2. From Unexpectedly Buying a Laundromat on Craigslist to a Small Laundromat Empire With Dave Menz

Long-time multi-store owner Dave Menz shares his experience about how he got into the laundromat industry, how his journey took him from small time to big time, and what his plans are to expand from here. This episode is PACKED full of practical wisdom and successful mindsets that will help you propel your business to the next level!

If you have aspirations of growing an empire, Dave brings the wisdom and mindset that you will need to get your first laundromat, scale to multiple laundromats, and grow beyond that. Dave is on the move and in this episode of the Laundromat Resource Podcast he holds nothing back, sharing exactly how he’s gotten to where he is now.

Listen to this episode now!

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Episode Transcript

all right buckle up cuz we’re bringing
in Dave Menz right now all right so
we’re here with Dave Dave how’s it going
man yeah how are you I’m doing well
it’s a little chilly here in California
it’s like 55 and there’s actually this
water falling from the sky right now
it’s kind of yeah that’s called weather
one of the reasons I don’t live in Ohio
then yeah you handle it I understand
thanks for being on the podcast I’m
really excited you have such a really
cool story and I can’t wait to hear a
little bit more about it and so let’s
start with where are you you’re you’re
in Ohio right so tell us about that yeah
yeah we currently live in Cincinnati
Ohio I am I transplant from Michigan but
we’ve lived in Cincinnati for probably
over 30 years now so I’m I’m as much in
above an Ohio and as I am a Michigan ER
but I grew up in Michigan as again so
yeah this is Cincinnati’s home for me
there’s no doubt about it but your heart
is is Michigan for the Wolverines yeah
definitely but I said yeah Cincinnati
it’s a great place to grow up and raise
a family
I this is home I wouldn’t live anywhere
else yeah awesome awesome well hey I’m
super curious I’m always curious about
this I get asked this question all the
time how did you get into the laundromat
industry Wow luck yeah I worked in
corporate America for 17 years of a
local phone company here in Cincinnati
started out young as in an entry-level
position and worked my way through
several different departments and
learned a lot of different skills that I
didn’t realize I was learning along the
way but since I’ve been a little kid
I’ve always my heart’s been on
entrepreneurship and so I was throughout
that whole career I was always looking
for different business opportunities and
sometimes opportunities would come up
that I wasn’t prepared for
sometimes the opportunities weren’t
there and I was prepared yeah eventually
those tube that’s kind of you know
crossed each other and I found a local
under not for sale
in Amelia IO which is the community I
grew up and it’s sober Cincinnati
and I actually just found it on
Craigslist I was just stumbling around
on Craigslist looking at businesses for
sale which I had done hundreds of times
and I knew exactly where the winner Matt
was I need nothing about the business
but he had been there forever so I
immediately just jumped in my car and
went down and took a look at it it was
it was in very bad shape this is in 2009
you know the economy was very good and
the place had been neglected for many
many years and you know one thing led to
another I did my due diligence and went
through the entire process we didn’t
have a lot of money but we had enough to
kind of get going so we put out a you
know a small SBA loan and put a lot of
sweat equity into it and you know we
turned it around and it kind of it kind
of uh I got the infection I realized I
realized you know the one of my business
is in a sexy business but it’s mine and
I’ve always been very passionate about
entrepreneurship and a big part of my
passion of entrepreneurship is obviously
supporting my family I’m making money
but as big of a part of it is really
seeing and meeting a need and within the
community that’s not being met it’s not
about being that xxx pizza place on the
corner it’s it’s about seeing a need in
the community and meeting that need and
I get a lot of satisfaction and
gratification out of out of that and
knowing that I don’t just work for money
but I work for something that’s equally
as important to me is not more important
than the money and since I grew up here
and I lived here I knew that that place
used to be booming you know it used to
be bustling and it wasn’t anymore and it
was kind of sad as I went through my due
diligence I visited nine different
laundromats when about
fifteen or twenty miles of that store
every laundromat that existed every one
of them were in bad shape
mm-hmm and that’s what I realized
there’s a need and this is a tremendous
business opportunity right yeah I knew
that I was willing to put in the work
you know I didn’t have a ton of money I
basically started with about $20,000 in
the bank and a decent job you know we
didn’t have any debt so we were in low
and good cash flow and so we knew he
could support it so I stay at my
full-time job for the next five years
while we grew grew our businesses and
just reinvested all the money if the
businesses paid back into them to
continue to scale and in Rome and in
here we are ten years later that’s crazy
and it’s it’s just so funny that you
just found it on Craigslist and you
weren’t even at particularly looking for
a laundromat you were just looking at
businesses for sale absolutely I know it
never even occurred to me to look grill
under Matt I was literally Craigslist
back then had a category used as
businesses for sale and you click and
it’s just landscaping companies and car
washes I mean every business on planet
Earth a daycare center and for me I’ve
always been a passionate entrepreneur
but I didn’t really care what the
product was yeah I’m NATIVE by the the
business model or different business
models I kind of geek out over those
things and so as I dug in more and more
I realized that you know it was an
opportunity and there was a need and it
was it was really perfect for me because
I knew you know most likely whatever
business I bought I wouldn’t be able to
just put my job in the next week and so
that was when it was unattended and that
was one of the few business models that
would allow me to kind of do both and so
I would get up at 5:00 a.m. run by the
laundromat for an hour so clean it up
sweep it up because it was open 24 hours
and I would go into work which was an
hour away and I’d work all day climbing
telephone poles working on the phone
lines and stuff like that and after I
was all done with that I would go back
and stop back by the way home and I
pretty quickly put a video surveillance
system in there and so when it got off
there to bedtime I would pull it up and
if it looked busy or whatever then I’d
run by there again before I went to bed
yeah you know now we have a completely
different business model but that’s how
we started just simply out of necessity
we had no choice yeah I you know those
first five years that I was in business
for myself I kept my full-time job and I
estimate between the two his week really
acquired other businesses or other one
or nuts and during that five years I I
asked tomato I work ninety two hundred
hours a week for five years straight
yeah and you know it was it’s kind of a
fog now but it’s I’ve always just been
the type of person just give me the
opportunity and uh just get out of my
way we’ve been yeah that’s that’s what I
you know what I mean I’ll be honest
sometimes a lot of times in
entrepreneurship a lot of a lot of
people that aren’t entrepreneurs like us
they don’t really understand the drive
the motivation so like I you know I took
some critiques and you know from family
and friends and things like that but I
always knew what I was doing and why I
was doing it and I knew that I was on
the right track and then I was gonna
make a difference in that community and
that was like I’ve always been pretty
good at ignoring the noise I love it I
mean I think that’s a like a crucial
skill for an entrepreneur business in it
there’s so much negativity and even just
pressure you know to not go in those
directions and did not stick it out when
it’s tough and why are you spending a
hundred hours a week on this rundown
laundromat and it’s probably not ever
gonna even just all these messages come
in time and time again so I love to hear
that you started like that same way I
started I was I would drive an hour to
go clean up my laundromat every single
day every night I’d be there late at
night a lot of times and you know all
all of that so I love to hear that you
started like that and I know that you
scaled that way out and your business
looks very very different from that now
and I want to hear all about how you
scale that but before we do can you tell
us just a little more detail about how
you actually got that laundromat like
how did you how did the purchase of it
go and what kind of that process look
like how’d you get into your first one
yeah that’s a pretty pretty interesting
story actually because I never had a
business before and I was in my early
30s I guess you know me and my wife
that we both have decent jobs but we
have a young family and you know we’ve
never had a business and you know I put
together a business plan because I don’t
read that’s what you do and so I did my
homework it might be diligence to put
together the business plan we thought we
were personally in a good financial
place we had a little bit of money to
invest but certainly not enough to cover
the whole thing and if it probably took
every bit of four or five months and I
bet I applied to you easily 20 or more
financial institutions and every single
one of them told me the same thing and
they just said you’ve never owned a
business before you got $20,000 in the
bank and you think you’re going to take
this business that isn’t profitable
because it was losing money you know I
mean who do you think you are is kind of
the attitude that I got from them like
you know if I was a veteran and we’re
experienced like that nowadays I’d have
a little bit different story to tell but
I was just like stuck in this like it’s
like when they tell cribs you know young
kids you should build a credit when you
start eighteen years old
well how do I do that get some credit
how do I get credit you can’t until you
have credit it was almost like it was
like that almost that vicious cycle I
was very very frustrated and when I when
I looked into this model I owned a local
distributor here in Cincinnati called
hmm and they’re a hip distributor
they’ve been around since the 1950s
they’re a phenomenal phenomenal
distributor and I had already built a
relationship with them over the few
months and so I talked to him regularly
about my struggles and you know he I
connected as a mentor to me in a lot of
ways and I’ll never forget one night on
the phone you know I had probably been
rejected for the 18th time and I’m
telling him and I’m frustrated I don’t
have in my nature to give up but I was
frustrated and he asked me he was like
what what are you gonna do and I said
Steve if I have to apply to a thousand
banks eventually somebody is going to
say yes because I’m not ever going to
stop like I this is I’ve decided this is
what I’m gonna do I feel very confident
you know we were taken out of windows
I don’t know roughly thousand maybe and
we didn’t know we were going to violence
equipment we didn’t know a lot of what
we know nowadays but we knew we were
gonna borrow some money
but our new or SBA note with you know
anyway I end up getting alone it it was
