“You are an extension of your customers’ house.”

Elizabeth Bricken Wilson  is  a dynamo laundromat owner! She is an absolute MASTER at listening to others and responding with empathy and decisive action. Her humble demeanor belies the genius of her success in the laundromat business.

“I don’t exist without my customers.”

As I spoke with Elizabeth, it become more and more clear to me that I was speaking with someone who gets it. She casually dropped genius perspectives, innovative ideas, and powerful wisdom as if were just chit chat over coffee. And yet, the power in her perspective on her business is something we all need more of!

“It’s awesome to be a conduit for the neighborhood to support their neighbors.”

I (Jordan) listened to this episode twice before it even came out and was struck by how great Elizabeth is at listening to her customers and staff, learning what they want and need, and finding ways to both give it to them and help them get it themselves.

“It doesn’t cost extra to listen to your customers.”

In this episode we cover topics such as: 

  • Using NextDoor.com to find out how to craft a laundromat your neighborhood wants
  • Lessons learned from buying her first laundromat business
  • Preconceived misconceptions about owning laundromats
  • How to stand out in a crowded market
  • Personally running shifts early on
  • Marketing your laundromat business
  • Integrating laundry drop-off & pick-up and delivery services
  • Goals for the next year
  • Innovative and powerful secret sauce to success in the laundromat business
  • Get to know laundromats
  • The power of learning from successful people

And much more!

“If my husband can hire someone to do lawn care, I can hire someone to do the laundry.”

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

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    Episode Transcript

    hey what’s up guys it’s jordan with the
    laundromat resource podcast this is show
    number 39
    and i’m pumped that you’re here today
    because today we’re talking with
    wilson and i just love the passion that
    she has
    about her laundromat she’s kind of a
    reluctant laundromat
    owner from the beginning and now just
    loves loves loves it and
    it’s so cool to hear her story hear her
    share her experiences you’re going to
    really love it and you’re actually going
    to learn a lot from it too i know i did
    so make sure you get uh you know your
    favorite note-taking app or
    a notepad and pencil out and make sure
    you’re taking notes throughout this one
    uh but before we get to that interview i
    just want to uh
    man just take a second and say i am
    excited about what’s happening with
    laundromat resource right now this past
    week we rolled out with some new
    on the website one of them i’m very very
    excited about you may have gotten an
    email about it if you’re on the email
    but now uh laundromat resource is a
    better place to
    network with this industry uh because
    now we have the capability to
    message privately we have the
    capabilities to have friends
    on a lot of my resource and follow
    and uh just more and more we’re building
    in things to help
    us network together better because i’m
    saying it all the time but
    we are better together we’re all going
    to make more money we’re going to help
    more people we’re gonna do it all a lot
    when we’re working together and so we’re
    trying to figure out more and more ways
    to do that
    uh through laundromat resource and and
    this week we made a big step forward i’m
    super excited about it i know some of
    you guys have already been using it i’ve
    been getting some messages on the site
    and stuff so go find me
    a lot of myresource.com sign up for a
    free membership get access to the free
    ebook and all the other tools
    and participate in the forums and start
    making some friends networking messaging
    having conversations
    growing learning and overall just
    more so i’m super excited about it hope
    you guys are excited to get over there
    make a profile
    fill out your profile and let us know
    who you are and start interacting or
    keep interacting if you’re already doing
    lots of stuff going on in the forums
    i’ll let you guys head over this week to
    check those things out a lot of cool
    conversations happening i know you guys
    were pretty active this week and some
    new people on the forums too so welcome
    to all you guys who are new to
    laundromat resource
    and the membership uh i say it all the
    time but get in there
    ask a question answer a question in
    those forums
    every week get the discussions rolling
    because that’s
    where you’re going to start seeing that
    all right so man i’m let’s just jump
    into it with
    elizabeth because i just had such a
    great time
    and i’m excited because uh she committed
    to coming back
    on next year around this time so we
    could check on some of her progress
    she’s going to talk about that
    you’re going to love this whole thing so
    let’s get into it right after
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    the description
    how are you doing thanks for coming on
    the show jordan glad to be here
    i know this has been in the works for a
    long time so this is kind of
    like i’ve been anticipating this forever
    don’t let me down that’s what i’m trying
    to say
    it’s gonna know it’s gonna be a lot of
    fun well i’m super excited because
    we i mean we literally have been
    probably for like almost a year
    talking about doing something like this
    and so it’s very cool to be doing it
    finally with you
    and i can’t wait to hear more about your
    story because we’ve never talked before
    this is our first time talking also
    i hear your first time on a podcast is
    my very first podcast and yes it’s going
    to be so exciting i can already tell
    it’s going to be a lot of fun
    uh so i want to hear about your
    experience with laundromats but before
    we get to that
    can you tell us a little bit about you
    who are you where you come from
    where do i come from i’m from a small
    town called telahoma tennessee which is
    right in the middle of the state
    i lived there until i was 18. and since
    then i’ve moved
    almost every year um for lots of reasons
    i’ve lived all over the world france
    south america i ended up in memphis
    tennessee about seven years ago
    and since then my husband and i have
    done primarily real estate
    related work anything from primarily
    single-family housing
    anything related to that flips
    foreclosures rentals
    um subject to lease options and then we
    bought our first laundry mat
    um in august of 18.
    some two and a half years in wow okay
    well first of all i want to just
    pause for a second i do want to hear
    about you but i just wanted to mention
    that your
    husband has an awesome podcast thanks
    and i i think that you know if you’re
    out there and you’re interested in
    commercial real estate you got to check
    you know sam sam right is his name how
    to scale commercial real estate podcast
    on all the
    normal platforms it’s a daily short 15
    20 minute podcast that he interviews
    you know anyone related to commercial
    real estate i’ve enjoyed just listening
    to them while he’s interviewing it’s
    it’s impressive how many people are
    doing just really cool stuff out there
    related to commercial real estate
    yeah so if you’re at all interested in
    commercial real estate you got to check
    out this episode
    it’s crazy he is like on a pace that is
    killer he has more
    episodes out than i do and he just
    started you know like in november of
    last year
    and he but he’s been putting him out
    every day he’s recording multiple a day
    stockpiling those things and um yeah so
    you got to check it out how to scale
    commercial real estate make sure you go
    over there and subscribe to that and get
    some inspiration
    because that is i mean i always
    say that i need to brainwash myself to
    keep me
    on task and keep me motivated and the
    way that i do that
    a lot of times is i listen to podcasts
    that have you know people on who were
    talking about
    the big things that they’re doing and
    and that kind of thing so
    he is one of my my podcasts that are
    keeping me focused and i’m looking to
    buy some commercial real estate here
    pretty soon and
    it’s super helpful for me so awesome
    what says what’s the rule when you
    surround yourself by what the seven
    people or five people you surround
    yourself with
    and i think that’s a way we can do it
    especially in this environment where you
    don’t get that face-to-face time
    is through podcasts you can listen to
    those experts you can’t connect with
    otherwise which i just think is amazing
    yeah i agree completely okay enough of
    commercial for your husband this is not
    about him we really don’t care about him
    we care about you
    uh so okay real quick very briefly i
    mean you kind of piqued my interest
    you’ve traveled all around what were you
    doing living all over the world
    just for fun i got a scholarship
    to do my master’s um from the rotary
    club it was called the ambassadorial
    and i’ve always wanted to live in africa
    and so i applied to five different
    and i got my top pick which is a
    university called the tall in durban
    south africa right on the coast
    and so i just spent two years down there
