to love this
because not only does he have a lot to
to uh
share with those trying to buy their
first laundromat and the ways that he
went about it there’s a lot of wisdom to
be gained there
but he also was building a behemoth of a
business right now and
hearing the way that he’s building this
out is
i mean it’s awe-inspiring i’m like i’m
so excited right now i’m just
jazzed up from this interview and i know
you’re gonna love it you’re gonna get a
ton
out of it cannot wait for you to meet
levi and
hear his story and and benefit from his
wisdom and experience in this industry
because he’s got a ton to give all right
before we jump into that though i just
want to say
man the every single one of our forums
have been active this week there’s a lot
going on over there
awesome awesome conversations happening
uh go jump in
into those conversations that’s where
growth happens that’s where
uh we you know come together as a
community and
share with one another our wisdom and
our experience share our stories
um answer each other’s questions engage
in conversations and meet up there’s a
lot
one of my favorite things that’s
happening on the forums i mentioned this
already but
uh people are connecting with people in
the same areas
which is just super cool to see so you
know if you’re looking to connect with
other people interested in laundromats
uh you know go introduce yourself on the
introductions forum
and uh go meet some people who are in
your area and some people who are not in
your area
guaranteed to uh guaranteed to help you
grow
your business and yourself personally uh
or your money back hundred percent
so it’s a free forum but uh still
money back guarantee on that one uh all
right so anyways
lotterysource.comforums over there i’ll
put a link down in the description to
this and everything else we talk about
if you’re on youtube it’ll be down below
um you can also find it at uh laundromat
resource
dot com show 53
5’3 so exciting exciting times
uh go jump in ask a question answer
question do it every single week
because that is again how you grow and
also how you get networked in this
community
and after listening to today’s podcast
with
eli you should be more convinced than
ever that it’s really important to
connect with good people in this
industry i know i
am and uh man you know eli is walking
proof of that so
and you’ll see that kind of throughout
his whole interview today
uh the other thing i wanted to just take
a quick second to congratulate
dave laundromat millionaire men’s uh man
he just had an article come out about
him a business insider this week if you
haven’t
checked it out i’ll link to it down
below um it
is behind a paywall business insider
paywall but you also if you want to
check it out you can sign up for
a free trial and then cancel that trial
if you need to i don’t know if i can
really say that on here but
you know we do what we do but anyways uh
go check that article out super super
cool to see him feature there
representing our industry
and uh just sharing with a wider
audience about what it is that we do
and what are the benefits of it and his
um
story in the midst of it so go check
that out congrats dave
keep on doing it man you are killing it
over there and i’m loving every single
minute of it all right man let’s just
jump into it with eli
and you can hear his story because it’s
awesome and i know you’re going to get a
ton out of it so let’s do it with
eli carey today right now let’s just do
it right now
eli thank you man for coming on the show
i’m super excited to have you today how
you doing
i’m doing well thank you thanks for
having me oh man thank you for coming on
i’m excited
excited to hear your story uh and
you know i want to hear a lot about your
experience with automats but before we
get into that
why don’t you tell us a little bit about
who you are and then we’ll go into how
you got into the industry
okay i grew up in oregon um i
spent my formal years there um and that
was significant because my dad was a
pastor but he was also a home builder
um so that’s where i sort of got a
picture of what it looks like to
do what you got to do to support a
family he had a a pretty uh
productive church but he also built
homes and and just
did whatever he needed to to to take
care of us
uh when i was in high school we moved to
cortez uh which is a very small town in
southern colorado
i didn’t enjoy that much is that the
first opportunity i i jumped ship
um uh after high school i moved away for
a short time i moved back to colorado
and then i joined the army uh so in 2000
i joined the army
and they trained me up and sent me to
korea um i spent my first duty station
there
uh went to fort bragg um didn’t enjoy
that atmosphere as much and so i
um got out of the army or active duty
army and went to the colorado army
national guard and started going to
college
um and that was supposed to be that um i
was gonna get out of the military in
2002 and be done with that
um i ended up staying for 20 years uh
and just recited from the army
uh last october all right
congratulations
thank you thank you and i’m i’m glad to
be done with that um at about
10 years active in about 10 years guard
when all is said and done
i left as a first sergeant and i have
some terrific memories and i learned
a a ton of valuable experiences um
but through that process it also
reinforced my desire
to um work for myself um when the
opportunity presented itself
so as i was in active duty during one of
my stints through the state of colorado
i started brainstorming with my
father-in-law for businesses we could do
together
that would give me a platform to leave
active duty
um we came up with a list of cash-based
uh activities including uh laundromats
um coin-op vending um small candy
vending and car washes
um and then we scoured yep we scoured uh
all the the resources see what was
available and then for us
um you know we needed a relatively low
cash barrier to entry
um and so what we landed on window what
we landed on was vending
um and we bought a vending route that
had both full service vending so
um soda and snacks and small candy
machines
and then as we grew that um i was still
active duty
and so i would do that uh with my free
time uh what what i had
and um we realized we could scale the
small candy vending very quickly
so we sold the soda and snack side of it
to a relative
and then we scaled on the small candy
vending we bought several existing
routes
we hired in person and telemarketer
locators and we hit the streets
and i got up to about 450 500 locations
with little
candy machines in them and then i got
orders to go
to uh deployment in like 2016-17
and the relative uh that we sold the
full line vending to we had we paid him
to run the route
um he did the best he could uh
there’s a ton of attrition with it when
we came back it was somewhat smaller
than when we left because he was
balancing his own business as well as
our business
it wasn’t his full-time gig so i got
back and and uh we bought an
additional router a really good one from
a couple gentlemen that that it sort of
aged out he was uh 82 and 78
and they were still uh out there getting
locations they were awesome
um took that on and we kept going
a little bit um through that process
i ended up getting um several pieces of
equipment
in a laundromat um so i had a rack uh
which is you know two inch toys that you
can get that are a little nicer you can
get the branded stuff with the
dc comics and whatnot and i put a coin
pusher
and a crane in there um and then i do a
revenue share with the owner
um and i got that in place and i check
in with them from time to time and
over about two two and a half years i
got to know him built a relationship
with him and we were just talking off
chance one day and he said
you know i’m gonna sell the laundromat
so um
i said well what what what information
do you have
and it accelerated relatively quickly
from that point
um and ultimately i took over the
laundromat by assuming his debt
um and and that’s about it um there was
no cash involved there was some other
small legal considerations to get
through but i
i started a business um and
whereas with the candy business it was a
50 50 split with my father-in-law this
one i did on my own
um and it was uh as far as i could tell
um and i had several people review the
information with me and
you know i’m a brilliant laundromat
owner at this point it was
just going to be here nothing right
it was just going to be able to pay its
own bills and that was
sort of the point i just needed to break
even
um that was in 2019 so in february 1st
2019 i took over
a laundromat and a dry cleaner um they
were
together 5 500 square feet and it’s
about half and half
um the dry cleaner and the laundromat
catered to substantially different
socioeconomic
bases and so i had to learn both sides
but the laundromat was the side
that i had spent more time in at least
with my candy machine so that’s the one
that resonated with me