like 1415 higher dollars a month I went
to a local credit union that I had a
relationship with and they were trying
to grow their business department I had
done business with him for years
personally and so I sat down and talked
to him I said look here’s my personal
finances we have no debt except our
house we have a pretty good revenue or a
pretty good you know household income
our personal cash flow we can easily
support this note for the entire length
of the note personally so this is you
know I feel like I’m like going into the
sales pitch but it was the honest truth
at was how I actually saw it and finally
like it just clicked with them and they
were like you’d be willing to do that
and I’m like you have no idea like I’ll
be willing to do anything that is legal
or ethical those are the only two lines
I won’t price to be successful and they
you know they gave it to me eventually
but it was it was it was a long road and
it was exhausting you know three or four
months doesn’t sound like a long time
but when you’re living it and you’re
working a full-time job and you’re
spending your lunch hour falling banks
and applying and sending emails and you
know and I worked out in the field so I
mean I wasn’t in an office it wasn’t
always mine yeah but you can’t take home
on the weekends so I mean you really
have like it was it was it was a long
three or four months but one of my one
of my biggest strengths is that I am
stubborn to a pole as a little kid I
wouldn’t want to raise me as a little
kid it wasn’t always a good thing
but as an adult I found that if I
channel it for good versus evil that
that I I’m able to accomplish a lot more
that I ever dreamed that I could and so
it’s it’s really it’s really just taking
my dreams and just taking them to a
whole new level
but it wasn’t easy and you know I don’t
know how many people would have given up
I just knew that I wasn’t going to yeah
so kind of was kind of a crazy time it
wasn’t it wasn’t smooth but I mean I
find that that is a lot of people’s
experience when they get into business
any kind of business really is that it’s
the people who are willing to
I do the crazy like it’s crazy that you
called 20 you know banks and you it’s
you had to do it on your lunches in
between you know jobs and it’s crazy
that after you got the business you you
know you you went there every day at
5:00 in the morning you go at night
sometimes like those things are crazy
but it’s that tenacity and that just
this is what I’m doing this is who I am
now this is what I’m doing you know and
just gonna happen and I’m gonna just
keep going until I make it happen and I
think that’s you know I think that’s a
huge key to success I’m sure it’s a huge
key to your success sometimes I think
back you know I ironically enough in
kindergarten when they asked all the
kids what do you want to be when you
grew up in like your little graduation
you know Donny says Batman and this guy
says a police officer and I said I
wanted to own my own business you know I
didn’t know what an entrepreneur was but
I said I want to own my own business and
only adults were like oh that’s you cuz
back then that wasn’t near as like info
because it is nowadays it wasn’t your
school to be an entrepreneur a business
owner back then and so they all thought
I was cute but I mean I don’t I don’t
know if you’re born an entrepreneur or
not all I know is like that’s just where
my mind and my heart and my drive is
always win and when I finally had the
opportunity and I knew I had you know
the right thing and the right
opportunity in front of me and I’m in my
you know early 30s and I’m married with
a family like that sometimes I wonder
well how would I responded to that
opportunity when I was 19 or 20 no
because I mean it was the same guy but I
was certainly like at a different place
in life mm-hmm you know fun was a lot
more important to me than then you know
setting up myself for six months or
serving my community or yeah I mean
that’s just the reality so sometimes I
wonder I really you know I’m I’m happy
and blessed and part of it too is you
know I didn’t go to college I started
working right out of high school and
worked at an entry-level position at
since I fell and I worked there for 17
years and during the time that I worked
there I worked in sales marketing I
worked in the skilled trades outside
learning how to use tools I mean I
learned so many skills through working
in those departments that I had no idea
I was learning
and everything one of those are directly
attributable how I’ve learned my
business it’s amazing to me that like
all I was being prepared I absolutely
believe that that was the case and it’s
you know it’s it’s fun to look back and
it’s it’s it’s kind of humbling at the
same time obviously I’m living my dream
there’s there’s no other way to put it
the laundromat dream yeah well you know
it’s funny I don’t know if you’ve ever
had this happen that I heard people ask
you know guys talk me stale with what
you do for a living and you know my
first response is either I’m an
entrepreneur on the business owner
people are always fascinated by that
babe they’re so impressed they think
that’s been fantastic yeah that’s
question they ask so what kind of
business are you in other face like I
thought you were a real visitor yeah you
know I used to kind of think it kind of
it was a shot to the heart a little bit
now I’m pretty used to it but I realized
you know of being part of like
opportunity for the business and the
industry that we’re in is that it’s not
sexy yeah there were sexy then there
would be a lot more people attracted to
it but it’s amazing how many people
avoid this industry because it’s not
sexy yeah you know and then obviously
there’s a negative connotation
associated with a laundromat in general
so when you say that word laundromat
most people don’t think of my my stores
and so the flip side of that is we get
people walking in their stores every day
and they’re like I’ve never seen a
laundromat like this you know in your
pocket if all the top operators in the
industry they all hear the same thing
you know that and percent or whatever it
is they constantly hear that because
it’s the bottom you know sixty percent
that people automatically associate you
know the dungeons in the basements and
you know happy women doesn’t work and
there’s a homeless guy sleeping in the
corner and you know it’s it’s it’s
unsafe and all these things so that’s
that’s where people go with it but there
as you know there’s a whole different
side to the industry which is which is
very modern and becoming more modernized
every day operations operations are or I
would say overly complicated but they’re
they’re not as simplistic as a lot of
operation and you know one of the one of
the things I love the most about being a
business owner is I get to decide what
my business is no one gets to decide
that for me and so there’s more than one
way to really successful under Matt it’s
not necessarily the way I do it’s just
how I view all that my team built but
I’m you know I’m I’m pretty passionate
about our industry well that’s awesome
okay so you got your first laundromat
how long did it take because you own for
right now is that right yes that’s
okay so how long did it take you to get
to your next one and in your next couple
and and then just tell us a little bit
about what your business looks like
today hmm so that’s also a little bit of
a funny story so we take on this big
debt loan that we’ve never done this big
opportunity this industry we don’t know
the end within five or six months we had
you know put a little sweat equity into
our business and I mean business within
seven or eight months with a double and
almost tripled and it wasn’t doing a lot
so it wasn’t hard to double or triple
said you know I kind of caught a bug and
I was like I knew it I knew it I knew
this would work so I immediately start
talking to my distributor and I’m like I
want to get another one I wanna have
twenty I don’t have thirty on the party
and that’s my nature I’m very ambitious
yeah that’s the whole time he’s like
babe you’re doing fantastic but slow
down like giggity Brett slow down you
don’t want to move too fast
well once again I’ve never been a good
listener like I said you know that’s
just not my nature and so I just
couldn’t I couldn’t not look for other
opportunities even though I had nobody
everything I had was poured into that
store right and I ended up finding my
second store and it was an abandoned or
it was in a strip mall but water mat was
abandoned it had been closed by the
previous owner but it was in a great
location and ironically it was 20
minutes from my home where the other one
was five minutes from my home it was
when it’s from my home in the direction
of my job yeah okay you know this
community cuz it’s not that far away it
was a great opportunity I literally got
the one herb after you know what they
free laundromat the mythical three
right free laundromat that comes with a
lot of headache and but yeah so I you
know I will in it was it I mean it was
it was successful the owner of the strip
mall had a albatross on their hands and
they knew it yeah I just approached them
and said I’m in the business you know I
I have a location over to me oh yeah I
didn’t tell them how long have it right
I know what I’m doing I think this is a
great location if you’re basically
willing to sign me you know sign me to a
long term lease this is what I’m gonna
do I had no idea how I was gonna do it I
just knew that this you know I didn’t
have any money to buy another store and
I also knew that once again it would be
unattended it would be open 24 hours and
I would need to stop by it regularly
while I’m commuting as I thought man for
the situation I’m in I mean this seems
like it would work it’ll double my
workload from from too much already but
I’ve always been a firm believer in
business that when opportunities come
about like you don’t get to choose when
the opportunities come about you just
choose whether you pick advantage and
I’m gonna you know and so it ended up
showing sort of into being about eight
or nine months after we have on our
first store that we bought this for and
we signed a lease and we we were able to
I mean it was in such bad shape like
none of the equipment and I was really
useful so we were able to work out a
loan because we were in the business now
mm-hmm work out a manufactures one for
the financing of the equipment and we
put all new equipment in there and we we
took you know the cash flow that we were
getting from our one store that was
making some money and we would put that
into it and me and my father-in-law and
some friends just did twice the amount
of sweat equity in that store but we did
in our first store because I literally
just had money for materials and we
ended up we end up maxing out our credit
card I mean it was we we pushed it to
the limit or yeah and we went from
beyond our personal finances are very
conservative I mean we we were debt-free
except for our house we had a pretty
good savings we had really good cash
flow personally and so this was very out
of the ordinary for how me and my wife
typically ruin our financial life but I
just saw it is different from personal
life you know I’m not doing this to buy
a corridor an ATV right
I’m doing this to buy an on-set and so I
saw I saw that I felt that that risk was
worth it for that reason and so we we
acquired it we kept it closed for four
to have five months and literally I
stopped by there every day and work
until I couldn’t work anymore and when I
was left and I you know had a lot of
friends and family step up and helped me
and some with his help for a day or two