    doing my masters in environmental
    and just loved it would stay around
    longer if i could
    and then spent two years learning french
    in paris
    and the rest of the travels just been
    mildly for work wow
    romantic romantic life okay so you go
    from this
    like dream life and then you’re like
    yeah and then we moved to
    you know memphis and then we bought a
    laundromat okay so
    we got a there’s like now if you look at
    my resume it looks like can she not
    decide on any career choice and i don’t
    know just
    here i am you know i’m the exact same
    way so
    there’s no judgment here i actually like
    that i think that’s awesome
    uh okay so okay fill in some blanks here
    for us so
    why’d you land in memphis um
    that’s a really another random one so my
    background is actually in
    um linguistics in bible translation
    which is why i was end up in france i
    was trying to be a bible translator to
    in central africa he wasn’t going to be
    this like missionary bible translator
    thing and so in order to be a missionary
    pilot you have to get your mechanics
    into the main school in tennessee is in
    eight years later here we are still is
    he still a pilot
    he’s still a pilot we don’t know what we
    used to but you know what nobody cares
    nobody cares about him
    okay this is about you next time you
    should have him on i got no i don’t even
    care about him
    no he means nothing to me so okay uh
    all right so you guys ended up in
    memphis and uh you guys
    have done real estate right you’ve
    you’ve been doing all this
    invent like a lot of stuff man it sounds
    like a lot
    um okay so how did you wind up with
    a laundromat like yeah so i left
    town for something i can’t remember why
    oh that’s your fault
    i know you should never leave town
    because who knows what your husband’s
    gonna do that’s why i tell my wife like
    you leave town you don’t know what’s
    gonna happen i might have a laundromat
    i have a new dog i don’t know i married
    a serial entrepreneur going back to sam
    and so with that comes a lot of benefits
    and a lot of just like what you do uh
    it’s our left hand he had to take our
    comforter the laundromat i can’t
    remember what happened
    and next thing i know it’s like hey i’m
    talking to the owner of this laundromat
    because we’re going to buy it i’m like
    no no no we know nothing about
    i mean it’s the closest laundry mat to
    our house that is literally
    exactly a mile from our house right now
    and so he started talking with sky and i
    wanted nothing to do with it
    i mean i did everything a wife could
    possibly do to say
    no i want no part of it i wasn’t part of
    the negotiation this laundromat was
    falling apart
    i tell people picture like the worst
    scene in a quentin tarantino movie
    lights falling in machines hanging open
    really random people in it just it was
    gross um this was actually the oldest
    laundromat in memphis
    that i think it was built in 59 or 60
    um owned by the same owner until he died
    that’s the year he bought at 18 and his
    son took it over and didn’t want
    anything to do with it
    and so you can imagine just the
    disrepair and deferred maintenance
    and so sam bought it and then we started
    remodeling it and i started hanging out
    in it
    and i fell in love with the silly little
    underwear fell in love with it
    i fell in love with um what i could see
    really is a community
    space just the people that have come in
    we have so many regular customers
    it is the heart of our little
    neighborhood and that’s sort of how we
    grew it
    um so yeah now sam almost since the
    first two months after the remodel
    he has nothing to do with it
    occasionally other than that it’s all
    that’s that’s what my wife pulled on me
    actually we really
    the laundromat was her idea and somehow
    i’m the one who deals with it now and
    she does nothing for i don’t know
    how how they pulled that off but they
    did but they somehow did it
    they pulled us in genius evil geniuses
    okay so you so you bought this
    laundromat that was like
    run down in disrepair and disrepair
    yeah what was that experience like
    especially as someone who really didn’t
    want it
    um that was probably rough ish i mean we
    got through it i think the roughest part
    was the unknowns
    of laundry mat business unknowns of i
    mean i’m not a mechanical person
    and so hiring a plumber to come in and
    like re-plumb things because
    you know washer and dryers have changed
    so much that’s the laundry mountain
    building you know all these
    old top loaders so there’s a lot of
    lessons like
    anything else you do knew lessons
    learned you know should have hired a
    plumber to come in and evaluate some of
    the older pipes
    um but we all put in a lot of new
    machines we’ve
    since then have replaced almost
    everything except for
    two 1970 sissel dryers that i think my
    customers would completely rebel if i
    took out
    but wait in line for these dryers really
    they’ve they’ve like gotten to that
    point where they’re so
    old now that they’re cool again and
    people want them well i think it’s
    pretty epa rules on
    i think it’d be exceptionally hot yeah
    well and also people come in and say you
    know this is the dryers my mom
    used or my grandmother used yeah a
    little sentimental value to
    coming into a laundromat that’s been
    around in a neighborhood for that long
    yeah then that’s kind of cool to to get
    a laundromat like that and to be able to
    keep like a piece of that
    um you know just that history that’s
    been there for a really long time so
    that is pretty cool to be able to do
    that um okay so you guys
    bought this laundromat what would you
    okay like they handed you the keys like
    here here’s your here’s your laundromat
    good luck you know slapped you on the
    back and walked out the door what
    would you do what was it like luckily i
    wasn’t part of the first part i think i
    would have panicked a little bit
    um and so sam actually met with our
    dexter rep
    and just sort of started walking through
    about what we needed new machines that
    kind of stuff would look like and
    um oh and this was also the first
    maybe the second time i’ve ever stepped
    foot into a loaner night so it wasn’t
    like i had some sort of preconceived
    idea of like oh yeah these are what
    laundromat machines
    should look like or pricing on it or
    anything so it’s not
    beyond new like i have no idea what
    people do in laundromats which is good
    and bad because i can come into it with
    fresh eyes and be like
    i think the bad part about our industry
    is the preconceived notion
    that laundromats are scary and people
    that come to them are sketchy
    which is not true you can have that you
    don’t have to have that you can put
    things in place like
    there’s no reason laundromats can’t be
    clean and have nice lighting
    there’s no reason you can’t have
    friendly staff and i think all that
    stuff can take away
    that stereotype that people have with
    laundromats um
    so i think because i didn’t have a
    background in industry
    i was able to look at it and even ask
    neighbors i mean
    um one of the first things that i did
    was like get on
    the um social media nextdoor
    since we live in the neighborhood and
    say hey we just bought this laundromat
    well what would you guys like to have a
    neighborhood laundromat what are you
    looking for what kind of stuff is
    important to you
    because i didn’t know what i wanted
    i went straight to the customer base and
    say hey and people love that
    people love the oh they actually care
    about what we want and we’re thinking
    about this and so that’s sort of how
    i looked at it and went into it
    i mean let’s just call like it is it’s
    it’s novel to actually ask people what
    they want
    and help and help them make it happen
    like i mean i think
    it’s so simple right and it sounds so
    obvious but
    it’s so easy to get caught up in your
    own vision i talk to people all the time
    in coaching who are like i want to do
    this and i want to do this and i want to
    do this
    but they never asked the people who
    it’s going to serve or who are in that
    what would you guys like what would you
    you know what would you want your
    laundry mat to look like and
    i do think that’s a huge a huge
    advantage to you
    because it not only tells you what they
    want but it also creates that buy-in
    you know from them it becomes part of
    their own and
    you know when something’s your own first
    of all you take better care of it and
    second of all you don’t leave it as easy
    um so you’re building that customer
    loyalty and trust and
    all of that so genius genius move so if
    anybody out there is looking
    to you know redo your laundromat or
    you’re buying one that needs to be
    redone or
    or even if you just have one and you’re
    just running it you don’t have to be
    redoing anything
    asking the customers hey what would make
    this a better experience for you
    that’s that’s a huge tip i mean because
    i’m done exists without them
    i mean they’re the reason that this
    laundry mat exists i mean i’m not going
    to hang out a laundry by myself
    so if i can do anything to make that