initially um i wasn’t there a bunch
i inherited the staff um including uh
uh uh two members of the previous
owner’s family so his wife and son
stayed on
um and they were tremendous in in um uh
carrying on the business
and uh you know they already had rapport
with the customers
and then the presser um stayed on the
back and she had been there for 20 years
um and so she’s an expert at what she
does and so i i had
staff in place so i didn’t have to be
there day to day and that was exactly
what i wanted um and then things started
breaking
um and then uh unexpected uh problems
occurred one after the other
i had looked at getting some financing
to do a partial retool
um and then i had a water leak that
ended up to be in a fifteen thousand
dollar
emergency fix rerouting uh had to i had
to re-run pipe entirely
um and so i uh had already got approval
through dexter
to um get this loan and i called and uh
said please cancel the loan and they
weren’t
too pleased with me uh next financial
but
you know it is what it is so so we
worked through that that was late
in 2019 and then i realized i needed to
start
paying a little bit more attention to
how things were going and why
um and uh get really good at keeping the
equipment running
and starting to update the place i’ll
back up just slightly
when i took it over it wasn’t a zombie
mat
and it’s not a nice modern map it’s
somewhere in between
okay which is almost good enough it’s
that home
it you know in like good to great they
talk about the difference between
something that’s working and something
that could be extraordinary
it worked yeah and it got in a steady
amount of customers but it was never
gonna push me over the top
and that’s that’s still the case it’s a
tweener size um
and it’s a mix of equipment but the
ceiling was falling in
um and watermarked everywhere um but the
good news was
a new building owner had put a brand new
roof on it so we redid the ceiling tiles
we started painting things we started
updating
what we could cheaply and then we
started getting to fixing equipment
um the son who stayed on i actually made
that his primary focus
and he’s left the company to to do
skilled trades but he’s still our repair
guy um and he’s
he’s fantastic at it um and over time
he’s uh with that being his primary
focus he’s gotten really adept at
diagnosing and fixing the equipment for
us
so that’s a big priority but i came to a
realization in the end of 2019
that the laundromat wasn’t actually my
profit center
um it because like i said it was steady
um the equipment
mix of what it was was fine i raised my
prices
and i i did what i could to make it as
inviting for the public as possible
uh and put in a new alarm system things
like that to deal with the the late
night uh
problems but i realized for my intents
and purposes
i was gonna make more money per dollar i
spent and per effort i invested on the
dry cleaning side
um for every dollar i spent on the
laundry side i could expect hundreds in
return but
but it was a thousand multiple on the
other side
very ominous to me thinking that
at the end of 2019 knowing now
something’s coming
20 is on the way yeah well let me pause
you okay because
i’m like you’re saying all this stuff
and i’m like fascinated by so much of
what you’re saying
and i want to hear kind of the end of
2019 on
but real quick let me just back you up
for a second because
i have a lot of coaching clients that i
talk to who want to get into laundromats
but maybe they don’t have a lot of money
and you mentioned
two different things that i think are
options for people trying to get into
laundromats
and you utilize both of them
one is starting a little bit smaller
with vending so i want to talk to you a
little bit about
vending and then the other one was
acquiring the laundromat basically by
assuming the dead so i want to talk to
you a little bit about that too
so can we back up just for a second and
talk about
vending and how you decided to get into
that and
and what you had to do to actually get
into that and if you would recommend
people getting into that um i would
but find the thing that makes sense both
for
your skill sets and your market so the
thing that was always going to hold me
back in bending and continues to be the
case
is i don’t enjoy sales and i don’t enjoy
engaging in cold calls so we did a most
of our growth
and unfortunately our market could bear
it but that’s not the case with every
every market by acquiring existing
routes and leveraging their best
locations so we’d upgrade the equipment
we we started with these small three
head plastic machines hundreds of them
um
uh actually at one point we probably had
600 of these little guys
um and for very good locations we’d
leverage it up to a four
select or an eight select and we got
really really good
at small candy vending um i found
uh i i was really patient with locations
i try uh different product mix and over
time just gradually
uh change it out even low producing
locations i stuck with them
longer than than would be recommended at
times and some of them ended up being
fantastic locations and eventually
eventually
we had enough sense to start vending
toys no spoilage
um really if if a toy starts becoming
less popular you just throw it into a
mystery mix
and it revitalizes and so there’s just
no downside to that so bouncy balls and
toys
became sort of a an excellent way for us
to continue to leverage locations
i had one mexican restaurant with an
eight select and i just couldn’t get
anything to move and i put a couple toys
in there and they sold out immediately
well long story short i have eight toys
in there now yeah
yeah um i i just was i just initially
was selling the wrong thing and part of
that was because the machine we started
with only did candy
it didn’t have uh a gumball wheel so he
couldn’t do gumballs
bouncy balls or twice um and so part of
that was
um hard-headedness and just and just
working through it until we
we went through the wall but a ton of
research i was very active on the forums
i read whatever books were available
not a ton but there are some um and now
there’s youtube channels and
and podcasts but in 2012 2013 there were
not
um so now there’s a lot more resources
and very good
robust facebook groups about vending
that i still keep
keep my foot in but for all intents and
purposes i’m out of vending
um i saw vending from the beginning even
when my father-in-law approached me and
said let’s do vending
as the training wheel to learn how to
file for a business
how to run a business and for the most
part i never had employees
if i did it was my brother helping me
ship out machines or it was my
my family member helping me run the
route and cover for me
uh in a pinch but um and i had all the
flexibility in the world
um if i didn’t feel like going out on a
route one day i just didn’t
so it served some of my nature really
well
but at the same time if i need to go out
on a 12-hour day i went out on a 12-hour
day
right um we were fortunate to make some
um network well within our market
and eventually we partnered with a few
different companies that did charity
collections
and charity collections um really paid
the bills
um there was no fluctuation uh vending
machines fluctuate with time
uh in the summer months some of the
candy melts a little quicker or sticks
to the wall or whatever
breaks down but charity collections even
during the pandemic have gone strong
especially the ones
that have drive-throughs so we were able
to
within the umbrella of vending find the
the
ones that worked for us and the ones
that gave us the flexibility to operate
um and i didn’t require a lot of income
uh i was still
doing national guard time so i’d still
get paid to go in
and i get paid for my two weeks of
training and then to go to schools and
stuff
so the collective income was good enough
that i i never i never had to
really try to break through with vending
um i believe
to really break through you need to
leverage the higher revenue higher risk
categories so bigger equipment um and uh
coin pushers at a larger scale which
again very state state colorado it’s no
problem people have
robust pusher routes um but then
you know as we know during the pandemic
everybody that had uh
uh even the national companies that had
the king supers and walmarts
all this all of them are unavailable um
we we made almost no revenue
uh in 2020 with vending um and i’m i’m
all but giving the route to the
gentleman that covered for me previously
we’re selling it to him for a small
amount
and again what he’ll get out of that is
a bunch of equipment and some existing
locations that he can
revive and he’ll get the charity route
which is going to be good
and there’s more coming on that uh the
charity collection charity route is like
those are like the bins where you drop
off clothes and stuff is that what
you’re talking about
no this is like at a fast food
restaurant it’s a national
national change where you donate your
loose change somebody
has to come collect deposit and um