which was appreciated and some would
hope every weekend and you know I still
to this day that place holds a special
place in my heart within my portfolio
just because I know the amount of you
know blood sweat tears and love that
went into that these people didn’t ask
anything from me they were just like wow
he is going to do this he’s crazy but
yeah exactly and so I’m sometimes amazed
what we accomplished with his little
resources is behind it hoped that it was
a small store it was like 2,100 square
feet maybe not even that and so that’s
how we acquired our second store and so
on my story is we we acquired two stores
and less than a year yeah that’s crazy
that store and we had a pretty
significant moment for the equipment and
so part of it was okay well we got to
get this thing to break even you know
quickly if we can yeah it was it was
profitable within three weeks whoa
that’s awesome
it had been closed for six months before
we took over it and then we kept it
close for another year so once again
that tells you the demand in the area we
have people while were in there working
knocking on the doors asking if they can
come in really there’s literally no
washers in here like what it’s not we we
as we continued out of the project the
word the puns kind of spread in the
neighborhood we knew there was a need as
soon as we open the doors they just came
in drills
he slid anyway yeah I mean it was
profitable immediately so that was how
we acquired our second store which was
which was definitely a unique situation
after that I had the boat twice as bad
and so I continued to look and never
really found the right opportunity in
several years went by and it probably
gonna be a good three or four more years
and we just kept reinvesting everything
the business is made
back into our two businesses to grow
them and at this point I realized this
could be like a career this could be my
full-time gig right now I could actually
fund a quit my job and so then I just
dug it even harder and I was like you
know what if I if I did really hard and
I’m very disciplined and I reinvest and
I keep my hand out of the cookie jar and
to keep my lifestyle the same and all
these things in a few years I’ll be able
to leave my job and so I was more
motivated than ever before and people
thought I was more crazy than ever
before because you know people are
saying things like well how much money
you need Dave it’s like you don’t get it
like you just – he don’t this isn’t
about like my – but like yeah Wow like
changing my family tree at this point
yes so I ended up you know I ended up
around those two businesses we
eventually added a few our time
attendants that would do a little
cleaning that we’re actually on payroll
at this point and that helped a little
and I reached out to an old family or an
old friend from high school that
actually lived right up the road from my
second store and she’s still over there
and she was married had a kid we hadn’t
lost touch and I remember from our days
right out of high school that she was
one of the hardest-working people I’ve
ever met in my life and she was high
integrity I character high energy she
was loyal and she had worked basically
when she got out of high school she had
worked at a server at a restaurant and
over her career she had worked her way
up in 17 years and she was the manager
of this restaurant now mm-hmm and I
reached out to her and I said all right
this is this is my dream this is what
I’m gonna do we had talked 15 years and
I said I’m building this chain on Linda
ballots and I know I can’t do this all
on my own and I want you to come do this
with me I want you to be my manager and
we talked and I think she thought I was
half crazy story shop I’ve always been
really good at something my dream
something I’m you know really good at
most people are inside she you know she
eventually came around and she said well
since you have attendants that just
worked three hours in the morning three
hours an evening I’m gonna eat my
full-time job and just work as an
attendant for a few days and you know do
that for a few months and see if I like
it and then we’ll then on
a decision so that’s fair I brought her
in literally making $9 an hour and she’s
got another full-time jela and she
worked third shift at this Perkins
restaurant and was the overnight manager
and she would work all night and she
would stop on her way home and work for
three hours for me between the store in
the morning and then go home and have
her life and so she did this for I don’t
know several months and it eventually
got to the point where I said Ari and
you know I want to bring you on
full-time and and we couldn’t afford to
hire her full-time so we slowly but
surely gave her more and more hours and
I was I was you know reinvesting pretty
heavily in her basically and I knew he
was I knew I couldn’t do it alone and I
needed I needed a manager and so long
story short her restaurant actually got
bought by the state and that they were
putting a highway through and so she
would have lost her career and about
that time was a time we were acquiring
their third store and so I said Ari
timings perfect
we’re gonna bring you on full-time and
the rest is kind of history she’s she’s
still my GM to this day whoa she’s been
with me for eight years now she is she
is a rock star and that is probably not
even a fair statement for her value to
me personally in our family she is
family to us at this point
and she is she’s she makes way more than
she ever made it other job now and one
of the things I promised her is if
you’ll do this with me and you’ll stick
with me you know I can’t afford to pay
you much right now but as our business
grows all constable I will compensate
you more every chance I get and there
was times where I gave her multiple
raises in a short period of time and you
know so I kept my word I did what I
could do and I wouldn’t I could have
accomplished what I’ve accomplished
without her but I would have needed
someone like her yeah but I wouldn’t
have taken element s that we have
without her specifically I just I know
my nature I know I like if I didn’t have
her along my side
I wouldn’t promise I wouldn’t have
attempted to and so it’s you know she’s
a big part of our team and we’re the
same age where both 43 and so it’s
pretty exciting to kind of work together
and built this over the last eight you
know ten year
and we really feel like this is kind of
the tip of the iceberg of where we’re
gonna go but long story short once I
hired her we ended up purchasing a third
store and that store had a drop of
laundry service and it was it was a
complete dump as well also in a great
location and so one of the decisions we
had to make is okay are we gonna we
don’t do drop-off services at her other
stores right are we going to like you
know it wasn’t much of a drop-off it was
pretty rough the way it was ran I said
all right I can’t really like that I’m
gonna have to completely revamp it but
policies and procedures and training and
all this stuff in place or I’m just
gonna shut it down the day we closed and
I talked with Marlene and we thought
through it and I talked with my wife
Carla and I decided okay you know we’re
gonna we’re gonna transition from being
partially attended or almost unattended
to now we’re going to be attended what I
have fully attended stores and so we
knew that we needed every ounce around
me we could get and so we decided to
keep them the drop off laundry open and
so about two weeks before we closed on
the third store I put my job man
Marlene came on full-time and so things
got real really quick we had prepared
for this for three or four years so it
wasn’t a it wasn’t a quick decision but
you know we it got real really quick
things got really tight all of a sudden
calling out that corner it used to be no
big deal holy cow I’m gonna pay this guy
that kind of stuff and we’ve we revamped
the drop-off service and it did really
well and continues to this day and that
really changed our path in the
laundromat business because we not only
transition from unattended to attended
which is a big difference right we also
you know added a pretty I mean it took a
little while but we had a pretty
high-quality drop-off laundry service um
we I mean we turned a dollar fifty mmm
and will probably be raising her braces
in the next few weeks yes
yeah we’re the I mean we’re kind of near
the top of the industry when it comes to
you know cost of what we can charge per
pound we’re a lot of people are still
charging a dollar a dollar and a pound
or less in some areas
and so you know once we did that we
realize okay let’s back up and go back
to the second story we bought and let’s
start a long drop off laundry service
there once we got this one perfected
then I moved more lean back to this
store and we built a drop off laundry
service there and she managed boot all
three stores basically from that one
site and we grew that drop off laundry
service and a few years after that we
acquired her for store and it was the
same thing it was really rundown it
happened to be a huge facility it was
kind of it was just like it’s like 5200
square feet but it’s one of these deals
where it was two businesses I don’t want
it was a drug finger on one side and one
around together so only half of it has
the laundromat footprint the other side
was basically a huge drop dry cleaning
so they didn’t have equipment it was a
huge facility and so when I I approached
them about acquiring it they you know
they they really will you gotta take all
the space like Padano need all the space
I don’t want a little space and we
worked out a deal where he gave you a
pretty sweet her deal on the rent on the
other side and I said Ari I’m gonna I’m
gonna acquire this and we were a mint
the laundry the drop off laundry service
there and you know fast forward to what
we’re doing now today now we have a
pretty clean laundry pick-up delivery
business called happiness and the funny
thing is like when we acquired that
location we thought we had all this late
wasted unused space and three we’ve been
doing our happiness for about three and
a half years now it’s grown to the point
where it generates double the revenue of
our store it’s all run out of this one
store well and so now we have successful
drop-off laundry services at three of
our four stores we have a general
manager which is in Marlene and she has
roughly 40 employees that report to her
we have three trucks on the road for
delivery business and you know we do
about twenty-five to thirty thousand
pounds a month and just delivery and
that’s it at all our $89 19 I have and
so it you know we need to always tell
people the beauty of the pickup and
delivery business is you take an already
successful business model owner map and
then you take another successful model
and you lay it on
but you leverage the same industry yeah
when you do that it turns a $300,000
laundromat into a million dollar online
yeah you’re running it was still running
it with one employee you know one
manager and so our general manager
Marlene is also the store manager at
that story that’s where she spends most
of our time mm-hmm
manages probably half hour probably over
half of our employees out of that one
facility we have a third shift
production crew that processes the
laundry overnight while the store is
closed to the public and so once again
we’re leveraging that infrastructure you
know most laundromats if they’re open 24
hours they don’t do much business most
art open at all so they don’t do any
business right we probably generate more
revenue well we definitely do more
revenue more most than one yeah so I
tell people I’m like you know I wasn’t
smart enough to plan this although
