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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