    i mean the biggest compliment someone
    can give me is that you’ve made my
    laundry day
    better great because no one likes doing
    laundry no one likes coming nuts
    yeah yeah that better awesome yeah no
    i i love that and i think that’s that
    that’s the mentality that
    the best people in our industry have
    right you know there’s there’s
    a lot of different mentalities you can
    come to this business in but the
    consistently the people who that i see
    who are doing the best in this industry
    are the ones
    that have that mindset that are saying
    hey i i just want to
    help my customers have a better laundry
    experience i want to
    you know provide you know dave men’s use
    the word value like i want to provide a
    lot of value to my
    customers be saying the same thing right
    like i want this experience to not be so
    and maybe possibly even be enjoyable to
    on you know on
    some level you know you still gotta fold
    fitted sheets and stuff like that so
    um i know yeah uh
    especially an industry like iris where
    you could literally i mean i don’t know
    how many laundromats are within
    a couple of miles from us i’m guessing
    what ten ish and so
    if you’re thinking about um standing out
    in a crowded marketplace i mean
    these things don’t cost extra you know
    it doesn’t cost extra to listen to your
    customers oh gosh honestly
    um my best source of information is my
    staff my staff will talk to customers
    customers will
    mention things offhand and my staff and
    so i tell my staff
    all the time you hear stuff i mean a lot
    of the stuff we can’t do or that i don’t
    want to do
    um but a lot of them like oh would not
    have thought about that
    oh no oh we couldn’t be open earlier in
    the morning without costing anything the
    doors just unlock earlier
    so it’s um so that’s been a great source
    can’t even say inspiration just insight
    yeah that’s huge and you know the staff
    especially if you’re not
    you know if you’re not some people
    manage their own you know they’re there
    all the time at their laundromats but if
    you’re not running it that way
    your staff are a huge source of
    information you know for you
    they’re the boots on the ground they’re
    the ones where you know when there’s an
    they are the ones who hear about that
    issue and creating
    a relationship with your staff that has
    open lines of communication where
    they feel like they can bring that
    information to you
    and not only that they can bring it to
    you but that you’re gonna do something
    about it
    you know it not only helps your
    customers but it helps your staff too
    because they’re the ones who are dealing
    with the complaints or you know all that
    stuff so
    yeah that goes back to your questions
    like one of the things that we did at
    the beginning was because i didn’t know
    anything about the industry
    i started running shifts you know i was
    there all the time like i want to learn
    how this works i want to learn the
    customers i want to be there
    i’m not there much now because i’m an
    amazing manager but that was part of
    getting to know like
    so when i bought the business i also
    inherited free staff to go along with it
    and so part of it was getting to know
    them getting to know not that i distrust
    them when they say something like oh
    what does that actually look like
    from someone who’s not familiar with um
    the industry when we bought it we’re
    also a dry cleaner drop off
    that because no one’s dry cleaning
    anything and heard no
    people quit dry cleaning last year about
    different fabrics and how all that works
    so i had to really learn a lot
    just to just in order to teach them how
    to manage it well
    yeah yeah and i i think that you know
    a lot of people get into the business
    thinking you know it’s a relatively
    hands-off business it’s relatively easy
    and it is right but i think what’s not
    talked about a lot is exactly what
    you’re saying and this has come up
    over and over and over again with
    podcast guests and
    even in particular the most successful
    podcast guests where
    early on they actually had to put a lot
    of effort and time in
    up front to learn the business and to
    get things running the way that they
    wanted to run it and to learn how to
    deal with their employees and to get the
    right employees in place
    that takes a lot of time and effort and
    so you know when you talk about
    a laundromat being relatively easy and
    relatively hands-off
    yes but up front a lot of times it can
    take some effort and time that you’re
    going to need to put into it so
    you know kudos to you for going in and
    learning hands-on the business
    it was fun you know
    yeah it’s fun man i think that’s what
    business should be you get to know the
    people you get to know and that that
    part of it’s fun
    you know it’s like you figure out and
    also figure out who you want to hire
    you can be around and you’re like oh you
    can interview someone like you don’t
    like this you’re not going to like this
    yeah you know i don’t think it’s not
    like i owned a company like
    apple i could have sit in every position
    and figure out what a good fit is it for
    but for most laundromats once you figure
    what the attendance role should be then
    you can easily train them to do what you
    feel is best for your particular
    yeah yeah i think that’s great okay so
    uh so you guys went in and you put in
    some new
    machines right and you work with the
    on that uh what was the response to that
    customers loved it they’ve loved
    about the only pushback i ever got was
    some of our older
    customers did not like the fact i was
    replacing the majority of the toddlers
    but again two part of that’s just
    training i think the visualization that
    front loaders don’t look like they can
    hold as much they don’t
    they don’t fill with water like top
    loaders do yeah
    there’s always that balance between
    training customers and listening to
    their feedback on what they want
    yeah yeah that and that is uh
    a big challenge because i do think you
    know i took top loaders out of one of my
    stores and it was like it was a learning
    curve because
    you know people are like there’s no
    water in this machine right and i’m like
    there is water you know and i’ve tried
    to explain to them you know and a lot of
    them speak spanish and my spanish is
    it’s rough you know um but i’m trying to
    experience a big fan
    i know i know i do that in the car
    sometimes on the way there on the way
    back trying to like
    sharpen up my spanish but uh you know
    trying to explain to them you know the
    of the drum you know requires less water
    you know usually what i end up telling
    is hey you know here’s a wash on me
    if it’s not clean let me know and
    you know we’ll fix it we’ll i’ll put it
    in a bigger washer or
    whatever and we’ll fix it and you know
    and and a lot of times
    they’ll start to see and smell that
    their clothes are actually cleaner in a
    front loader right but
    it does take some education because it’s
    not filling up this huge
    bucket of water basically you know to
    get them clean so
    yeah otherwise great feedback because we
    had no large machines in there really
    and so
    now we have an eight liter which is
    great yeah how’s that one is that one
    being used a lot
    loved loved my customers there’s nothing
    better than seeing like a family come in
    with like two 55-gallon
    garbage bags and just stuff it in and
    walk out yeah
    yeah that is great those big old
    machines man they
    they’re just like workhorses they’re
    amazing yeah it’s pretty cool
    yeah uh brandon understall who was i
    want to say like
    show seven he was he gave a great tip
    that keeps getting brought up all the
    time and he
    you know he basically says his his tip
    for for owners is put bigger machines in
    because people love them
    and and and they’re also good for
    so yeah huge people like seeing them
    people will use them more
    um because like the ones the smaller
    ones the two and three loaders they’re
    two and three loaders but you see a five
    loader it’s just a dollar more
    yeah almost always yep yep
    smart okay so you put in new machines
    responded well did business grow
    you did that yeah very much so we’ve
    three rounds i guess of new machines
    editions we did the big one the first
    and then we replaced all the dryers
    except for those two sizzles
    and then we’ve replaced every almost all
    the other washers with
    um new machines i think we still have
    six old ones
    but so yeah we’ve done three different
    rounds and part of it was just figuring
    what the finances were with that uh one
    of the benefits of
    2020 for a lot of businesses was
    financing on new equipment
    so with that kind of financing it was
    easy to make that decision like okay
    we can do this um and our utility bills
    go down with new machines so it works
    great for everybody yeah yeah 2020 was a
    year for in terms of like interest rates
    terms and people are willing to wheel
    and deal just trying to keep
    business going and keep stuff moving
    great and i think probably still right
    now in 2021 early 2021 it’s
    a good time to be you know looking into