here’s a good if this kind of evolved
and I just followed my passion and you
know I bounced a lot of stuff off of my
wife who’s a you know professional
schoolteacher and she’s not an
entrepreneur she’ll be the first to tell
you that yeah we were a really great
team because she actually has a
background in accounting not your degree
and so she does Oliver bookkeeping and
longer accounting and keeps all that
straight which I could never do and as
we grown the business it went from just
like a little side business of a few
thousand dollars a week and now we’re
you know a multi-million dollar
operation and we have you know we’ve
created 40 jobs that didn’t exist ten
years ago you know we have I always say
I mean we weren’t always in this
position but I team up against anyone in
the country at this point we’ve invested
heavily in operations and in people we
really believe you can have a great
product you can have brainy machines and
fancy this and free walk by and all that
which is important in a modernized loan
or not but the thing that will really
separate you from your competition 99
out of 100 times is having operations
but the level that you take them – yes
Oh Mia Arlene and my wife have taken
that very very seriously and you know
here we are 10 years later and like I
said me my wife Marlene we’re all 43
years old and we feel like we have a
really good
foundation we have a history of running
unattended laundromats transitioning
them to attended building a drop-off
service from the ground level not
knowing anything about it and learning
through the school of hard knocks and
networking with other laundromat owners
throughout the industry and then the
drop-off laundry service is just like
shot us to the moon and beyond and one
of the things we’ve learned or not the
drop of the pickup and delivery and a
lot of things we’ve learned in three
years will pick up and delivery is when
we started that business we really just
thought it would be an ancillary income
you know by van go pick up some laundry
and a drop-off and we really like didn’t
think a lot more into that but
everything I do I do what I mean I I’m
150 miles an hour and I rethink kind of
a perfectionist and because of those
things I kind of met the market at the
society at this perfect place where they
were kind of melding into what I call
the Amazon economy and everybody wants
full service everything right to their
door and we were perfectly positioned
the seven years prior we had been
building a team for this business that
we had no idea we were even gonna run
some and we were building you know we
have invested heavily in all new
equipment I mean probably couple million
dollars worth of equipment between our
four stores and you know those those
notes get pretty heavy that buttons and
so my thing was okay how can I you know
without behind a fifth and a sixth and
an eighth business how can i leverage my
career and assets and that’s where you
know marketing our drago services at our
stores being attended just transitioning
from unattended to attend it you know it
took a year it took a year and a half
and two years but our business doubled
just by making that transition and one
of the things we’ve learned in the
industry is there’s nothing wrong with
running an unattended map don’t get me
wrong but one of the things we’ve
learned is that when you transition from
unattended to attended there is a full
different segment of society that will
now use your facility mmm that was a
deal breaker they would no matter how
nice it was they will not use your
facility if you’re on attended and we
didn’t know that I mean we learned that
just by trial and error now though we’ve
just over the course of ten years we’ve
just taken all this experience and
knowledge and
a lot of stuff at our toes and a lot of
stress and grief and headache and worry
and transitioned it into something that
you know I mean I’m literally living my
dream and I’ve created jobs for these
people that didn’t used to have jobs and
some of them are entry level but a lot
of probably over half in they’re not
probably close to half of our staff
makes five to six dollars above minimum
wage and some of them make double or
more minimum wage and so you know I’m
pretty proud of that you know whatever
part-time but there are times they want
to be right their decision but a lot of
them have transitioned from part-time to
full-time and so I get a lot of
satisfaction out of you know yes
supporting my family and you know being
an entrepreneurial geek and just doing
what I do every day
but I get a lot of satisfaction out of
knowing that I’m serving the community
the east side of Cincinnati was just
when it comes to laundry facilities it
was in shambles at one point and now we
for the top stores in the state probably
as far as the quality of operations and
the quality of the facilities and to
back up our second store that was a
small 2,100 square for the store is in a
strip mall we eventually tore down the
wall in between it and space next door
and now it’s about 4,500 square feet so
it’s our second it went from being our
smallest or second-biggest store so I
always say that project which was a lot
and I managed it myself
there was a lot I learned a ton through
that process of building a wonder that
even though I’ve never technically built
along that yeah you know were in the
process eventually building a winter met
our fifth and so now I’m applying a lot
of those skills and things I learned
with that project but always that I own
for wonder hats but it was actually five
because the one that I kind of doubled
the size of it was basically like an by
you’re building a new laundromat yeah
that was a different set of challenges
but you know we feel like our operations
and our experience and our age like
we’re perfectly positioned to do much
more than we’ve done in our first 10
years in the next 20 yeah now we’re now
we’re you know we really focus on two
things now we focus on you know
serving the industry and giving back and
you know I do some consulting and things
like that and helping people when I can
and I also focus on you know meeting the
needs of other communities finding other
opportunities I probably turned down ten
or fifteen motive apps that people
approached me about but they were either
in a market that was already served or
in a market that didn’t need you know
there 2,000 people there or something
like that right and so I’ve turned out a
lot of opportunities too and so now I’m
really looking for new opportunities and
new markets throughout Cincinnati and
maybe even outside of Cincinnati to
continue to serve you know serve the
community and now we’ve kind of settled
in on this you know good bettervest
business model because we used to just
be a self-serve one or not mm-hmm yeah I
drop off and now we offer pickup and
delivery and so we have this good better
best model and they’re all a different
different clientele a different segment
of the market that still all has a
specific need yeah and so it’s you know
it’s pretty exciting to me if you told
me this where I would be ten years ago
I’m like I never would have believed you
and certainly no one that knew me would
have ever believed this but it’s just a
good old-fashioned tenacity well you
know hindsight’s 20/20 I mean as I’m
listening it’s it’s so fascinating cuz
what I’m hearing is you just stacking
stuff on top of each other like you had
this like idea of yourself wanting to be
a business owner and and so you had kind
of that vision and then you kind of
stumbled on this laundromat and then you
you know you had the tenacity so you
just went for it and you found a way to
get it and then you found a way to make
it work and then you did it again you
know again with this tenacity and just
you know expanding kind of your vision
and what’s possible and just being an
action taker and doing it and then
you’re learning along the way you know
how to do different things and then
you’re applying it and growing and
growing and you know you built out this
half of the your second laundromat and
you’re using that now to build out your
fifth laundromat and it’s just pretty
cool to see you know I think a lot of
times when people want to get into
they wanna they see where you’re at and
like well I want to do that but what
they don’t see is the five years where
you were working a hundred hours a week
and people were telling you no we’re not
gonna give you any money we don’t
believe in you essentially that’s what
the banks are saying we don’t believe in
you yes your friends bring you that
you’re crazy your family’s like oh man
here he goes again he’s buying another
one or whatever and and yet you know
people want what you have but in order
to get there you gotta you gotta pay the
price to get there you know you gotta
learn what you need to learn because
there’s no way I bet I can almost
guarantee you that if somebody was just
gonna hand you your portfolio that you
have now back when you first started and
said here here are these four
laundromats and and you’re building one
that it would have just all gone to
waste you know handle it because you
didn’t have everything that you have and
I said I love hearing your story because
I just love hearing you stack all of us
bills and I’ll say it wasn’t I mean
obviously it wasn’t my design I mean it
was intentional but it wasn’t by design
like 10 years ago I never knew that I
would do this but one of the things I’ve
always done in my life is I’ve never
been afraid to pivot like I’ve never
believed just because that’s what I used
to do that I have to keep doing that
I’ve always built my foundation of my
family my faith and my my businesses
from a foundation of character the
foundation of just simply doing the
right thing and following the path
whatever path that is and not trying to
you know force things that don’t count
and that’s why I’ve always really
focused on meeting needs in the
community that are already there
it’s it’s a nobody’s doing it why
wouldn’t I do it and if you can do it
and make money it’s very very satisfying
yeah yeah that’s so cool it’s so cool to
hear that I’d love to just take a second
just get down to business a little bit
and just hear a little bit of just you
know the baseball card stats of your of
your businesses
all right out so we already know that
you’re in you’re in Ohio you’re in
Cincinnati area and you have so you have
four laundromats and you’re building a
fifth and then I think you mentioned at
one point maybe to me beforehand that
you have real some real estate too is
that the case
yeah we have one commercial property
it’s the building that our third store
is in okay we acquired that store it was
in a standalone building and so when we
approached the owner of the building
which was a separate person about
signing a long-term lease they had
inherited the building and their dad and
it was paid for it and they didn’t
really want to be in commercial property
right so they were ok to talk about that
but would you be interested in buying
the building well yeah of course are you
oh yeah we we but we acquired the
business with the lease and two months
later we closed on the building and so
now we own this commercial property and
if we ever sell the business we still
have the revenue from the commercial
property because the business it’s going
to be so they’re pretty good multiple to
somebody that can drive the business and
support it and one of the things we’ve
learned through that too is that that’s
a pretty profitable long-term business
venture just the real estate holdings
alone and so what we focused on is is
now you know our fourth store and we
acquired it it’s in a small strip all