put that information into a database and
that was that was us for our market
um and so we cover and and with that
comes uh
surveys you go in break rooms and take
pictures of the
sodas and snack machines and stuff like
that and that pays pretty well for
minimal minimal effort
so it was just a kind of a niche but
super steady
so if somebody wanted i don’t want to
like beat this
drum too long but if somebody wanted to
get into vending
what what should i mean okay let’s say
they jump into some of the forums and
watch some of the youtubes and stuff
what’s their first step to get into
their first vending route craigslist in
any major market so any city
you know hundreds hundreds of thousands
plus is flooded with equipment and
routes for sale right now
um it’s it’s more available than it had
been previously
um and the quality of equipment that’s
available is excellent um the
the machines continue to get better and
better built and
um it was always a quarter a fair for a
couple decades now
and now there’s a ton of 50 plus
mechanisms on the market and that’s more
properly priced
so the equipment and and the routes are
readily available and then coupled with
the information
if it sounds like it you know it’s
something they can do the cool thing is
it’s
truly one of those side hustle
opportunities you can truly do
any other career and and build it and
you could build just a few locations and
see if you like it and you can get out
with it
get out of it with very low revenue uh
invested or you can get after it and you
can go get nice new equipment and you
can go build a robust route and and go
get pizza parlors and
and large mexican restaurants chinese
buffets they’re right for the picking
yeah seems like right now would actually
probably be a really good time to get
into it if that’s something that like if
you have very
low uh low amount of money to spend
now would be a probably a really good
time because you know
there’s i mean everybody just spent a
year not making any money so the people
who are wanting to get rid of their
stuff and get something for it
you know it might be a time to pick it
up on the cheap and
and uh you know just start hustling
because you know hopefully things are
turning around here and
stuff will start opening back up even
more i mean it is already and
uh and those routes hopefully will be
able to be revived
and you’ll be able to pick up some more
so in the best of times
um a candy route went for 1x multiple
um so probably a 0.75 or less right now
but it’s not like other industries so if
the route makes 30k you buy it for 30k
or less you don’t buy it in a more than
1x multiple
so it is one of those true um and and
um in a lot of cases you can go around
with them while they collect and and
unless they were just clever enough to
go you know juice the machines ahead of
time or anything like that which happens
but it’s really um the due diligence on
a on a candy route
is substantially easier than on other
things because it’s very easy to tell if
the machine is
in bad shape or not um if it’s been well
maintained or not and then what’s
working what’s not you know do they have
good graphics on there
did they put weird weird product mixes
in there and so
super easy to figure out if it and and
like you said a lower cost point to try
it out awesome
cool well thank you for sharing all that
stuff i i think
some people will be intrigued by that so
i appreciate that
let me let me ask you a little bit about
so you built this relationship with this
laundromat owner
and he got to a point where he was ready
to sell
how did it how did you guys come to the
agreement that essentially you would
take over the business by
just assuming his debt how did that how
did that all play out
um so he got to a point where
the the personal debts associated with
the laundromat including the existing
debts
um along with his relationship with a
landlord had soured um the lease was
coming up
and he was not going to be given an
opportunity to renew um and then some
external factors kind of came to came
came to bear
and um he was being advised to file
bankruptcy
um i by assuming his debts i i
gave him the opportunity to not um not
without risk
um and one of the debts was um hard to
explain but but essentially junk
uh it was historical debt from that
existed from two building owners
that he had took on initially from the
building owner who also ran and owned
the laundromat
so just this weird debt that that sort
of hung out there and then um
equipment debt which is pretty
straightforward through alliance so i
just took on his existing alliance
and that that one’s super simple uh as
you know in the
in the industry but i contacted alliance
simple one-page
paperwork and i had a new loan with them
for the equipment um three-year
that’s almost paid off awesome
what made you feel like i mean
okay so when i look at a situation like
that i’m like okay
you know because this is your first
laundromat right so
i you know i work with a lot of
first-time buyers and
you know rightfully so a lot of people
are just very afraid to pull the trigger
on that first one
and you’re not only pulling the trigger
on your first one but you’re
taking over the debts of an owner who
whose business obviously couldn’t
support his debts
but uh so what made you feel like yes
this is a great idea i’m gonna do this
you know what i mean
unbridled optimism yeah i didn’t know
what i didn’t know
um i i did more research when i went
into vending which was a lower risk
than i did going into the laundromat um
it went very
quickly uh i i uh started talking to him
and and
within a couple months it was done um i
didn’t do a
ton of research i did review the
financials with seven different people
in my ecosystem that all said
you know my accountant said this looks
fine um and and then the other people
that i trust said
the numbers look good and and again i
wasn’t looking to make a dime out of it
i had a comfortable
income coming out of candies i just
needed it to pay its own debt
and then over time i thought i can
leverage this and i can increase it
and i’ll turn this into a retirement
play down the road
it was later that i realized how much
work i personally needed put into it to
make it
uh succeed um and the timing couldn’t
have been better
uh with with that realization because
2019 quickly turned
into 2020 right and a lot to figure out
during that time
yeah so would you would you
uh would you do it again if you had that
opportunity
yes to do two things differently um yeah
i would have negotiated the debt
way way way down um and then uh
the other thing i knew nothing about um
and and and so
when i went to negotiate the lease with
the landlord company
who’s a who’s a big builder here in
colorado very successful company
i’m talking with the uh the ceo and the
cfo and i’m in there by myself
and they’re like well this is what we
give you and i was like i’ll take
whatever you say
right i’m the anchor tenant um there’s
several
stores in in the business but i’m in the
building but i’m
by far the biggest i didn’t know the
term anchor tenant i didn’t know what
uh tenant improvement allowance was i
would do all those things i would have
actually hired an attorney
to help me navigate the process and we
would have negotiated
the uh ever living love out of that that
lease and we would have gotten more
favorable terms and more favorable terms
on the debt
as well because the debt is through the
landlord right so i could have i could
have got
um because they were very motivated to
get somebody to take the business over
for the same reasons as the building as
the business owner was motivated to sell
it
they had the same um they had a big 5500
amount of space that already had a plant
build out already had a laundromat built
out
they would rather somebody just take it
so i i had more power than i realized
i didn’t know what to do with it that’s
the only thing i do differently but
otherwise i definitely would have taken
it over again
yeah okay so that so you would just
negot
you said two things negotiating the debt
down was there another one
the least and the debt oh and the lease
and lease yeah yeah did we able to get
um were you able to get a long-term
lease from them or no yes yes i did and
and uh we’re actually working to
renegotiate that i’m taking on more
space in the building
oh nice well use that as an opportunity
to negotiate your current lease down
again we’re working on it that’s a great
time to be negotiating
early so uh okay would you okay so you
would do it again and you got a couple
things you do differently
would you recommend someone else do it
as a way to get into their first
laundromat
yes but you have to have the tolerance
and and you have to have the um
again i had the ability to come and go
from the candy business as i needed to
so i wasn’t tied to a normal 40 an hour
40 hour work week um and then uh you
know when i deployed during
that time frame uh even even when i had
the