    that if that’s something that you’re
    needing you know give your distributor
    call up
    and see if they’re ready to wheel and
    deal with you a little bit
    um okay did you when you when you were
    rolling out new machines and stuff did
    you do any promotions with that or
    or you just if you build it they will
    i still have my giant grand opening
    banner in a box
    that i never pulled out when we bought
    the great idea of doing something and
    next i know six months have passed i’m
    yeah having to do any sort of it just
    sort of more organically
    started and word spread um
    yeah haven’t seen serious
    promotions like that at all nothing
    and they just they just came that’s
    that’s awesome and i think that is part
    of the power of putting in new
    equipment right is like people love the
    shiny people love the new and people
    love to see
    business owners take care of their
    community business right and so i can’t
    who said it i want to say maybe joe dan
    reed but somebody was like hey
    make sure every year you are investing
    back in your business in some way and in
    particular some visible way so whether
    that’s even just slapping a new coat of
    paint on it doesn’t have to be like buy
    machines every year but you know
    sprucing up outside plant some flowers
    something that shows customers you’re
    keeping that business
    up and running and uh yeah so
    very true and having great staff that
    are willing to get in there and clean
    i mean the fact that someone comes into
    our laundry mat and that’s the first
    thing they tell me it’s like oh my gosh
    your laundry right so clean i’m like
    i have an amazing i do have amazing
    staff that just really take pride in
    what they do
    and keep the place clean how did you how
    did you get
    such an amazing staff did you train them
    that way were they born that way what’s
    that’s a great question um
    so i have still one employee that i
    actually she’s my manager that i
    retained from when we bought the
    and since then i’ve hired five more all
    from the neighborhood
    um i don’t know so it’s a mixture of
    training i’m a big
    i’m a big fan of lists and i think if
    people have
    the whole idea of good fences make good
    neighbors i think it’s very important
    managing people like this is what i
    expect i’m not the world’s best manager
    i’m really not i’m not like not good at
    you know i set the expectations of like
    this is what i want you to do and please
    do it because i don’t
    have to like i mean i’ve had to find my
    first person ever and it was just
    that was just awful um so i’m not good
    at that i know i’m not good at that my
    manager i have now is much better about
    it she’s just
    uh which is awesome so yeah a big fan of
    lists this is what’s required from first
    shift this is required from second shift
    um yeah and they just
    they just do it but occasionally i still
    have to go in there and say hey why
    wasn’t this done and
    we were bombarded with you know drop off
    quarters and
    but otherwise they just take great pride
    what they do yeah and i think those
    lists bring a lot of clarity too
    you know and i think that that’s very
    important you know
    with especially with this kind of line
    of work where you’re just saying okay
    here are the expectations
    you know smile and get get the stuff
    and you know we’re gonna have a great
    experience for everybody
    so yeah i think that’s that’s great okay
    so you
    have an awesome staff and you’re not
    really giving yourself credit for it but
    i will give you the credit
    for that um for you uh
    okay so what
    at what point did you decide that okay i
    don’t hate this idea
    in fact maybe i kind of i kind of like
    having the laundromat
    i think it was the people i think once i
    got to know
    the handful of regular customers that
    came in i think once you realize
    that you owning a laundromat is a very
    tangible business you are helping people
    out with their laundry you’re an
    extension of their house
    and that was sort of
    the vision i had for our laundromat was
    i want people to come in
    and feel like they’re home um
    and so yeah that’s sort of just how it
    evolved and so it’s things like
    um i partner with an organization that
    just called porter leaf
    so we have an entire we started having
    an entire reading corner in the back for
    and then that expanded to a little
    library so now we have i don’t know two
    or three hundred books that people can
    take and drop off and bring back the
    bookshelves were all built by a neighbor
    or donated
    i mean my neighborhood just loved my
    little undermine it amazes me all the
    um so that comes in there we have
    rocking chairs that people can come in
    and sit and rock
    and it’s just people just love it
    they’re not expensive touches
    you know but it’s just a way to make
    people they walk in there and go i feel
    comfortable here
    i feel safe here this is clean i want to
    come back
    um so anything that i can do to make
    that we have potted plants
    again too nothing nothing earth
    shattering that we don’t do anything
    but you just do things that make people
    known my staff know people by name they
    welcome my name you come to the store
    hello mrs smith nice to see you back
    you know hello can i help you um it’s
    things like that that just make the
    world of difference
    especially as a family coming in every
    week to do laundry
    or even people not coming into london
    there’s a lot of women that we
    um our location is interesting place in
    memphis because we are right on the
    between um million-dollar houses on one
    and um apartment complexes on the other
    so you get people that come into the
    people that come in and do dog beds then
    you get people who come in they don’t
    have washers and dryers
    and so it’s just interesting mix and
    trying to make them all feel welcome
    it’s just
    i just love the melting pot of it so
    it’s just been fun for me
    yeah are you guys doing uh i think you
    said you’re doing drop-off service are
    you doing pick-up and delivery
    both okay well i mean it sounds like
    you’re in a great location
    for to be doing both of those
    can you tell me a little bit about did
    you start doing
    you know drop off and pick up and
    delivery right when you started or did
    you add that along the way or
    the business already had um drop off
    both for laundry and for dry cleaning
    but we grew that substantially
    like my staff were excited when they got
    one or two drop-offs a day
    um that was not sustainable obviously so
    yeah just
    put the word out there i mean it’s
    something that i lived a mile from there
    and never
    even knew such a service existed and i
    tell people all the time
    there is almost nothing luxurious than
    having someone else match your socks
    like it’s not an expensive thing um i
    have a couple of customer drop
    delivery customers who are like my
    husband can get someone to do the lawn
    and i can get someone to do the laundry
    i’m like
    i just think it’s it’s just a time saver
    it’s not an expensive little luxury
    um obviously owning a laundry mat makes
    it a little less expensive for me
    but i love it i just even if i didn’t
    know the laundry mat i still take
    advantage of the services it’s just a
    several hour time saver of having no one
    else or someone else do something like
    so yeah we grew that substantially we
    started delivery a year and a half ago
    um and that’s been going well
    slow and steady again to a lot of its
    educational thing we don’t live
    in a big city that’s had something like
    that before
    so it’s not a coin up still by far our
    revenue source yeah are you are you
    trying to grow out your pickup and
    that is my one of my 2021 goals that my
    husband that’s um i would love to be a
    24-hour laundromat and i think the only
    way to really do that
    is to get more drop-off and delivery
    orders so
    you know what that looks like we you
    know vehicles all the capital expense
    that goes into
    stuff like that so that’s my that’s my
    big 21 goal
    how are you going to do that cross my
    fingers and make lists no
    hey it’s the list man it’s the list it
    is picking up
    good marketing you know facebook google
    things like that more commercial i only
    have two commercial clients and so i
    think if i grow that one
    those are nice ones to have
    um i have a list that i need to start
    doing mailing to
    doing drive by walk by shaking hands
    people so yeah yeah
    well i mean that sounds exciting that’s
    a that’s a really exciting goal because
    i think there is a lot of opportunity
    for that right now
    you know from for everything i’m hearing
    commercial’s been a little down over
    um just because a lot of businesses have
    been closed but hopefully
    you know things are going to start
    opening up here pretty soon and maybe
    that business will start picking back up
    but residential has been going
    gangbusters for a lot of people
    and you know our our society and our
    culture is just moving more and more
    being comfortable ordering things online
    ordering services online or through an
    app or whatever
    and uh it’s a great time i mean it’s
    amazing what can be delivered now or