about ten thousand square feet and when
we signed a long-term lease for that we
got rid of first refusal for 30 years to
produce the football and so the owner
that has a right now still doesn’t want
to sell that he’s he’s getting up there
in age and he’s he’s gonna be selling
eventually and when he does we’ll
acquire that that actually have some
tenants other than ourselves
yeah and and we actually were just
approached recently from one of our
competitors about purchasing and on
their business because we’ve kind of put
a put a big curtain on them over the
last ten years through our growth and
there is a standalone building as well
and they own that property and they want
to sell us that building and so now that
we’re like perfectly positioned to meet
a lot of these needs all of a sudden we
have many opportunities coming our way
you know so a big part of our business
model over the rest of my life is to
find ways to focus on multiple revenue
streams and that includes acquiring the
real estate and the depreciation and
things that come along with owning and
building a real estate portfolio and so
someday we will either you know back out
of the business when we’re you know in a
rocking chair days how the book must
keep the real estate investments which
is pretty much passive at that point and
or we’ll just pass the businesses on to
our kids if they’re interested and then
they’ll be our you know we can mentor
them through the process and they will
be our early in our tenants and when
we’re someday gone then they will
inherit the buildings and that will just
create this multi family around
multi-generational business model if
they’re interested you know we’re not
we’re not wants to pressure them or
focus on that they know that that
opportunity is there if they want to go
take it but they also know we’re not
going to give it like that’s not in my
future nothing was given to me and
nothing gonna be given to you don’t make
me tell them gone and so now so now I
think it’s like this step back and kind
of have this like 30,000 foot view of
what I’ve created but the opportunity I
have over the next 20 or 30 years which
includes continuing to grow the business
continuing to diversify the business in
different ways my 21 year old daughter
works full-time in the business now and
I don’t know she always will but she
does right now and that’s that’s really
exciting to see where she grows as she
matures and my 12 year old is already
talking about he wants to run the whole
empire and so we’ll see how that works
out I don’t know if it’ll be a fight but
we’ll make it work but it’s that’s
that’s a whole new level of just like
love like just just loving what I do
knowing that whether that happens or not
that I put my family in a position where
that could happen yeah I think it’s
always yeah future is pretty exciting
for us one of the things this is a
little side note one of the things I did
with my son as I told him hey if you
save up your money and you buy a little
like bubblegum machine or whatever you
can put it in the store and I’ll teach
you how to run that like a business he’s
eight right now so he has no ax
he did he saved his money and actually
the stories really sad at the he he
saved his money
my buddy made him like a cool little
stand for it we bolted it into the
ground we did a little like ceremony for
him and that night some guy came in high
on something and literally just ripped
it out into that night same night and
took it so that was his first his first
foray into business that’s heartbreaking
yeah but you know it’s good because that
you know that again those are lessons
that he’s learning and one of the things
that I want to do is whether he ends up
taking over our laundromats for whatever
I don’t know a long time from that
hopefully but yeah trying to just teach
him here’s how business works if you
want to go into business for yourself
you know doing laundromats for anything
else here’s here’s how you manage your
finance you don’t just get all this
money from your bubblegum machine and
get to spend it all because you got to
buy inventory and you want to have money
to reinvest and you know all this stuff
so it’s been a funny it’s funny that you
tell that story because I have a similar
one so my daughter when we got into the
business I had the exact same mindset I
was like I want my kids to learn that
there’s nothing wrong with having a job
in working fair employer but I also want
them to know there’s there’s more than
one way to make a limp and if it’s for
them that’s fine but I want them to get
the lesson in life and so my daughter
who is not an entrepreneur by nature at
all she will tell you that she was
probably 12 10 or 12 maybe at the time
and I basically said you know she had
some savings and I said you know this is
what we’re gonna do and I basically told
her she was going to do it and we bought
a sticker machine and it bends the
little kids stickers yeah and so she
used her savings on a sticker machine
she ended up taking that one and buy the
second one and my current 12 year old
who is mini-me like born entrepreneur
when he was five he calls her titi and
when she was five he heard us talking
one day that she had made $100 the
previous month off of her sticker
don’t want to like you know nose into
everything yeah
you bought that us at five years old and
he said well I want a sticker machine I
said well we actually just bought a
third wonder that if you save up the
money then you can buy a sticker machine
and you can put it in our third store
and that little boy for three and a half
years saved every penny he could find
birthday money he would have be out
shoveling driveways when it was nine
degrees out he sticks and saving the
money and he would sell things that he
didn’t want anymore
and you know the machine was four
hundred dollars in the inventory was
about two hundred yeah I was excited on
an investment for for a five-year-old I
mean that’s like a million dollars that
is like a month long story short my
daughter was successful she got a lesson
when she went off to college my son had
bought his first machine and had just
saved up his second machine and so he
bought her two of Asians from her that’s
at this point he’s probably nine and he
has three sticker machines and three
stores but we’ve just acquired a four
store so he takes the revenue from the
three puts a sticker machine in the four
and about six to eight months ago he
took the revenue from all four of those
sticker machines and bought a claw
machine that he’s now putting our Thor
and so me and my wife joke all the time
they’re like he’s gonna be like the only
only 16 year old on into school like in
a BMW ya know he actually paid I drove
all the time I’ll get all three my kid
they’re very smart people with anything
they walk but he is is 100% I mean and
that lesson and you know I went with her
I kinda had to encourage and push her
into that lesson with him you drugged me
into him and so it’s been it’s been
fascinating too so cool now him get that
message and he has a little brother that
that isn’t an entrepreneur probably but
he’d still like he listened and I hear
yeah we’ll see where that goes with our
kids and how that works out in life but
I mean it’s all about the lesson you
know that’s that’s what it is so that’s
awesome to hear that somebody else is
doing that
oh yeah you know I tell people that
story and they’re like wow that’s
fantastic I’ve never heard anything like
yeah I think you’re the first one that’s
been like yeah I’m basically the same
yeah it’s heartbreaking that I got
broken into like like you said there’s
also kind of a lesson to that it’s now
yeah oh man I was and I haven’t seen
that guy since and it’s probably a good
thing what I ended up doing so we had
some conversations about that and you
know it it was it was good it but he was
sad obviously but what ended up doing
the saying I’m gonna buy another gumball
machine for you but you still have to
pay for it so I ended up getting an
opportunity to teach him about how to
use a loan to buy an asset like you did
and and to do it in a wise way and I
said you’ll just give me a little bit
every month from what your mission your
gumball machine makes until it’s paid
off and then you know to go so and I
make them I make them do a split I make
them pay pay me you know to have this
gumball machine like all all the other
vendors that we have in our our stores
but I’m just saving that you know you
know it’ll probably go to school or yeah
fantastic good for you pretty cool
though all right back to business
give me some give us like a feel of
bending prices in Cincinnati how much is
it costing to do you know a few various
types of sizes of loads yeah it depends
we’re definitely a high price leader
we are definitely significantly above
our competitors I mean our competitors
are probably more in line with you know
the market across the country which
tends to be you know too low not about
people are aggressive enough raising
their prices and in charging probably
what they should for the little service
they provide but you know my competitors
that are in really rough shape they’re
still venden top loaders for a dollar
fifty yeah under mine or three bucks
you know I’m literally targeting Dunnell
and and we probably won’t have fillers
in the future but right now we do but we
we are afraid to charge what we feel as
the top of the market and price for them
we have 20 pound machines that we’ve
been for $4
we have 40 pound machines that we’ve
been for six dollars and we have 80
pound machines that we’ve been for ten
yeah enough and then on the sixty the
forty 60s and 80s we have the extra wash
extra rinse motions and on the forties
the extra wash and extra rinse is a
dollar each and uh because they where a
lot of people are still like doing
quarters and on the 60s and 80s the
extra wash and extra rinse is two
dollars each and when I tell people that
they’re like are you insane like I’ve
never heard of anybody charging more
than $0.50 for an extra watch like it’s
eight loads of laundry like that’s a
little yeah I mean you’re you’re cutting
yourself short if you’re doing that and
a lot of people just like because they
can build charge by quarter increment
pricing they did yeah and we converted
two of our four stores from quarter over
$2 point okay part of the reason our
prices are set up that way but now even
though their order stores everything is
done in dollar pricing and we’re able
price we raise fifty cents or a dollar
yeah and if you’re 50 cents it’s when we
convert the store to dollar coin it’s
going to go up by another 50 and be
rounded up and there are dryers
the dollar point stores are another on
the 30 pound dryers they’re a dollar for
16 or sorry
dollar for 24 minutes which was a
quarter for six minutes 45 pound dryers
are a dollar for 16 minutes a quarter
for four minutes
yeah and so we’re actually evolving and
working our dryer pricing over Q full
circle pricing which is you know I know
a lot of people that have done it with
great success yeah
so that’s something that’s something
we’re working on in the future but in my
opinion if you have a halfway-decent
laundromat let alone a really nice
modern top of the industry Matt mm-hmm
your self-serve prices are fifteen cents
a pound under tire like you’re cutting
yourself short you know and I tell
people all the time really
you have my competitors I have
competitors too we had we had somebody
build a brand new store as a distributor
not mine but a different one well the
brand new store are four stairs are kind
of in a triangle of each other all
within 15 miles away somebody built a
brand new star right in the middle of
our four stores
and started out with a VIN price of $1