the those things i had enough income
coming in that it
it didn’t interrupt my activities so i
had the flexibility
to go fight the big fires at the
laundromat and solve
uh unexpected problems that some people
may not have if they’re either too far
but really um tied down to a real job
um as it were uh and i went into it
expecting to not make income um i just
needed it to service its own debt
yeah okay awesome well i mean i think
that’s really helpful because
you know i i try to tell people there’s
you know
really your your cr your own creativity
is the only
limit to what you can do in terms of
trying to get into this business right
and that’s
that’s a very creative way that you just
don’t hear a lot
you know by assuming debt to get into
the business
and there’s risk involved with that but
one of the points i wanted to make
is that for anyone looking to get into
this business who maybe doesn’t have a
ton of money
to invest into it the thing that you did
probably not even on well not on purpose
it just as a result of your situation
though you
built relationships with people in the
industry and
you know that that allowed opportunities
to be presented to you right that
allowed this
opportunity to you know be there when
that laundromat owner was ready to
sell and you were able to get into the
laundromat so
i just i wanted to point that out
because there’s a lot of people who sit
at home in front of the tv
with a laptop on their lap scrolling
through bisben and biz by cell looking
for laundromats for sale in their area
and while that’s good
you know if you if you don’t have money
to put into your laundromat you’re
probably not going to find a laundromat
that way
right you need to get out there you need
to start meeting people you need to
start
creating opportunities for stuff like
this to happen
for you so i just want to kind of point
that out because i think that’s an
important
thing that leads to a lot of people’s
opportunities and
the people who are sitting around are
like oh man you got lucky
well yeah kind of but you also were out
there building relationships with people
and put yourself in the path of that
opportunity so
uh okay the other thing you mentioned
that is like
probably the fear of many people getting
into their laundromat
is not not too long after you bought
your laundromat you had a huge
fifteen thousand dollar water leak right
yep how long into your your ownership
was that
uh so seven eight months
okay now i mean in i don’t know
stuff like that’s happened to me and it
feels like a punch in the gut a little
bit
um i mean what was that
what was that like i mean you’re seven
eight months into this thing
and things are kind of just cruising
along and you get this
big thing you’re trying to make a move
right by retooling partially
and this this happens so what was that
like and and how did you
how did you deal with it well we weren’t
100
sure uh my water bill had gone up but i
didn’t
properly associate that it’s because i
was probably losing water somewhere so
it had been happening for a while
and it was under the floor and then
eventually the floor heaved
and the tile lifted just slightly and so
my repair guy said hey
i think we got a water leak under there
and so we we brought in
a plumber and they did the the moisture
test and they’re like yeah
and it was one of my mains to one of my
banks of washers
and it was it was under and they were
like we got to demo the floor
and go get this and i said what if we
cut the pipe and we went over the top
instead so
i had developed a relationship with the
distributor for dexter because i was
going to reach
and one of the things we’re going to do
is instead of going under we’re going to
bring the piping from above
to feed that bank of washers and i said
is it possible we just cut this
line going under cap it so there’s no
more water going under there
call it a loss and uh we go up over the
top they’re like yeah
and they did a great job and they ran
three separate drops from that line
the other thing we didn’t have was
isolation valves um
uh and so then they were able to add
isolation valves they built these
great chases going down into the banks
of washers
um but the price tag just kept going up
and up and up and separate from that i
went back to the extra rep and said
since i’m doing this let’s rip out all
this old pvc
and from behind here because they were
redoing um as
as they found the water leak each line
passed there they were like hey and this
wasn’t built right
also this wasn’t built right so this six
thousand dollar repair eventually bled
into a 15
and they weren’t they weren’t taking me
for a ride like
that’s what what reality was every time
they’d open a new
uh cover to look at the pipes so what
had happened was
a discount plumber had come in and put
the copper
and instead of sweating the copper to
the copper to make the valves um they
just like uh
like almost tap sealed it with a torch
and so
when you went to shut off the valve it
just broke in your hand
which it did it broke in my hand and so
we had to rip it all out and build it
right
uh with uh and there was nothing to um
stop it
uh what’s the term hammer the um oh yeah
the water water hammer
yeah and so we had to so it was a full
upgrade and then i got a new trough
at the same time so the distributor came
uh behind and we got a a
custom-made trough from here in colorado
and a 15 000
repair essentially um that was the end
of my credit cards
and i went okay all right i’m done
spending so i got to go cancel this loan
um and uh and i had just brought an
employee on and i had to let her go
uh at the same time because that was the
way i could pay for this i brought her
back
um uh shortly after as quickly as i
could i brought her back
i just said i i can’t afford you for
this time
um i will bring you back as soon as i i
can and i did
uh and she was a really hard worker she
was just uh the the last one i hired so
she was obviously gonna be the first one
to go uh in those circumstances
yeah that’s uh that’s brutal and you
know what’s
double brutal about that is that all
that all that stuff
it’s nothing that anyone will ever see
it doesn’t add anything i mean obviously
it adds a lot to your business because
you got to have water to those machines
for them to work but nobody will ever
see it so it’s all inside the wall stuff
and so you know customers aren’t going
to be like oh
you got new shiny plumbing back there
see what’s inside that bulkhead exactly
yeah so that i mean that’s brutal that’s
a hard hit
and that’s why i caution people who you
know want to get into this business
uh with very little money um you know
you can
but there’s risk involved and if
something like that happens six
seven months into your your ownership
and it’s going to cost you 15 grand and
you don’t have a way to pay for it
that could be the end of your business
right there
um so just something to be aware of and
again that’s
you know a worst case scenario but it
does happen
you know you this happened to you you
know ross dodds who was
uh i think show nine his burned down
you know a couple days after he bought
it you know i mean like stuff happens
right like
you just gotta be gotta be ready for it
okay
so sorry i cut your story off but i
was you’re like oh yeah i started in the
vending you know oh yeah i
assumed you know his debt and that’s how
i got in oh yeah we had this 15 000
leak and i’m like i gotta know more
about all these things what’s going on
okay so take us back we’re in
the end towards the end of 2019
and you just decided okay
my my big money is coming from the dry
cleaner
um you know my my laundromat is paying
the bills uh
but if i invest in my dry cleaner i’m
gonna be good to go
go okay what what i inherited on the dry
cleaning side was
a route full of um
uh typical uh dry cleaning customers a
robust route
and i inherited several commercial
contracts um
including police departments um and
those uh
are good contracts obviously um anchor
contracts
and i realized if i got smart on how to
bid
and uh solicit more commercial contracts
that’s specifically what i meant by my
my dollar uh spent on advertising or
upgrading the laundromat if i spent
those same dollars on the other side
the return had more potential um and so
we we invested twofold into the dry
cleaning side um we started advertising
more heavily
on the pickup and delivery including
finding other companies that already did
it
um and and leveraging those platforms um
and so there was a local lady that uh
had a decent um home-based
laundry service and her model was to
just
hire housewives to handle three or four
people’s laundry a month
well she grew it to the point where that
was untenable and it was very difficult
for the quality
and i sat down with her and said let me
be the backend you go find customers
we’ll pick up deliver and wash it um and
we grew that to a certain point
and that started at the end of 2019 uh
as well as going and getting more
commercial contracts
prior to cobid we had gained a lot of