    taken care of by someone else
    so um in 2020 i wasn’t sure what was
    going to happen with delivery and stuff
    would more people do delivery since they
    don’t want to get out to a laundromat
    less people doing it because they’re
    staying at home and don’t have a job so
    it’s been an odd mix of just seeing how
    how it all play out so it’s actually
    started picking back up more towards
    so we’ll see yeah yeah did you have
    i mean i know you haven’t been doing it
    super long yet but
    did you have like a dip and then come
    back up or
    did it plateau yeah obviously dry
    cleaning completely went to zero
    right yeah and then delivery dropped off
    primarily the few people i talked to was
    because they were working from home
    indoor um had to cut back on hours lost
    that kind of stuff yeah even even uh
    coin not dropped off and i wasn’t sure
    what to do with that but
    as parents told me it’s like kids aren’t
    going kids are still not going to school
    and so you know you can wear the same
    thing every day you’re going to deal
    with uniforms
    yeah yeah kids are disgusting
    but when they’re home all day you know
    that’s what it is whatever yeah my kids
    are running around barefoot in the mud
    all day long right now so
    loving loving life yeah
    get those kids back to school dirty
    dirty disgusting kids
    all right uh yeah okay so
    i mean you’re scaling your your pickup
    delivery this year that sounds exciting
    uh do you have any like i don’t know do
    you have any
    aspirations to go snag another one or
    anything like that it’s funny i keep
    debating that
    um actually sam debates that more than i
    do probably my husband
    um i would actually like to grow this
    particular facility first because we
    already invested the capital expenses
    in the machines in the
    infrastructure of the business and so if
    i feel like i can grow that first
    i have a great manager who’d love to
    manage other laundromat too so i think
    that’s a possibility
    um i don’t know again of course right
    ten laundromats within
    two or three mile radius of us we’ll
    have to look beyond that probably
    so i don’t know that’s a to be
    determined let’s just buy those ten that
    are all right there
    yeah that’s a lesson learned we bought
    the laundromat because several of them
    were in
    disrepair and i’m like oh we’re the
    better laundromat what i should have
    been thinking was
    we should be buying the ones and
    disrepair around us but
    yeah yeah get that
    you got to get that dynasty going wow
    it’s like you need accountability
    podcast call me back a year from now
    it’s like oh elizabeth how did that
    scaling go that new laundromat purchase
    i uh time out putting it in the calendar
    right now
    this is happening
    i want to see hard numbers on how much
    this thing scaled
    one year from now so get your benchmark
    numbers as soon as we’re done here
    i want to hear them all uh yeah i love
    that i love that your
    husband is uh thinking about scaling
    essentially for you uh because he’s
    handing it all over to you
    and not dealing with it so i got to
    figure out how i can
    have big goals and then just hand them
    off to my wife
    because that does sound pretty nice too
    it truly is you almost need someone like
    that for me because i’m not
    the entrepreneur like like i am in the
    sense of like i own a business and i
    like to scale stuff but i’m not in the
    i’m not the risk-taking entrepreneur
    like he
    he is yeah so i think everyone every
    business owner needs somebody like that
    the push and pull is it worth that risk
    is it worth that what’s this i’m always
    the one that’s like do i really want to
    spend that money he’s like oh yeah we
    got to spend all that money
    so i’ve loved having him as a partner
    like that because he’s a very different
    business thinking than i am
    yeah that’s like my wife and i too but
    for what it’s worth i mean i’m i’m very
    much on the
    hey let’s just go for it and we’ll let’s
    take the risk i’m very much on that side
    my wife is very much the opposite of
    but coming from that side for what it’s
    worth i think you’re wise
    in trying to grow your current business
    you know if an opportunity comes up
    hey maybe it’s worth it to jump on it
    but you know you have the assets right
    now and they’re not being
    fully utilized to their maximum capacity
    so i think it makes a lot of sense to
    utilize what you have and maximize you
    know the value
    in those before you move on to the next
    one because bigger is not always
    better you know bigger can mean bigger
    you know so yeah especially when things
    break in a laundromat
    yeah i know exactly expensive and messy
    yeah yeah so okay so now i mean
    you mentioned how before you were in the
    laundromat when you first started you
    were kind of working shifts you were
    getting to know people and you said
    you’re not really doing that as much
    anymore what does your typical week look
    laundromat was yeah it’s uh it’s a
    of um a lot of social media i’m still
    doing all their social media marketing
    and things like that but not as much i
    would probably say i spend
    five to ten hours a week depending on
    what i’m doing laundry mat stuff so not
    and that could really scale down to
    almost nothing i think once i got my
    trained on procedures of what to do
    like she does inventory she takes care
    of all the money related things
    um and so my my goal was actually like
    not to go to the laundromat every day
    like i was babysitting my laundry mat
    i was going every day i was making sure
    things were taken care of opposed to
    trusting my staff to do what they’re
    supposed to do and the manager do what
    they’re supposed to do so i’m really
    pulling back from that
    because i love being there i mean
    honestly the easiest part is hanging out
    with the customers
    and related stuff opposed to seeing the
    bigger picture
    and putting the systems and people in
    place and figuring out what’s next
    with that so that’s probably my main
    still do some inventory stuff
    bookkeeping kind of things
    yeah yeah well i hate 5 to 10 hours a
    week that sounds
    pretty much par for the course of what
    after laundromat gets established that’s
    that’s what good operators are spending
    on their business and particularly
    people who have uh you know who have a
    good manager that’s helping them out
    very important yeah also i mean one
    point for
    potentially grabbing another location or
    is if you have a solid manager it’s a
    lot easier to do that
    you know if they can they can help
    manage multiple locations for you
    um so it’s nice to have that
    infrastructure in place so
    if that opportunity comes up or you know
    you know it opportunity presents itself
    you can jump on it
    and and you have that infrastructure so
    i just thought that i just had
    yeah i know it’s great ah very much so
    yeah okay so you’re working like five to
    ten hours a week i like that
    generally speaking are what are you
    doing with the rest of your time are you
    working on other stuff watching
    yours do like that then the capitalists
    put their feet up and play monopoly
    that’s what i’m talking about oprah and
    bonbons this is great
    we actually just finished remodeling our
    house and so i’ve been doing a lot of
    real estate stuff around here
    uh support sam and his business ventures
    so anything related to that so it’s
    normally businessy
    kind of stuff we actually just sat down
    to do a uh what are you doing every 15
    minutes your day
    time things i’m like where do my days
    all of a sudden it’s five o’clock i’m
    like did i get my stuff
    done yeah that’s the good and bad as you
    working from home i’m like i don’t have
    a two hour blog for a podcast
    then where do those other days
    is there something about that time that
    i can delegate to someone else that’s
    been my big goal for last year like my
    these are tasks i don’t particularly
    enjoy doing that i’m not good at do
    my manager need to do it does my va need
    to do it does someone else need to do it
    um so just sort of trying to figure out
    what i’m doing and
    how i can hire someone else to do it
    better that’s what i’m talking about i
    like that and
    there’s a um there’s a
    uh uh business coach entrepreneur coach
    super famous um oh gosh i’m gonna blank
    on his name right now
    uh dan uh oh gosh
    he’s like think about the podcast i know
    he’s like the most famous guy
    uh ever but anyways he just came out
    with the book but even before the book
    he has a podcast
    uh too and i was i listen to his podcast
    a lot and
    he always says think who not how and i
    think you know my natural tendency is
    okay this needs to get done how do i get
    it done or how do i learn how to do this
    and he says you need to shift your
    thinking to to the who not how
    and you saying you know i’m trying to
    think about who i can
    you know ship stuff off to can i send it
    to my va can i send it to
    can you know your husband’s like can i
    give the laundromat to my wife you know
    it’s the who not the how you know that
    it helps you get a lot done and so you
    know that’s one of the things i like
    about laundromats