for a 20 pound machine is like a loss
leader two years later they’re still
charging that price because they can’t
capture any more fish here are $4
there’s our a dollar and they can’t take
customers from us
geez and so that’s when I go back to
what I said earlier I put my team up
against anyone a lot of times it comes
back to the people and the training and
the operations and the processes and
that the support and the love that goes
into a family work environment and if
you do things right and it’s genuine and
sincere I mean there’s people run
through a brick wall for you yeah
they’re lopping I want nothing more than
to take a nominal care of every customer
they walk through the door yeah
not everyone will pay for that level of
service but there’s plenty of people in
any market that will pay for that little
service but what I find is people either
under price or they over price they want
they want a church prices like I do but
they’re really not to where we are they
just have like a new store with new
machines right it’s unattended and it’s
not that clean and there’s nobody there
to help and move in three or four years
it starts to look tired and it’s like
when you were but you were really high
quality of the day you opened but you’ve
you’ve you went down during spent well
yeah and so we’re really big about span
cutting edge work our entire business
philosophy is is really all about
pushing the envelope and being better
tomorrow than we were yesterday and so
that’s that’s how a lot of these
opportunities of collapse is because
like we’re never content we’re happy but
we’re never content we’re always looking
for a better way to serve people and as
we do those things and execute at a high
level we’re also not afraid to charge
for it because our customers come in and
they love us I mean they don’t come into
on price gouging then they come in and
say I’ll happily pay double the price
because you have triple the level of
service they’ve got no more Road you
know pence they’ll you know say there’s
more than one way to skin a cat and
wonder industry is no different people
just a lot of times a lot of times are
afraid of the unknown or they’re afraid
they’re gonna lose half their business
if they raise their price 50 cents I’ve
raised my Coppa leaders from two to
three dollars which is a 50% increase in
price and not lost a customer
yeah so it can be done and I’m not
unique I mean there’s other people
operating at a high level in our
industry as you and I know yeah not the
only one there’s there’s thousands of
them you know and if they’re not you
charging a similar price model then
they’re them stop store yeah very cool
do you have any cards at all or is it
all coin right now it’s all point or in
the next couple years we’re going to
convert our laws to order stores over $2
coin mm and then once we do that we’re
going to add CCI fast car a hybrid
system to those four stores
and so they’ll hopper a top dollar coin
and I’ll operate on the credit or debit
card or the best part and pay it you
know phone pay up and so we’re their
suburban stores they’re not like
high-volume urban stores if you will and
and so their volume is to a place where
we can make that work long term that
quarters I mean it’s you know not that
people are not rating with borders
because 200 stores are but it’s it’s
becoming the way of the dinosaur very
quickly especially if you’re a high
price leader yeah yeah yeah yeah I mean
if you if you use an ATM machine and you
choose extra washing experience that’s
$14 yeah sounds insane and that’s a lot
of quarters but the reality is it’s also
eat loads of laundry that have been
washed and rinsed twice and so they’re
if they weren’t heavily soiled I mean
it’s I always I always tell people well
if they’re heavily so then you need to
wash them in or in some place would you
rather pay 20 bucks or would your other
paperwork team that’s right hey it’s all
about value and that’s a big thing that
I’ve learned of the business that I
didn’t always know is that there’s a
there’s a big difference in price and
value and I refuse to compete on price
I always compete on value mine I always
make sure that I win
but I can charge significantly more than
you if I charge if I provide a much
higher level of service and I value
proposition is way higher than yours it
and I really believe that’s that’s one
of the things I really found hard when I
talk to people in consult and network or
other operators is I really try to pound
into them that you know for whatever
reason the laundry industry is probably
as sensitive to price as any industry
you know and there’s plenty of
industries that are sensitive to price
and so I really try to push back on
people and they you know I hear all the
time only you can do that but I can
doesn’t this and you know it’s like I
have no competitors or something and so
I was actually as far as my story is
concerned I was a little happy that
somebody built a Brady laundromat I mean
all my horse doors because that’s like
the worst case scenario all right that’s
like right there good so now you can
tell people like I’m about you me you
know I mean you can do this and you know
there might be exceptions to that
there’s some markets that are really
really insane and I respect that but the
reality is I think those are few and far
between I think most people are just
selling them some store or they don’t
want to sell that value proposition they
you know they like the idea of charging
those prices but they don’t want to
operate at that level because it’s not
easy it’s it’s really kind of exhausting
at times you know I’m kind of obsessive
and I’ve built a team of people that are
kind of obsessive with serving people
then they have the heart of a servant
and want to serve others and they get
satisfaction out of that
above and beyond just their paycheck and
so we’ve been very intentional about
that and so I’ve said for 10 years I’m
building an arm and that’s exactly what
I’m doing and I’m never gonna stop I
love that I love that all right so do
you I’m just I’m just loving your
mindset and the way that you are
approaching things and the way that
you’re thinking about things I think if
you know anybody listening to this you
know in whatever industry or even if
they’re not in alignment issues of life
I think they’re gonna take value from
that so absolutely awesome and these are
I didn’t create any of these I stole
everything that I just said I stole
every bit of it
want to share it I just want people to
know like candy what’s in this industry
yeah you can do it outside – yeah but
have a thief in the night I steal all
kinds of good ideas wait and that’s you
know that’s good but it’s not just what
you’re saying you know it’s it’s the way
that you’re thinking and I think that’s
you know I think that’s valuable so do
you have any sense of like an average
like how many turns per day they’re
doing maybe outside of your pickup and
delivery service you have any sense of
that yeah it’s it’s anywhere from three
to 500 machines the smaller machines are
closer to three and that’s mainly
because we have more of them I mean if
we had you know a similar number the
terms would be a little higher you know
and that’s what things I’ve kind of
learned in the business – it’s a lot of
people whether they’re they’re
architects or manufacturers or
distributors and I’m not just I’m not
just saying the the shady ones there are
some you know unethical distributors out
there but I’m talking about even ones
that are well-intentioned
that mean well one of the biggest things
I see in our in our industry is there’s
too much equipment not enough space I
see it over and over again so I’ve
learned that myself because I could say
pretty much every one of my stores if I
didn’t have my pickup and delivery
business which is all different animal
if I didn’t have that I mean with my
pickup and delivery business at that
store returns per day or probably closer
to eight or nine and so you know that
becomes really profitable really quickly
I I believe when people are retrofitting
stores you know one of the mistakes I
made early on and was okay this is the
footprint it’s obviously expensive to
change the footprint and so I’m gonna
see how many machines I can fit this
footprint and that was really my only
focus and in four or five years I’ve
really kind of taken my operations
knowledge to a different level and I’ve
went back and taken a lot of those
machines out and my turns per day have
gone up because I don’t believe in
having any one out of order or you know
any more than a day or two unless if I
can hope and so because of that okay
well if I’m operating after five years
two or three times per day it just tells
me I have too many of those machines in
there and so I can pull four of them out
and sell them or give them to a friend
or move on to somewhere else or
redistribute them in a different way and
because all the machines are if them you
need more machines then you really need
in your operations if you’re not going
to keep them all run mm-hmm every time
you lose one you’re losing capacity
yeah if you keep all your machines
running at all times and you’re very
hyper sensitive and obsessive about that
then really what you need to do is just
find the right fit what’s the right
number and you need to keep you know in
my opinion your you know your
transportation before you should never
lost on that but there’s other things
that go to into that when it comes to
like throughput you know if you’re gonna
have you’re gonna have an operation that
regularly is running four or five turns
a day or more then you have to set it up
that way you have to allow for a very
quick route but you have my two aisles
you have the friendly attendants that
are help people in quick between up
spills and you have proper seating and
you know you have to there’s things you
have to focus on beyond just washers and
yeah if people are waiting on a
bottleneck or a dryer then they’re delay
if they’re waiting on a folding table
they’re delay if they’re folding out of
the car
they’re delay because that’s not how
this should be done what happens in a
lot of laundromats because they put too
much equipment in there you know I’ve
actually walked in laundromats that had
30 or 40 dryers and had four holding
people see I’m just like this is basic
math like this is basic addition and
subtraction like it’s insane yeah but
it’s common like it’s not even the no
it’s not even out of the norm it’s so
common yeah and and I think a lot of
distributors very well intending
distributors you know their their
mindset is if you put more equipment in
than your pro forma those if you’re
doing a Performa or five times a day and
you say well you know we couldn’t do is
put six more double loaders in the back
wall well they don’t lower it to three
turns a day and the five all the sudden
decide it’s going to be more revenue
well on paper that may sound really good
but in real life it’s not usually works
the capacity is the capacity that’s
that’s what
I really focus on as I’ve evolved in
this industry you walk into some of my
stores that’s not what you’ll see
because that’s not what I did nine years
but I really believe that that’s that’s
a that’s a big part of of our success I
mean our new store is gonna have any
times you know my thing is if somebody
is standing in a folding table on one
side of the other and they’re loading a
washer on the other the adjacent side of
the aisle
somebody should still be able to walk
through there with it hard and not not
be just
yeah well that’s proper three-point
that’s how you get four or five or if
you talk to these large operators and
urban environments these people are