momentum
uh getting more uh local chiropractors
dentists
um uh massage therapy um contracts
some of which we still have some of
which didn’t survive
um and then we we had um some of the
other ones already small gyms menchie’s
uh you know local yogurt shops
restaurants what not
um so going
into the end of 2019 i spent
a lot of time doing the ownership level
stuff but
really getting into the numbers what are
we spending our money on and what are we
getting from that we started paring down
our efforts on um on
certain aspects of the delivery route um
and trying to
enhance others um the
the dry cleaning base delivery route was
massive
and it was what i called a drive-in hope
route um the driver would leave in the
morning with a long list
and he’d just come back with whatever
was left on the front porch
sometimes that was good sometimes that
was four bags but it was a six hour
drive
um to make this loop four to six
depending on the driver’s experience and
the number of
of bags left out um i i realized that
model wasn’t sustainable so i started
researching
how to do that and that’s where i also
found other platforms
that did the um that did the the pickup
and delivery
more successfully with uh more of an
on-demand type aspect or
as needed type aspect and instead of an
assigned day
um and so we were starting to transition
to that and i started to approach
more police departments and then um
the world sort of crashed to and halt in
in 2020
um and uh very quickly
we lost 85 of our revenue on the dry
cleaning side
the the only things we still had were
the police accounts because they were
never going away
but that relationship i had made uh with
the local lady
um she landed a nursing home um right
before the pandemic
and why did they need our service and so
all of a sudden we had another anchor
account
and so i said well uh we’re gonna have
to pivot we’re gonna have to transition
and so um
the thing that happened for me that
didn’t happen with other dry cleaners
um is i had a whole other side of my
business i could leverage
so i used the professional look of the
dry cleaning side to go after the
biggest and best communities
and say we’ll come to you at the same
time
i did lose some walk-in laundry
customers so i did a robust
um facebook campaign and i did a dollar
a pound wash dry full which is
not ever going to happen again but i was
able to just
pay my employees to come to work based
on the work that we were able to get
through those simple accounts i made no
money
but i didn’t lose any money either i
paid my bills i never had to ask
i reached out to the landlord and said
if it goes bad what are our options and
they laid it out for me
it never it never ended up going down
that path um
but i very aggressively um went after
any
thing that would and i drove all over
denver 45 minutes away hour away it
didn’t matter i would go get it
um and we washed anything um and uh
our dry cleaners only ran as as needed
on the machines
um but we still had a couple of clients
that sent in
you know stuff every week um and slowly
but surely
we started um recouping our
we we started increasing our wash dry
fold
on pace with what we were bringing
monthly on the dry cleaning side
we were we were fortunate to get the
payroll protection as well
um about 45 days into this process
and then three months in we got the
e-i-d-l and that’s where i knew
with the momentum we were getting and
some strategic um uh
spending we could we could actually come
out ahead during this thing so long
story
short by the end of 2020 we had
um replaced all of our previous revenue
with pickup revenue
so i made exactly the same amount of
money in 2020 as i did in 2019
um i but i still only was at 75 i’m
sorry
25 of my retail
dry clean customers um and i went we’re
going to be fine
and again i was able to leverage uh
something so then coming
something else really cool happened at
the end of 2020 um by
by just good fortune a gentleman moved
up from texas
uh that had robust dry cleaning
experience and was just relocating with
his family
and asked if i had any need for an
experienced gm
and uh and i don’t think he knew exactly
um what he was getting into um but i
have been extremely fortunate to have a
gm and i know on a lot of these podcasts
people have talked about having the
right person
to run the ship dave men’s has a
tremendous gm she runs that business
dave’s fantastic but but she runs the
business yeah
the dave can do dave things right he can
build he can build the other parts
anyways
so i i got a gm in october of 2020 and i
started saying this is what i’m looking
at
and we were in lockstep and we have been
since
and he he is good at two things uh the
business management
of the the overall company and getting
sales
so i said this is what we need this is
what we’re gonna go do
um i was after those police accounts i
had two
uh going into the end of 2021 at the end
uh beginning of 2021 we picked up two
more
we’re about to pick up two more and we
have two more that we’re negotiating
with
so that would get us up to six going on
eight
um our target is is ten um and then we
would actually have a full-time staff
that all they did was
process police uniforms um tag wash
press pick up and deliver please student
forms that would be their only job
they’d be pre-vetted uh they get badged
fingerprinted and they just go to police
so yeah so pretty
pretty seamless for because of my
background with the military um
a number of my uh fellow uh
service members um were in the police
departments
and the the big account that we picked
up at the beginning
of this year nobody’s given me a better
introduction
in my life um i i served with the
gentleman who who’s an officer in the
military
and a uh an agent with this uh specific
police department they call all their
officers agents um
that sounds like he’s strong i like that
it’s it’s really cool they get paid a
little more too because they’re agents
it’s pretty nice he gave me the best
possible intro i ever could have gotten
and they had a provider already um but
it went up for open bid
and um we were able to build rapport
with them and win the bid
and um from there we picked up another
one uh who linked us to another one
um and we’ve brought on a commissioned
salesperson to go get police departments
and um dental offices that’s his
background he’s a
he’s a police officer and he has a
background in dental as well
that’s awesome yeah it’s tremendous
so yeah the the commercial big
commercial accounts
as well as residential wash dry fold
is where we are making all our money and
we’re finally starting to get back
colorado’s starting open so we’re
starting to get back our dry cleaning
customers
so i’m going to have i’ve looked at it
very specifically as three distinct
but important um uh fingers
uh for our business my gm calls them
silos but
our silos have many silos going
underneath them as well
but these three big streams self-serve
coin-op um dry clean resale side
and then um pick-up and delivery
residential and commercial and they
require different equipment
they require different employees and
they require different lines of effort
yeah i mean you got you have you got the
operation going over there man you got a
lot going on this
this you know kind of failing business
that you take over
is is booming man you got i mean it’s
complicated you got these big three
silos they do
they require different skill sets
different equipment
different employees different systems
you got a lot going on you’re not on the
uh
tiny toy candy vending routes anymore
with this legitimate business you have
going here
yep wow okay so i mean dry cleaning’s
coming back a little bit
right and i admit that what i love about
that
is you were able to find a way to pivot
you know during the pandemic you’ve
you’ve kind of clawed your
your way into uh you know
residential pickup and delivery and just
did
whatever it took what you had to do and
you kind of built this other
silo uh you know during the pandemic and
now you’re in a pretty good spot where
that that was able to kind of help you
keep your
dry cleaning side afloat for a little
while and so
when it when it’s back you know you’re
going to be
in pretty good shape it seems like yes
yeah awesome the employees pivoted with
me
um you know i the lady in the back and
and her staff
they they’re professional dry cleaners
they get paid a little bit more they’re
they’re expected to do a little bit more
they transition to going over the other
side and washing laundry all day and
folding it
um seamlessly and they understood um
on their own what what what we were
trying to do what was at stake but also
what was possible for us
and now they’re um doing partial
of each they’re going back to doing uh
more pressing
um but they’re also uh but in time
you know they’ve been rewarded right
along with me um we’re busy
um the the revenues back the customers
are back
and as a result i’m i’m able to take
care of them
because they took care of me during a