    is it frees up that time now you can you
    know help your husband
    you know work on his business or you can
    you know
    deal with your real estate your other
    real estate stuff that you have going on
    um so that’s pretty cool anyways just
    made me think about who not how and i’m
    it’s a big issue i think because
    especially in school you’re not taught
    that you’re taught like here’s your task
    you do it
    and i think that if you’re not around
    entrepreneurs you’re not around people
    who think like that
    it almost seems like a negative thing
    let me hire someone else to do that i’m
    yeah because you’re not gonna be good at
    everything there’s so many things
    business-wise i’m not
    good at and don’t really want to be good
    at um a lot of things that i know i need
    to be good at
    that you just push through like managing
    stuff you read books about how to be a
    better boss because that’s something
    you’re not taught how to school you’re
    this is a group project which is the
    worst idea ever yeah
    and so yeah learning how to do those
    kind of things if you’re not exposed to
    it because most of us weren’t most of
    most people have parents that have w2
    jobs and not that you don’t you know
    aren’t entrepreneur in that it’s a very
    different way to think about being
    yeah yeah dan sullivan is his name
    ah man it was killing me i’m like
    getting old already man
    what’s happening here uh yeah no that’s
    that’s huge and i think that’s a
    huge huge point that you just made
    you know i when i first got into this
    business i knew nothing i didn’t even
    know there was this like whole other
    world of entrepreneurship
    uh business ownership of investments
    like i didn’t i
    was like oblivious to it and i and
    there’s a whole nother skill set that
    goes with that and i you know i
    i kind of was saying that i i
    brainwashed myself well
    you know it’s through these podcasts
    through audiobooks through
    reading regular books through you know
    talking with people like you that i’m
    like oh my gosh like
    i never did learn how to manage people
    i never learned how to manage money you
    know i never
    learned any of this like i didn’t learn
    about investments i didn’t learn about
    any of that stuff
    and it was a whole new world to me and
    it was you know
    through kind of exposing myself to
    entrepreneurs who think differently than
    i did that i started learning about this
    and developing some of those skill sets
    so i think that’s a huge point that you
    make there
    thank you really really important too uh
    okay so you um
    for the future like you you want to
    scale your pickup and delivery
    not necessarily gunning for more
    laundromats but maybe you’re open to it
    are you trying to do more real estate
    yes always trying to do more real estate
    um currently developing and syndicating
    a uh
    rv and boat storage in missouri
    but that’s more of my husband’s i’m
    honestly at that brink of like
    i think with any small business you’ve
    either got to make the jump
    to 10 plus or at least in real uh
    laundromats 10 plus
    facilities to make that scale otherwise
    i feel like that’s work between the two
    just extra like i have enough to hire a
    full-time maintenance guy
    um and so that’s a sort of my
    early 2021 what do i want to do
    next because there’s so much about this
    business that i love
    um so i don’t know i really yeah
    yeah and i think you’re right there is
    like a no man’s land in there once you
    get like three
    five seven so i don’t know somewhere in
    there there’s a no man’s land where
    you’re doing a lot more work but you
    don’t quite have enough to
    you know have everybody on board that
    you need on board to
    that nice nba economies of scale yeah
    yeah exactly don’t get your mba but
    that’s a whole separate conversation
    we’ll talk about that a year from now on
    your update accountability podcast
    uh yeah no i yeah okay
    another topic got it uh i’ll cause i’ll
    go down the rabbit hole so thank you for
    putting that boundary up for me
    um okay well we have a section of the
    podcast called down to business
    down to business we just want to hear a
    little bit about something like the
    specifics of your business so
    tell us again where where’s your laundry
    mat located memphis tennessee
    memphis tennessee area called berkler
    burklar how do you like memphis by the
    way uh there’s parts of memphis i
    love like there’s it’s called the grit
    and grime city i think that fits a lot
    there’s a gritty part to it that’s just
    a raw memphis it’s also
    um culturally very southern delta
    we use a lot of the food i tell pimp
    people all the time you don’t come to
    memphis to lose weight
    i mean i just don’t between the fact
    that we just
    we fry everything it is delicious you
    can have a good restaurant every street
    corner everyone has their favorite
    barbecue spot or micro brewery spot so
    that’s fun it is an easy city to get
    around which is nice
    but small business wise it’s very small
    business friendly real estate
    we’ve lots of rentals things like that
    so people who want to get involved in
    it’s a lower barrier to entry opposed to
    you can buy rental properties you can
    learn people are beyond friendly
    so that’s always been fun especially on
    a business like a laundromat
    people love to come in and talk visitors
    love coming and talk to you about
    what’s going on in memphis so that’s
    been i love living here we live a mile
    from laundromat which
    is its own little world um people love
    the fact that we live in the
    neighborhood where we work
    i can be involved tangibly in things
    that we do community wise
    while other people if you live far away
    from the laundromat you just couldn’t do
    yeah yeah so cool i mean you got that
    southern hospitality thing going on
    there the southern comfort food going on
    great yeah great barbecue over there
    i mean yeah there’s a lot to love about
    memphis too so
    i got a bunch of family in tennessee but
    they’re over in like the knoxville area
    so culturally very different very yeah
    totally buried and they’re they’re even
    they’re kind of up in like the
    appalachians a little bit so it’s a
    it’s a unique unique little area over
    there it’s cool
    uh okay so remind me again i mean i know
    you mentioned this already but how long
    have you been
    a laundromat owner how long have you had
    a laundromat two and a half
    years two and a half long years two and
    a half short years
    it’s just crazy like it’s hard to
    believe it’s been two and a half years
    and then i look back at pictures for the
    last two and a half years on our social
    media i’m like wow we’ve done a lot of
    yeah yeah yeah and and this last year
    just a doozy in and of itself so
    kind of makes things feel even crazier
    very much so
    but yeah it is kind of cool to see
    especially because you you bought like
    an old rundown one
    right and then you redid it so it’s
    always crazy to look back at you know i
    look back at my first one
    it was like mismatched wood paneling on
    all the walls super
    dark and top loaders everywhere
    and it was just dingy and i look at it
    now and
    i’m like wow man it came a long way it’s
    crazy done something
    yeah i know i know it’s pretty crazy
    okay uh
    what does it cost to do laundry in in
    like vin price wise in price our
    cheapest machines
    are three dollars for our both uploaders
    and our
    front loaders or two letters to load
    front loaders mainly because the
    top letters i do not like they’re
    expensive they break down
    often i have three of them left which
    are gonna be on their way out the next
    time we do a remodel
    i’ve left them just because i’d be
    probably too nice to have some of my
    but yeah you know i’m just i’m just
    thinking we need to like
    form a club with like official club
    membership card
    and like a t-shirt that we all get
    that’s like i hate top loaders
    pretty much everybody who owns top
    loaders says exactly that like i have
    i jacked up the price because i hate
    them and i don’t want people to use them
    but they keep using them anyways
    and what’s your do you have any like
    sense of
    since they’re priced the same as those
    20 pounders do more people use
    one or the other i think the people that
    use the top letters would probably use
    the top loaders
    almost regardless of price wow i’m uh
    you know what i should do that just keep
    like every week to start raising it
    when do they quit where’s the breaking
    point yeah because there’s no other
    laundry amount that i know of
    near me that have any top letters people
    that just
    again too if you’ve never used any other
    thing they look they look
    i don’t know yeah well i mean there
    there is
    uh you know there is like a familiarity
    about um
    that’s what everybody had you know the
    people who love them and who use them
    they don’t love them because they’re
    they love them because they know them
    and they’re easier right and
    trying to be things in them yeah other
    issues like you can sit there for an
    hour soaking your clothes
    our prices available 75 cents above the
    load limit so 16
    675 um eight load machine 875.