doing eight nine ten terms of it a lot
of time how they’re doing a lot of times
it is just a pure numbers game and
they’re they’re not built right and
people are don’t fit into each other
right but I really believe that when you
talk about modernizing the whole
internet industry those type of things
are every bit as important as technology
operations all the other aspects and a
lot of times you can’t do anything with
that if you take over a retrofit I mean
it’s really expensive to change the
floor plan yeah really expensive and a
lot of times it’s just not economical
but when people are building new Launer
notes and I see some of it like I see
modern mats that were just built two
years ago he spent two and a half
million dollars on this place
there’s like 100 washers and dryers in
there and like six molding people and
like two benches to sit on first comfort
sure everybody else tan like it’s crazy
it’s just absolutely crazy it’s like I’m
on yeah I always tell my distributor I’m
like then you’re 90% of the way there
like they were so close because I’m
pretty passionate about that because
it’s kind of been a sort of an aha
moment for me over the last probably
four years did I you know I’m always
kind of pushing the envelope to learn
and be better like I said more on that I
was today yeah sometimes you know I’m
not a quick learner to notice takes me
six years for me to man me too
so how many hours are you spending on
your business a week on average you know
until until about a year ago I was
spending it varies if out of pure
necessity I would say six to eight hours
a week because I’ve one of the things
I’ve also very intentionally done over
ten years has built my businesses so
that operationally they don’t need I’ve
always I call it the bus test if they’ve
got hit by a bus today with this thing
collapse with everything I work for a
lot of ten years and sacrifice collapse
yeah well what rise where my family that
I’ve lived on and whether they want to
sell those assets or run those assets
that’s a different conversation but if
they collapse they can you need it and
so that’s also a big part of my mindset
is operationally I’ve built my
businesses so that they don’t rely on me
there is there is an investment in that
I mean you have to invest more heavily
in managers which make more money and
store managers and general managers and
driving supervisors and purchase
supervisors and all these things that a
lot of owners do themselves but I’ve
been pretty intentional about that yeah
well knowing everything that I know
about you now after having talked to you
for this long I am pretty convinced that
if you got hit by a bus that that bus
would be totaled yeah taking the bus
down it’s not taking you down so you
know so the reason I said to last year
so is in the last year I’ve partnered
with a technology company with our
pickup and delivery business and I don’t
know if you’re familiar with that but
the happiness model is kind of
transitioning across the country and now
what I’m doing is spending most of my
time mentoring and consulting for
happiness and they’re bringing operators
on our platform they’re utilizing their
technology their infrastructure their
digital marketing and customer service
what they’re doing as they hired me as a
consultant to basically train and mentor
all of their operator also literally
just yesterday that’s a new client from
Florida and train with me in my team for
two days and then I’ll mentor them on an
ongoing basis on a long-term relation
though I’m not I’m not the you know the
penis a national brand I’m holder of
happiness in Cincinnati I’m an operator
but I’ve had a I’ve had a relationship
with them for three or four years and
they’ve seen that I’m one of their top
operators and I also do a lot of
consulting and have a heart that I enjoy
helping people and so they approached me
and they were like we don’t have time to
support these operators local that they
need to be supported if we’re going to
grow this into something and capture the
laundry pickup and delivery business is
quickly evolving into its own industry
laundromat industry you know generates a
six or eight billion dollars a year in
gross revenue and a lot of people think
in the in the not so distant future that
laundry pickup and delivery will exceed
that as its long history and so there’s
more than one company that’s you know
trying to capture that and there’ll be
plenty of room for multiple competitors
but you know we believe that happiness
will be one of those national
competitors and of being part of that is
finding the right operators in the right
markets and and mentoring them and
training them supporting them at a high
level just shoot me an e-mail I’ll try
to get back to you they can call me
pretty much 24 hours a day and I don’t
fail and so you know I was pretty
sensitive about it I don’t need a job my
whip you know what my wife always jokes
the word VOB is a four-letter word to me
about this relationship I was like let
me be clear I don’t need a job I’m not
an employee a consult but I do have the
skillset and the time and the passion to
take the things that I’ve learned in
laundry pick up and delivery and teach
others all over the country how to do
this and they even built a business
model that allows that to happen and I’m
just a small part of that
but I’m essentially the operations the
mentor side of it and so that answer
your question that’s what I spend a lot
of my time doing nowadays because it’s I
mean this motto just kind of came out
nine or ten months ago and we’ve already
got 25 30 operators in the platform I’ve
been busy I really really enjoy it I do
I enjoy helping others and so it was a
there’s been a lot of time doing that
and then and then I do a lot of vision
and marketing you know our new store
wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t busy new and
all kinds of work for a year or two
before we actually you know open it
you know what’s required in that – so
there’s a lot of happens before the work
start yeah that’s right exactly yeah you
know the a big part of building my
business the way I did was for like I
said to leave for my family that was
test all those things but obviously I’m
not planning on dying tomorrow and so a
big part of that too is as soon as I am
around you know I could I’m freed up to
do the things that will take our
business to the next level it kind of
goes back to being happy but not content
you know I have no intention of just
sitting back and writing or what I’ve
created for the next thirty years until
I die someday I have every intention of
considering continuing to push the
envelope and if I can give back to the
industry in any way then I want to do
I think the sole term mentor people I
want to do that if I can literally grow
from four to five to ten maunder nuts or
grow my pickup and delivery business
into new markets or whatever that I want
to do that but I don’t believe I’m here
to just sit around and watch TV you know
I like watching football and things like
that but at the same time like I’m here
to make a difference and I believe that
God’s put me in the place I’m in right
now for a reason and I have every
intention of pursuing that with
everything that I have in me and I don’t
you know I don’t believe it’s for the
money I don’t know I don’t know the
bigger purpose a lot of times I just
know that this is where I am this is the
knowledge the expertise the opportunity
that I have and so I want to find ways
to give that of course I’m limited by
time so I can’t just like be on the
phone with people for like thirty hours
a day
so I have some capacity issues there and
that’s why I started like charging for
consulting where I did consulting for
years for free because I enjoyed helping
people that I would sit on the phone for
hours and hours with people and no I
didn’t want anything from them other
than just if I can help you by doing
what we’re doing and I’m happy to do it
and then I realize like wow this is
becoming like really overwhelming
because they free consulting that’s a
booming business you know I was like
I don’t mean that money but I have
somehow like justify my time at so much
time of the day and I was just getting
calls and he was like crazy it was very
overwhelming that was like okay the only
way I know to like separate the people
that are serious from the people who
maybe aren’t quite as serious it is to
start charging you know a fair wage for
my service and exactly that’s exactly
what has happened and so I didn’t
necessarily do it for the money but
that’s kind of how we’ve evolved once
again hey I love I love that keep keep
evolving keep stacking all those skills
and talents and where it takes you well
hey this is the part where we like to
call it our secret sauce
I feel like you’ve given us so much
already if you had to narrow it down to
the one thing that you see working in
your business that you think other
laundromat owners can implement today or
you know in the near future what would
that what would that one thing be oh my
goodness there’s there’s a bunch of
things I could throw out for that one if
I had to say if I had to say one thing I
would just say value and and there’s
that’s a that’s a broad that’s a broad
term but you know I would also use words
like genuinely caring being passionate
wanting to serve your community wanting
to be better tomorrow than you were
today pushing the envelope all those
things fall under that same kind of
grant value but that’s ultimately really
what’s been a big market differentiator
for me and my team in my businesses and
one of the things I try to teach other
laundromat owners is like if you’re
gonna do this you’ve got to do it like
you gotta go 150 miles an hour and you
have to be passionate you have to care
and has to be sincere you can’t beat it
because people are stupid nuns don’t
figure it out that you have an ulterior
motive or you’re just trying to sell
them dance or whatever um and that goes
down to other laundromat owners if
you’re mentoring you’re consulting it
also applies to the self-serve customer
that looks in the door if they know
you’re just after your four bucks it’s
like they’re just Serie three and they
may or may not use you otherwise but the
reality is when they see that you care
and that you built a team of people that
genuinely care and like we will
something instead of rolling their eyes
and huffing off to get them up that
they’re like don’t worry about it you
know here and then they’ll give little
Johnny a sucker distract them so mom can
do their holding or whatever like all
those little things helping people carry
their laundry again helping them carry
their laundry out because they’ve been
doing laundry for four hours and they’re
exhausted you know giving them a free
bottled water for no reason absolutely
no reason you know I’ll go to my store
I’ll be collect on my vending and you
know a little kid looking over my
shoulder at Snickers and then we like is
it okay if he has a receipt Oh
we’ll just hand it to them and they
didn’t thinks I’m a millionaire is last
day they send me for free you know but
little things like that they go a long
ways but they they don’t go near as far
they’re not gin
yeah that’s that’s really you know
that’s my secret sauce but it’s it’s
very genuine oh I mean it is a secret
sauce in that sense but it’s really all
about value whether it’s whether it’s
you know the happiness pickup and
delivery or it’s my drop loss services
or myself sir stores or for that matter
if I’m ever either never a commercial
you know property owner and leasing
space to other people they care they
know that I care about their business in
the way that I take care of my property