tough time and they stuck with me when
we pivoted
i lost no employees um i let no
employees go
i i had some leave during the pandemic
for a number of reasons
and that’s understandable it was a
mentally a tough time for people
but i did not let any employees go
during that time period
yeah yeah only when you had the uh
when the when you had the big leak and
you had to let the new employees
see that man the water leaks get you
more than covered sometimes
uh man it’s pretty cool okay so
i mean how’s this year been going in
terms of your
you know and is the is the self-serve
side how has that been
steady has it been growing has it been
going down
as you’re doing all this other stuff um
so we’ve put it at risk um it has grown
um we’re to the point now
where the the volume that we’re doing um
because i’m utilizing my
my normal staff um we’re doing it during
the day and at times people walk in they
look around they see every piece of
equipment is full and they have to leave
um
and i i offer them other solutions and
sometimes we just offer to do their
laundry forum
um for a price but we we try to remedy
the situation
um if we can so what we’ve been looking
at is
uh late last year um i took on another
retail space in my building
and we just um fold and bag laundry out
of that space
we’re doing roughly four to five
thousand pounds a week on the retail
side so we do it up there
and that way at least as soon as we can
we get it physically out of the
laundromat right it’s just a couple
couples uh doors up from where we are um
since uh late last year and very
aggressively since the beginning this
year we’ve been looking at either
purchasing a new building
a new laundromat or a industrial space
to build out
um uh to what we to what we want to do
and what i finally
settled in on and now we’re going to do
a variation of this
was if i got a six to a six thousand ten
thousand square foot industrial space
i can offsite my plant and have a
massive plant
um as well as opl so the on-premise push
button start laundry
and we could do the majority of that
those operations over there
and then we could make the we could take
the laundromat and make it a 4 000
square foot
plus modern laundromat which is what the
industry is clearly going to
um with modern amenities updated
equipment and we can basically retool
it um the building owners
have historically had zero success
renting the basement
it’s a 5500 square foot raw basement
with bad access
big staircase but um no uh elevator or
anything like that and it does it’s not
super attractive and there’s not a ton
of parking
they’re gonna give me beyond a
sweetheart deal to go down there
including helping me with the build out
so they’re gonna build the
infrastructure
if i do the equipment purchase and
install
so we’re in we’re in the late
negotiations on that and that is my goal
if we can do that um as well as we made
an offer last week that
uh has been accepted for a dry cleaner
up the street
we’re gonna actually use them as our
plant do a partial demo
of the laundry mat and extend it but um
uh we’re being gifted a uh a very large
piece of industrial
equipment that folds and presses sheets
um
at a commercial grade scale so so we can
go after um hotels
nursing homes um and things of that
nature and even
um some of our large-scale massage
therapy it would just cut down the work
to
minutes instead of hours so we we got a
we’re finding a way to build out our
three prongs um and so we’re updating
and off siding the plant we’re gonna
make opl downstairs and we’re gonna
extend the basement
and so then we can best serve our coin
out customers
um as well as having a robust space
we’re going to use about a fraction
about a quarter of that 500 square feet
and only build out that much with the
infrastructure to grow as needed
um and then uh then that will
really that gives us years of of growth
from there um and then i i might be able
to make this thing passive
at some point yeah i was gonna say it’s
not sounding very passive right now but
you know what i mean when you got an
operation
that you’re building that’s on that
scale i mean
it takes work and it takes you know some
hustle and especially on those early
you know phases and when the world is
you know spiraling the drain or whatever
and you’re trying to keep your
businesses afloat and
you know it just but it you’re going to
come out
hugely on top man i mean essentially
you’re going to have three
successful businesses coming out of this
laundromat dry cleaner that you took
over taking someone else’s dead on right
i mean it’s essentially
it’s a three-prong thing but i mean it’s
basically three separate businesses that
you have going on
um and kind of under one umbrella
that that you’re building out and it
sounds like they’re all
you know gonna be pretty successful so
yeah maybe it’s not passive right now um
but but you’re moving to the big leagues
right you’re not
you’re moving to the big leagues so
that’s pretty cool uh out of curiosity
would you recommend uh
maybe laundromat owners or somebody
maybe somebody trying to buy
a laundrette right now would you
recommend
them going the
laundromat dry cleaner route right at
this point in time we’re in what
april of 2021 would you recommend that
not necessarily um i still don’t know
anything about dry cleaning
and i don’t be perfectly honest um i
don’t work the front desk
um i don’t know how to get a stain out i
don’t know how to press a shirt
um the only reason mine is successful is
because i inherited such knowledgeable
staff
and then the gentleman i brought in is
is
an expert in dry cleaning and and so i
was fortunate in that way
i i’m not saying it it’s not a great
potential but you need somebody
with a lot of experience the maintenance
on dry cleaning is brutal
um uh as well as as laundry the
difference is it’s hot steam
um and there’s way less people certified
to work on it in the greater denver area
there’s a guy
uh that that um you can find on on
google uh that works on dry cleaning
um even even going through pipefitters
um they won’t work on the steam um
they’ll they’ll install boilers
and they’ll run pipe away from the
boiler but not hooking into the the
equipment
you need steam you need air um air’s not
super complicated but
but uh people don’t love steam and then
um dry cleaning has bad rap
um even even prior to it it’s becoming
less necessary because people are going
to transition away from it
um that being said there’s still plenty
of garments to say dry clean only
but the chemicals involved what we found
when we started looking at all these
spaces
is uh so we hired an agent we went on a
tour and some of the spaces he told us
to like
they they said no and don’t look at any
of our properties we’re not interested
in having dry cleaning
um um some of them have been burned in
the past and some of them are still
working on
a a notion that everything we do is
toxic
in that industry um so the ones that are
remediating
old dry cleaners the waste uh that they
that they have to
clean and the bill that they’re getting
is is eye popping
and it gives them no stomach to uh even
entertain us
um they didn’t even want to hear me tell
them hey it’s changed
um uh but uh and some of them they
immediately ask
okay you work with nasty stuff how are
you gonna make it so i’m not liable
a fair question um so finding an
existing space
yes um as long as uh they get a good
environmental hazard study done
um our building owner just refined the
building and they had to do another
environmental hazard study
and they came and drilled a dozen core
samples to
uh uh 12 feet deep to see if our
chemicals had
um gotten to the bedrock therefore
contaminating the water supply
they did not um but in most cases in
colorado
i think the guy said there’s 20 000 um
percoethylene so perk is the nasty
chemical that was used in uh dry
cleaners forever
20 000 um active uh contamination sites
in colorado
um so more complicated than laundromat
for
sure and i don’t know anything about dry
cleaners
except for i’ve been i’ve been good at
going and getting dry cleaning clientele
um it resonates with me um and there is
there is some carryover um between the
two and i think that they partner
extremely well together
so if you either can bring somebody on
with the right background
or um in a in a number of cases they’re
adjacent to one another
um oftentimes uh laundromat owners just
demo the dry cleaner and expand the
laundromat
there are there are instances where i i
would say you can attract
different bigger and more attractive
clientele
if you have the stomach for the dry
cleaning because we can go after
partners
that i couldn’t go after if i was just a
dry cleaner
and i always would have built a dry
cleaning
or a laundromat delivery route i already
had one as a dry cleaner it was
super easy to just expand it so i have
three vehicles now
that run pretty constantly to to service
both sides of it
but it was an easy transition because i
was already in that space