    yeah nice i cannot raise prices in a
    year and probably need to
    just haven’t done yet and then dryers
    are the small dryers
    pavlo dryers are a dollar for 24 minutes
    and then the eight load dryers are a
    dollar for 21 minutes except for my
    1970 sissels which are still done by the
    quarter yeah
    nice yeah did did they before you put in
    the new machines were they
    like a single price for a block of time
    for dryers or was the quarter minutes
    quarter yeah everything was the the
    quarter per six
    six or seven minutes what was the what
    was the response to that when you put in
    new machines and you said actually now
    it’s a dollar for
    not nada nothing okay work i mean
    people are like okay but nothing and
    most people put a dollar in there anyway
    it’s not like you can get your things
    dry in six minutes right
    yeah makes sense and now we tell
    everybody that’s coming in that’s new
    hey just to let you know this this is
    how this machine works make sure you
    check it before it’s done you can always
    add a quarter
    i hate three because i’m i don’t want
    anybody wasting money i mean as much as
    i want to make you know money on my
    i still don’t want people to feel like
    they’ve been taken advantage of so
    people right yeah yeah i just i hear a
    lot of owners who are
    contemplating that decision and have a
    fear that there’s gonna be like a riot
    or something
    if they if they go to that model versus
    quarter for every eight minutes or ten
    minutes or whatever six minutes
    i think i’ve not done a study on it but
    i think it just makes sense
    you just put the money in people commit
    to it because they’re going to commit to
    it anyway
    yeah and it’s like it’s the same model
    as the washer right like you don’t pay
    a certain amount of time in the washer
    you just pay what it costs and
    yeah and we actually don’t charge extra
    for any other thing on the washer you
    know some people can do it
    actually our extended wash is a quarter
    but we don’t charge extra for hot water
    i’ve debated that
    like when i don’t like to be nickel
    denied i’d rather just here’s the price
    and be done it’s a quarter
    yeah yeah and you could actually price
    it for the hot water for
    all the time and people won’t bat an eye
    but when you add
    exactly quarter for hot water people are
    like what this is rip
    off yeah yeah it’s funny that’s
    marketing for you
    uh are you guys coin store then coin
    card and app
    oh all right coin card app what payment
    system do you use
    um we use fast card for our um cards
    and then dexter pay for our extra
    machines for the app nice
    nice do do a lot of people use the
    dexter pay out of curiosity it’s grown a
    it’s um it’s a bit of training we have a
    lot of people who would never use
    i mean for lots of reasons don’t have
    credit cards to use and debit cards we
    still have a lot of coin people
    um the problem with the debit cards on
    the machines is that fast card or the
    banks do a ten dollar hold on them
    so a lot of them the app is so you you
    don’t have that hold it construct
    okay but yeah that’s actually i’ve been
    a little impressed with all of a sudden
    when i check
    um my bookkeeping it’s like oh yeah more
    people every month that continues to go
    and it’s expensive for me because you
    don’t have to pay for the card reader
    still have to pay for a credit card fees
    but i don’t have empty machines i mean
    we’re not la wouldn’t i don’t think we’d
    ever be a all
    card or an app store um
    just because it is so convenient for
    people but we’ll see
    yeah every 2022 when you interview me
    again i can be like oh
    jordan we’re completely all cards now
    yeah remember when you said i would
    never do all card
    we’re all card now yeah machine gators
    are so expensive what’s 500
    a reader per machine i mean that’s we do
    think orders
    it adds up yeah yeah it’s definitely
    yeah it’s definitely that’s that’s the
    biggest you know because obviously it’s
    it’s easier to manage for the owner when
    you have the card system so
    and you can run promotions easier for
    customers and stuff like that
    although some are still resistant even
    if you’re like i’ll give you a free wash
    or what
    i don’t know but um but
    they’re expensive that’s the big barrier
    i think for them so
    hopefully it continues not all of our
    machines have them we have a handful of
    machines that have don’t have
    the carburetors on them do you feel like
    they’re used less
    or do you have any idea sense of that
    great i’ll look that after we got the
    phone i don’t know if they’re used
    less we have enough i think once we did
    the first remodel we didn’t put them on
    all of them and after them we started
    putting them on all of them
    mainly because of the hassle factor it’s
    less quarters for my manager i have to
    deal with
    if i ever was in a situation i didn’t
    trust my manager which i trust her
    it’d be great to have more cards um so i
    don’t know i’ll look
    into that do you have any do you have
    any systems in place or anything
    for your manager collecting coins or you
    just have trust and you don’t
    you don’t feel like you need to i think
    it’s always good to have i mean i do
    trust her completely and she
    there’s ways in any business there’s
    ways to figure
    right um the only way that we keep track
    is through obviously i can tell on
    machines how many turns
    we’ve had i can check that way and then
    our coin counter
    she sends off the picture of how many
    coins have gone through that
    and then that goes along with each
    deposit slope when she pulls money out
    of that
    yeah nice that’s awesome it’s a hard
    problem with the business in general i
    mean it’s just
    it took me a long time that’s why
    they’re so often it’s until you find
    that person you can trust me into
    there’s always
    yeah i mean and you know it’s a real
    it’s it’s a real kind of risk even
    somebody that you trust i mean
    i’ve seen where people you know even
    family members
    who you know brothers or whatever have
    been partners and one
    just hit a tough patch you know and
    needed a little bit of cash and
    just kind of so it can happen but uh man
    when you find somebody that you can
    trust that can help you out in those
    but all the more reason man card readers
    are are awesome because you don’t have
    to deal with that
    yeah uh all right we already talked
    about how much time you spend that was
    my last down to business question but
    sounds like an awesome business i mean i
    love uh i love
    the community aspect of it i love that
    you kind of involved your customers
    in what you’re doing there and uh and
    that you
    kind of put some elbow grease in there
    yourself for a while
    and got things running and have
    masterfully trained your staff
    to run a great business and be friendly
    they’re awesome yeah that’s awesome well
    we have another section called
    secret sauce listen up it’s the secret
    i like that uh secret sauce is tell us
    something that’s working in your
    that other owners can implement into
    their businesses
    to help them succeed more this is a
    secret secret you ready for this
    i’m ready for it it’s any way that you
    barely inexpensively show love to your
    we’ve done things like we used to have
    free laundry times other people
    do we can’t do that now because of
    restrictions in the laundromat but we
    have a laundry assistance fund
    and any family that wants to come in
    that comes in that needs help with water
    they get six foot loans of laundry
    washed again two not expensive
    ten bucks the really cool thing about
    that which just brings me to tears all
    the time
    is that it’s it’s
    all funded by neighbors neighbors will
    come in and send money to me for this
    and it’s just been the sweetest thing to
    see to be
    a conduit for neighbors to give back to
    their own community
    it’s just been awesome i mean it’s been
    a highlight for neighbors to contact me
    it’s like how can we help what you’re
    um because obviously with codelid and
    just general life people fall behind on
    things and so
    one of my first thoughts when i bought
    the laundromat was actually through
    the schools someone contacted me and
    do you know that not having clean
    clothes is a reason for
    truancy and poor attendance
    um something else with school-aged
    children scared children in general at
    schools they just wouldn’t i wouldn’t
    come to school if i was the dirty kid
    we were all in school with someone who
    was dirty and thought you know
    i own a laundromat there’s no reason why
    any kid in my neighborhood
    could ever have that an excuse there’s i
    can come up with other excuses not to go
    to school
    but not that one and so i contacted all
    the schools and we created a voucher
    the counselors could give parents
    vouchers just
    discreetly and say hey you know you need
    help with laundry come to laundromat
    give them this voucher
    they’ll help you out and again too it
    started out as a very
    uh i didn’t think about it really as a
    um marketing but it’s really turned into
    that like people just
    we’re the highest rated laundromat in
    memphis with the most google and
    facebook reviews video under memphis
    that i know of
    and i think a lot of it’s just being
    attuned to what your neighborhood needs
    and how you can give back to it
    and honestly that’s what brings me so
    much joy this laundromat like it’s been
    a great business but
    really it’s being to be able to tangibly
    involved in my community
    that is killer secret sauce i mean that
    that’s like that’s cool that’s like very
    you know yeah but but seriously like to
    to be able to meet a need like that and
    to have the community
    again i mean i love this theme that
    keeps coming up
    you know with you is involving the
    and and you know letting them
    own it right and like own their own
    and uh you know letting them kind of
    other their neighbors right and wait
    and yeah and removing barriers for you
    know things that are
    you know there things like truancy and
    not attending school
    and those those are you know indicators
    you know the wrong path in life right
    and so removing those barriers
    even something as simple as giving a
    for laundry can help straighten
    a path i i just think that’s a that’s
    super cool secret sauce
    thanks it’s really it really has been
    fun if i wish more laundromats it’s just
    most people don’t think about i wouldn’t
    have thought about it and because i
    don’t have children i never would have
    thought about being an issue unless
    someone brought it up to me
    you know so that’s a really sweet um
    sweet thing to get to participate in
    yeah can i ask you just practically you
    know because i
    there probably will be other people
    listening to this who are like man
    that’s an awesome idea i’d love to do
    how how does that how does that work
    what vouchers are you giving to these
    counselors is that the main way that
    they used to be kids are in school this
    year right yeah
    but for example when we did that very
    simple i printed out
    um vouchers on i forgot what the paper
    is called it’s like
    security paper that can’t be copied just
    in case i wasn’t sure what was going to
    so each of the schools got x number they
    pretty much told me how many they wanted
    so they have this little voucher it’s
    like from this school
    you know we’d love to bless you and your
    family with ten dollars
    they would bring that to my staff and
    then my staff have
    a um an attendant card that’s
    specifically funded
    for the vouchers the the only thing that
    we really ask the people to do
    is to um to sign their name on a
    little spreadsheet and if they want to
    we ask them to fill out a little like
    blank thank you card and for two reasons
    one we want people who donate money to
    this fund
    to know that we’re actually using it for
    those purposes and for people to know
    it’s actually tangibly helping this
    family and people want to think i mean
    that people love
    we did our first free laundry day we had
    two hours two hours of three free
    i probably had 50 cards from neighbors
    bro absolute tears like thank you so
    husband just lost a job we just had a
    debate you know whatever or just
    thank you for free laundry yeah people
    will take advantage of it
    but that’s a rare few and that’s worth
    it because again
    you still have to go ask staff for it
    it’s not like
    that’s a little bit more tangible so
    that’s the way we’ve kept both staff
    staff accountable staff
    accountable to using that card for
    people who actually need it opposed to
    random person friend every every other
    day or something right
    yeah and then also for letting people
    because again so this is funded by
    like we we split at 50 you know 60 40.