now as I some property owners that don’t
care it’s very obvious and and we don’t
have as good of a relationship and I
have a property owner that does care
genuinely cares about my business being
successful No so those things go a long
way in about I’m loving spirit I really
yeah yeah and I think that’s why you’ve
reached the level of success you have so
far and that’s why you know I’m pretty
confident you’re gonna you know fly to
bar higher heights going bings yeah
that’s an awesome answer so here’s a
little section we like to call pro tips
specifically for people who you know I
think there’s gonna be a lot of people
listening to this who are interested in
the lawn mat industry who aren’t in it
yet what what is a one tip that you
would give to a perspective or a ‘new
laundromat owner somebody who’s looking
to get into the industry what’s it
what’s one tip you give them kind of
going into it oh I did this I mean from
like a design standpoint order like I
know just I say I’m I’m brand new and
I’m looking to getting by a laundromat I
want to buy a mat what’s one thing that
I need to know going into it I think
there’s really three things I would tell
that person and probably had a pole
people one of them is the beauty of
being an entrepreneur and a business
owner is you get to decide what your
business is and what it was no one can
decide that for you
that’s that freedom of being able to
make those decisions based on what’s
important to you is pretty powerful and
so so take that seriously another one
that I would say is that networking is
really important get to know other
people in the in the industry there’s a
lot of knowledge and a lot of expertise
out there and there’s a lot of people
willing to help you in a lot of
different levels based on how you know
how much time they have available and
they if you if you do those things one
of the things you’re going to learn in
the process of networking us there’s
more than one way to skin a cut in this
industry um you know it may sound like I
have a negative association with an
unattended laundromat I do not I know
phenomenal laundromat owners that run
very very well run very well unattended
and there’s nothing wrong with that
that’s what I was that’s what I wanted
to do at one point and then the last
thing I would tell them is don’t be
afraid to pivot because as you’ve gained
knowledge as you gain expertise like
you’re gonna wake up one day and be like
what we can do I was a newbie but now
like people are only a better in how did
that happen you know what we’re because
that happened to me I was like whoa did
you just call me a veteran like did you
just call me experience like nice ball
you know six years went by and I you
know I still don’t consider ten years I
don’t consider myself a veteran but a
lot of people do and I guess compared to
the guy that this potted wonder about
last week you know and so those are you
know there’s a lot that goes into those
even but those are the three things I
would really tell them I think maybe the
fourth one I’ll throw in there is to
have a master plan but going back to
that pivoting don’t be afraid to pivot
don’t be afraid to change that master
plan I really believe that if you don’t
have a vision where you’re trying to go
you’ll never get I really truly believe
that and so it’s okay to have a very
defined division but where you’re going
and then gained a new information into
the context and change that vision
that’s okay that’s funny you don’t have
to follow that for 40 years but you
still need to have a vision today and
that good vision can change tomorrow and
if you if you use all those things and
kind of a big picture and buyer
then you’ll methodically make decisions
based on all of those things without
even really thinking about does that
make sense
makes perfect sense yeah that’s and that
the bottom what I’ve done and I’ve
learned a lot of that all the way along
the way no no for five years I didn’t do
a lot of the things we’re talking about
now yeah five years I’ve done a lot more
of those things and it goes back to why
things like networking are important
spending time at clean show and
excellence in laundry and joining the
CLA and being on Facebook groups and
there’s you know getting the industry
magazines and and in white papers and
and all these different things like
there’s so much there’s so much
information and someone to value out
there and part of why I’m really
passionate about our industry is because
like I said I’ve stolen everything I
have from someone in some way no maybe a
point here that’s weak here and I made
my own melted my own model out of that
but like nothing I’ve done and I created
out of cynic know and so when you when
you learn it it when you begin to
understand your success is based on
those things then you really it should
humble you to the point of where you you
don’t think you’re spectacular yes
you’re confident in your team you know
what you do is very good maybe even you
know that it’s at the top of the
industry but you also know that you’re
not special this is a collaboration of
all the things I’ve been talking about
for the last hour mm-hmm and so once
again I don’t know if that makes sense
but that’s just how my brain works like
my brain never stopped I’m just like
always digging and pivoting and focusing
and sometimes that causes me to do
really stupid things I do things that
I’m like what was I thinking
but I really believe that you can learn
from that you know you can learn from
your mistakes and your failures probably
more so then you can learn from your
successes no those are those are a lot
of the key things that I tell people are
the direct correlation of my success and
so I believe that they would be would be
a key to their success
however they they know that together for
them yeah that’s gold that’s seriously
gold one other question before we wrap
this up is speaking of everything that
you’ve been
saying you’ve stolen what’s a do you
have a good resource that you’d
recommend to other laundromat owners or
prospective laundromat owners just to
help them develop maybe even just some
of the mindset that you have and I’m
sure there’s a ton but you got one or
Tom well one thing I’ll add on to that
and I’ve open a ramble too much is as
much information and knowledge as there
is in the industry and there’s a lot you
should tap into that there’s just much
outside of the industry mm-hmm because
I’m an entrepreneurial nerd what I mean
by that is I love the process it’s not
about the product it’s about the process
about the people and I really truly
believe that and so you can learn you
know I have many friends that are in
businesses you know that someone
franchises and some built franchises and
on different things and I learned
Cleanse from them just by having lunch
from that other business nothing to do
with my business but some of the things
I just told you I’m most likely stole
from that yeah so there’s a you know
there’s a big part of that to you that’s
that’s really set pretty deep in me well
Dave this has been I think epic is a
good word to describe it’s been really
really cool getting to talk to you and
hear about your story and all your your
whole journey that’s taking you to this
point and you know we’re gonna have to
have you back at some point to hear
about this fist store and to hear what
direction your head in there because no
you’re gonna pivot you know quite a few
times I appreciate I appreciate you
having me on at sundry you know talking
to you and getting in a video I know
we’re being reported and everything but
st. I’m this is a big part of my success
is doing what you and I are doing right
yeah just isn’t networking meeting each
other getting to know each other it’s
cool that we have the technology
available for you to be in California
and me to be in Cincinnati and to do
this like so easily and so there’s a you
know that that’s fantastic and I you
know I I hope someday that we meet many
times face-to-face you know over the
course of this but it’s been really cool
getting to know you and kind of hearing
your story too so I appreciate having me
on thank you and before I let you go why
don’t you tell people how they can get
in contact with you
you know best ways they can get a hold
of you maybe they want your consulting
or do they wanna just you know connect
with you in network yeah they could
reach out to me a lot of different ways
I have a couple email addresses DME NZ
and happiness comm which is just B for
Dave and then my last name Emmy NZ or
Dave at laundry magician is my
consulting email address and so they can
send it there as well I don’t know if
I’m supposed to do it on the podcast but
my cell phone number is five nine three
six oh seven one five one one and if I
get overwhelmed forgive me but I do I do
plan to get back to people I can text me
they can call me and and we can chat
talk and I’ll see if I can help them I
don’t need to be an expert in every area
of the industry but the things that
we’ve encountered and learn from we feel
like we have a pretty good grasp on
things and a last thing also people is
like I’m always doing local events or
the excellence in laundry or the clean
show and different things like that and
so obviously you have my face it and and
so you may see me there and I have no
idea who you are and so like I love
meeting people and get to know him
getting to know people so if people see
this this interview and they you know
see me at one of these events like just
come up and shake my hand introduced
yourself because like I can’t have I
can’t have too many friends kind of the
way I look at it so I like meeting new
people and getting to know people and
and I can help them that’s fantastic too
so awesome and I’ll have that
information down in the show notes so
make sure you check that out and get in
contact with Dave he will be an awesome
resource and sounds like just a cool guy
so get to know Dave shoot him an email
or trim a call on a cell phone that
would be awesome
all right Dave well thanks so much for
being on the show man I can’t wait
hopefully we’ll get to meet up here soon
I’m sure like a clean show or something
yeah that’d be fantastic but hopefully
before that we’ll get together yeah I’d
be great thanks again probably
appreciating you thank you
Wow I mean just just wow if you’re if
you’re still here I don’t know how you
couldn’t be just soaking all that up
from Dave but if you’re still here then
hey congratulations to you you made it
through it’s a long episode but hacked
jam-packed full of great practical tips
but probably even more so just mindset
tips and you know one of the big things
that I pulled away from this episode is
just that key word that kept coming up
over and over which was value you know
Dave is all about value and bringing
value to customers and sometimes I think
it can get easy at least for me maybe
you feel this way too
you know the laundromat industry can be
kind of a relatively hands-off business
it doesn’t require your full attention
all week long necessarily and so I can
lose sight of you know how am i bringing
value to my customers and you know Dave
is just hyper focused on that and that’s
what he’s built his business on and it
has served him well and so I mean I’m
definitely bringing that away from this
episode of from talking with Dave and
getting to know him just as a person and
I hope you’re bringing something like
that away too I’m positive that everyone
listening to this brought something
valuable away from it so thank you again
for listening to the laundromat resource
podcast this is Jordan on show number 2
we’ll see you next week
signing off

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