yeah that’s a good point that’s a good
point yeah i get a little
i get a little scared of dry cleaning
and it’s probably just because i don’t
know a ton about the business and
you know it is traditionally uh you know
kind of gets a bad rap and
and and it’s just complicated and i’m
just not that smart so
yes sir uh well hey i
i mean this your story is pretty awesome
it’s like a pretty cool
story going from you know from your
military background off
which you know thank you for all 20 plus
years of service uh
for one but doing that and then looking
you know it’s it’s kind of funny so i
have a cousin who just retired from the
air force after
i don’t know 20 plus years also and he
he got out
and he’s trying to figure out like i
mean he he’s got a path and everything
but it’s like
it’s just different right because now he
has all the options
he can do like what he wants now and
for so long it’s like you’re gonna live
here you’re gonna do this you’re
you know like and so you know
but for you coming out of that and
saying okay i’m gonna
you know start a vending route and then
from that kind of pretty quickly
jumping into laundromats and dry
cleaning and then pretty quickly again
scaling that business is that’s pretty
awesome
uh just a pretty awesome progression
that you’ve been going through
um we got a section called down to
business
[Applause]
and that’s where we just i mean you’ve
already told us a lot about your
business but i’m just i’m curious
you know we’ll we’ll probably focus a
little more on the laundromat
side uh but you know even for you know
the dry cleaner and your
in your pickup and delivery stuff too uh
but tell us again where
are you located yes i’m uh
just outside of the denver metro area
small town
not a small town but a town called
arvada um but i touch
the the greater denver region um so for
all inserts purposes denver colorado
yeah awesome denver is awesome i like i
like denver
that’s wonderful yeah okay so you have
one laundromat one dry cleaner
but you’re acquiring another one
are you when you acquire that other one
are you
i know you said you’re gonna do like a
partial demo
what are you doing with the dry cleaning
space that you currently have are you
we’re going to current we’re going to um
further siphon it so what our intent is
is to at the new bigger one it will be
our residential dry cleaners so we’ll
run all the police through there
and all of our residential pickup and uh
delivery and
in-store uh walk-in customers okay um
with the current one we’re gonna
partially demo it and we’re gonna do all
of our large commercial
uh uh industrial work there including
that
those pieces of equipment we’re getting
and so all of our
large-scale wash dry fold operations
will will happen there
but the required dry cleaning uh
processes now
uh we’re we’ll probably shut the dry
cleaning machine down what we’re going
to keep up and running is all the
pressing equipment
um sheets and towels and things like
that so did you get that big folder like
for your birthday or something you said
it was gifted
to you partners uh we uh the gm i
brought on
um i had some good relationships down
texas
we reached out to them to build
something they said you know what we
believe in what we’re doing we’re going
to give you this machine
that’s so awesome it was uh it was
unexpected it’s it’s it’s a really
they’re gonna we’re gonna pay to ship it
and install it um but uh it it’s gonna
it’s gonna open a um a pathway for us
that’s
uh really massive yeah
yeah pretty cool yeah another thing i
mean we didn’t really
you’ve been saying this but we didn’t
really like pinpoint this
one things i really love that you’re
doing
is and some of it you’re doing on
purpose and some of it
you’re just kind of quote unquote
looking into but like
you seem like you’re really really good
at going out getting accounts
and you know and kind of driving the
business
forward and you know it cracking me up
when you say you don’t even know how to
get a stain out or you don’t know
anything about dry
cleaning right and you’re buying your
second plant
right but uh but you’re
you’re really good at doing you know
going to get accounts
and you’re also really good at
or really lucky or both at getting other
people to do
things that are really good at the
things that either you’re not good at or
you don’t
want to do or you just don’t want to
learn about um
and i i mean i think that’s a huge i
don’t want to like
gloss over that because i think that’s a
huge uh
characteristic of someone who’s
successful right is
do the things that you’re really good at
and get other people to do the
things that you’re not good at who are
good at those things right and you’ve
said multiple times like
i inherited this staff and they’re
really good they know all this stuff
right
awesome you know i lucked into this
texas guy who’s just really good he
knows all the stuff right like
awesome you know and then hiring a uh
commissioned sales rep to go get nursing
homes and
and police uh or no dentists and police
uh you know accounts like awesome like
right so i just i didn’t want to gloss
over that because i think it’s a really
important point of something that i
think you’re doing really well
whether it’s on purpose or an accident
or whatever irrelevant
because it’s happening right and it’s
and it’s working
so um okay so when did you
when did you buy all this stuff again
you said in
2019 ever february 1st 2019.
just over two years wow i mean you’ve
come a long way in two years man
i love it uh in terms of your coin
laundry
can you talk to talk to us about what
what does it cost to do
laundry yep um we kept it pretty simple
we’re a dollar bigger than the machine
so the horizons are three bucks the 30s
are four
the 40s are five the the 60s are seven
um
uh as part of the so i am starting the
retool
on the laundry side regardless of of
whether we grow it out or not
um and and i’ll get bigger equipment
i’ll do the same thing it’ll be a dollar
more than the size of the machine
yeah cool i like i like the simplicity
of that
uh do you have any sense of like how
many
turns per day you’re doing in that
laundromat we’re over four um
of of coin turns we use the equipment so
much
that the the equipment life is getting
way more turns than that but as far as
like monetary terms we’re over four
um but we get uh we get fully half of
that on sunday
um we we get we get if if i was just to
break it up between
monday through saturday and sunday it’s
half and half um
sunday is huge that’s crazy just going
non-stop on sunday
that’s pretty good uh do you have people
who are attending
your laundromat side fully or you
partially or how are you
handling that it’s it’s uh because we
have a front desk
dry cleaning person at all times they
they pop in and out of the laundry to
help to break change and all that
so we’re we’re partially attended
without it being
intentional and then i have so many
uh i have four to five people processing
laundry in the laundromat all day
they’re also helping
that being said we just hired a a
gentleman that starts on monday
and he’ll be from two o’clock to ten
o’clock and his
job title especially later in the day is
a ten uh laundromat attendant
okay um he’s gonna help with the uh the
wash dry fold up to a certain point
and then we close it for the day anyways
uh on our end
um and then he’ll close the laundromat
so he’ll pull it
clean help customers all that stuff
until 10 pm and then he’ll shut the
doors
they auto lock after that but we have a
lot of people to prop the doors and stay
after i’ve been calling the police a lot
yeah yeah you got to stay on top of that
it’s
you know that’s just everywhere
are you doing coin only no card at this
point um we
we are at the beginning of a retool um
we will
order equipment soon uh we’ll have it
sometime this year it looks like
um and then and then we will start
adding coin i’m sorry card and then we
will be a hybrid store but coin hybrid
yeah i like that i like that and
right how many hours do you think you’re
spending right now i mean you’re in like
mega growth mode in three different
businesses so
expecting a relatively large number but
you
you got a ballpark of how many hours a
week you’re spending i do
uh it it’s up to 60. um between 50 and
60 that being said
um with the way that the day-to-day
operations are set up
um i’m gonna get at least uh four weeks
away
um i’ve already had um uh
two one week of vacations so first week
of january
then over spring break i’m going to
mexico here pretty quick uh
going away for the fourth so um i i
spent a lot of time when i’m there but
when i leave i leave
and i don’t i don’t hear uh from from
the gm while i’m gone
um unless uh he he texted me last time
with a list of uh
accomplishments um like he went and got
some more accounts
um it’s like way better when you’re not
here yeah
yeah that was my response i was like so
i should be gone more
yeah so that’s there were fires small
fires put out but he’s well equipped to
handle those
like literal fires no
no yeah
yeah that’s awesome that’s and you know
what like
man i would love for employees to be
bragging to me about how good things are
going when i’m not there
that’s because i mean right like that’s
the goal you said hopefully it’ll be
more passive
down the line well that’s that’s the way
you get there and making them feel good
about
them running that business well when
you’re not there is
you know that’s key awesome well we got
a section called secret sauce
listen up it’s the secret sauce
secret sauce is for current owners you
know what’s something that’s working
really well in your business that you
feel like other people can implement
into their businesses to help them
improve
so i i had these questions ahead of time
so i had some time to think about this
and i wrote down pivot and partners
so what’s worked uh really well for me
is
is uh partnering with uh people that
that uh already know how to do this um
most recently we partnered with
happiness
um tremendous opportunity we went and
hung out with dave
um also tremendous opportunity uh we
just got talking about what a a highly
functional team looks like
that’s a highly functional team he’s got
out there he’s got a staff
that enjoy what they’re doing um he
treats them well he rewards them well
so partnering with people like that but
um even locally i i have a distributor
i’m i’m very close with this outfit on
texas is helping us
do some these big projects and um we
pivoted repeatedly
as uh called for and then we found out
what works within those
uh market segments yeah i think that’s
great i mean that’s kind of what i was
saying too like you did an awesome job
of pivoting
and you’re doing a really awesome job of
partnering with people who
are doing the things that either you
don’t know how to do or don’t want to
know how to do um so i mean i think
that’s great and not only did you bring
some amazing amazing secret sauce but
you used alliteration so you get bonus
points
for that uh all right we got another
section called
pro tips
[Music]
and pro tips is for the newbie somebody
trying to get their first
laundromat what advice would you give to
them
all right you’re gonna love it uh learn
and launch yes
all right so figure out what it takes to
go after it um
that’s easy for me to say right because
i didn’t figure out anything i just went
after it
but um as i got into it and realized
that it required
uh me to to do some learning i did i i i
really i spent evenings i spent weekends
um i was so excited when i started
finding
laundromat podcasts were available um
and
and books and the the industry has never
been
more ripe cla you know all these
organizations have
fantastic and robust amounts of
information um
yourself dave there’s several other
mentors out there that can
um help people avoid the pitfalls and
and
you know realize truly what it takes but
also give them encouragement to go
hey you’ve been looking into this get
after it so learn then launch
yeah i love that and double bonus points
for
double alliteration so i mean you’re
you’re on fire
today uh all right well we got another
section called recommended resources and
just
hey what what resources would you
recommend to help people grow themselves
personally
or their businesses um so
there’s a book that really resonates
with me i’ve read it a couple times i’ll
read it again soon it’s extreme
ownership
uh jocko willing he’s got a podcast as
well he’s got a military background that
that that’s an easy uh easy bridge for
me but his
um the concepts that he takes and puts
in
uh to business and it’s specifically at
the ownership level
um if something goes wrong it’s never
anybody’s fault but your own and he
explains that extremely well it’s not
um a myopic look at at um ownership it’s
it’s an aggressive look at you know if
you didn’t train them well enough that’s
on you if you didn’t prepare them well
enough if you didn’t prepare the
battlefield to see
the store just really like how he breaks
it down in his approach
it’s an aggressive approach but i
appreciate it yeah i love
that book and i love that recommendation
so i’m gonna give you bonus points for
that too triple bonus points today
uh no but i love uh i love that because
it’s the it’s the polar opposite of
the um you know of the mindset that
we run into a lot i feel like in our
industry
um with a lot of our clientele which is
nothing is my fault you know everything
is someone else’s fault
and you know basically his premise is
nothing is ever anyone else’s fault
it’s always on you so take ownership of
it
and when you take ownership of it it
gives you control
of the situation if it’s somebody else’s
fault you’re a victim there’s nothing
you can do about it
right and there’s no there’s no action
to be taken and his point
is you know if you take ownership of
everything so if somebody
one of your employees does something
wrong and you take responsibility for it
now you have the ability to take some
action to solve that problem
and i i mean i just i love that premise
i love the book
awesome recommendation if you have not
read it i’ll put a link to it
down below if you haven’t read it uh go
get it or rent it from the library or an
audiobook or something because it’s
it’s awesome very good resource
well hey man this has been i’ve
literally i’ve been
riveted this entire time from
the vending uh uh business that you
started
to the way that you acquired your
laundromat dry cleaner to
your 15 000 leak down to you
scaling out these kind of three three
prongs of your business which is kind of
three businesses and the way that you’re
going about it
i just i’m like i’m leaving this thing
super excited because
you know your energy is just infectious
and i love
you and i thought your secret sauce was
perfect because it perfectly describes
everything
your whole story right um just you know
pivot and then partner with the right
people and you know you’re
you’re bound for success that way that’s
you know that’s the way that you go so
this has been awesome i have one more
question for you
if people have any questions for you
what’s the best way they can get a hold
of you
um maybe they just want to say thank you
for sharing or maybe they have questions
about
you know how to get a stain out of a
shirt or something how do they get a
hold of you
hey i have that answer because i have
somebody
you talked to my gm guy over here um so
it’s eli
uh e-l-i at sunshine dry clean but the
the clean is abbreviated so it’s
sunshine d-r-y-c-l-n.com
sunshine dryclean.com awesome
well hey thank you again for sharing
your story and
i just yeah i’m just i’m pretty jazzed
about
you and everything that you’re doing so
i appreciate you sharing it and looking
forward to staying in touch
and we’ll have to have you back on to
see how your
uh your opl goes and your new
acquisition for your new dry cleaning
plant
and who knows probably next time we have
you on you’ll have
you’ll have spread over all of colorado
or something working on it
well thanks again man and we’ll talk to
you again soon thank you jordan
all right that was an awesome awesome
interview with eli
dude i just am so psyched up
like his energy is infectious and his
just his story and the way that he uh
delivers it and also
just the path that he’s taken his secret
sauce of
pivoting and partners it was my big
takeaway today every single week i
encourage you pick something from the
interview
to put into practice and for me it was
that pivoting and partners point that he
made
uh where you know pivot when you need to
pivot and partner with the best people
out there and you know i’ve said it
before on here
you know when you work with the best you
become the best and eli
i think is proof of that not i mean he
was obviously he’s an awesome guy
uh you know from from the get-go even
before he got into this
but partnering with the right people in
this industry is really i mean i am
blown away by the business he’s
he’s building uh in such a short amount
of time in this industry and a big part
of that is
getting partnered up with the right
people so do that
uh no matter where you’re at on your
journey whether you are you know just
getting started or if you have been
doing laundromats for a long time and
you’re a pro
there’s there’s more growth to be had
there so
find people who are pushing you to be
bigger and better
that’s what i’m doing uh right now in
in who i’m networking with who i
am spending my time with my whole um you
know
five people closest to me thing i’m
trying to push outside of my comfort
zone outside of my boundaries
to uh to grow and you know that’s
something that that we all can do so
pick your one thing
go to the forums and share what your one
thing is that you’re putting into action
this week
and we will see you again next week here
on the laundromat resource podcast
in between now and then hopefully we’ll
see on the forums all right we’ll see
you guys soon
[Music]

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