    like they do 40 we use 60 or i can’t
    remember what actual numbers work out
    but um but yeah so we’re not profiting
    from it by any stretch it’s just an
    avenue to
    get to bless these families man so so
    cool have you been able to do that at
    all this past year with
    school out or how is that it goes to the
    same thing any family can come in and
    just ask
    so it’s not necessarily a voucher per se
    um we’ve tried to spread it
    we have a large hispanic community here
    so we try to spread it
    the information through some of the
    hispanic churches and
    other non-profits in the neighborhood so
    it’s a lot of word of mouth
    people know or my staff will my staff
    can tell they hear somebody having
    um so yeah it’s not it’s just been great
    yeah that’s that’s awesome i mean that
    is like
    cream of the crop secrets i didn’t know
    here’s the thing is that you know i know
    this is your first podcast episode and i
    didn’t want you to let me down and i
    just wanted to know that
    you have made good on your thing just
    with that secret sauce right there
    no seriously it’s super good now i have
    to talk to people about it it’s been
    there’s lots of organizations out there
    that do similar stuff there’s one called
    laundry love i think it’s out of
    that we’re part of people want to donate
    and get tax write-offs we don’t we’re
    not we don’t do tech write-offs but
    there’s a lot of really cool
    groups out there doing fun things yeah
    there’s some cool stuff out there
    cool well awesome secret sauce we have
    another section called
    pro tips pro tips this is for the
    newbies this is for the people who are
    trying to buy their first
    laundromat you have any tips for them
    they’ll spend time in laundromat which
    sounds really counter-intuitive to what
    you would do but just go
    do your laundry occasionally different
    laundry mats get a feel for what
    different laundry mats
    do even in different cities um i wish i
    had had
    we talked about the earlier like one
    here it was nice to come in with fresh
    eyes and not know
    but i wish i’d known like even pricing
    go different laundry mats who’s doing
    what what kind of systems they have set
    up what do you like about there’s so
    many different options as far as talking
    distributors and different types of
    there’s pros and cons to all those um
    the second one is make sure if you’re
    a existing facility get it checked out
    by your electricians get it checked out
    by your plumbers
    because there’s lots of hidden things
    unless you’re a mechanical incline
    such as i am not that i would not have
    would not have known about and just get
    started man you’re not going to know
    i mean none of us look back and go gosh
    i wish i’d
    done this oh my gosh i lost this money
    or oh i’ve done
    this but if you have any interest in
    this business or any other business
    the only way to learn is get started
    there’s no safety
    thing to to do or work with someone else
    i mean if that’s what you want to do
    you know go volunteer find a successful
    laundromat owner and say hey
    can i be part of your business for a
    little while and just learn from me most
    most of us are willing to share and
    so otherwise just do it yeah i’ll let
    you clean my laundry map for free is
    that what you’re doing oh
    come on in and you learn something yeah
    it’ll be great it’ll be great
    yeah no but seriously i i like just in
    the past week i had two different
    coaching clients who
    both were like yeah i’m trying to get
    all my ducks in a row and i’m trying to
    get all
    and i said look i i’m i just want to
    shoot straight with you because
    you will never have all your ducks in a
    row and
    you know one of them in particular was
    like i’ve been thinking about buying a
    for six years and i said you’re gonna be
    thinking about buying a laundromat six
    years from now
    unless you start moving start taking
    some action
    and not just learning you know and
    consuming and you know i tell my kids
    all the time
    you guys will not just be consumers you
    can play video games but you can’t just
    play video games you can watch youtube
    but you can’t just watch youtube
    you have to create and put out there for
    other people also you have to contribute
    so we have this thing you know
    contribute and consume right
    and it’s the same yeah you know it’s the
    same if you’re trying to learn a
    business or something you can’t just
    consume if you’re just consuming
    there’s no way that you can learn the
    lessons that you’ll learn
    when you’re contributing right so you
    got to take action even if you start
    with a small action make a phone call to
    a broker
    you know go walk into a store and talk
    to an owner
    or an attendant even you got to get
    moving you got to start taking action
    so i love that and i love spending time
    in the laundromats because
    it’s all about getting familiar with the
    business yeah
    yeah and if you want to do it or not
    either you want to do it or you don’t
    there’s not like
    and you’re not getting sometimes you’re
    not gonna know and the worst thing
    happens is you buy it you remodel it you
    get it ready and you
    sell it i mean this is not like you just
    sold your soul for the rest of maybe i
    don’t think so
    um but again to go back to education
    check the contract because maybe you
    might have to
    sell your soul i don’t know i don’t know
    but i think that’s i’m not good at it
    this has been a
    big lesson for me is like i’m the
    straight a academic
    student who likes to have everything in
    place before i make decisions and jumps
    in life and business is just especially
    business it’s just not like that you’re
    not going to know
    i mean if you knew all this stuff would
    i’d be much more wealthier than i am now
    but you just it’s the mistakes you make
    it’s a whole you know
    fail fast kind of model like obviously
    don’t make stupid mistakes get all the
    information you can
    then make your best decision to move
    forward yep
    yep i love that great action taker
    advice right there
    i’m from a non-action taker well but
    that’s that’s what makes it meaningful
    right is because
    you know i’m naturally i’m i’m more of
    an action taker now than i used to be
    but i’m not naturally an action taker
    naturally kind of an analyzer a learner
    i will listen to podcasts all day long
    right i will watch it
    informationally yeah they’re totally
    safe you can’t
    lose anything but you know what it
    reminds me of the saying i’m gonna
    butcher it right now but it’s like
    um you know where does oh man
    i’m gonna butcher it but it’s basically
    like you know
    where does wisdom come from it comes
    from you know making bad decisions or i
    that that’s a horrible butchering of
    experience experience
    yeah yeah exactly yeah
    yeah so anyways get out there and do it
    that’s right
    good pro tip uh all right do you have
    recommended resources for people either
    to help them grow personally or to help
    them grow their business
    find someone you admire and learn about
    them like i love reading
    entrepreneurial books memoirs okay hold
    on i don’t want to be
    inundated with all of these people
    contacting me
    now i’m just kidding
    one of my favorite go-to’s is uh it’s
    not a laundromat one it’s phil knight’s
    memoir called shoe dog about his the
    story of nike and i think just the
    you see the behind the scenes a little
    bit of like what because i think we look
    at these
    amazing men and women who have
    accomplished so much it’s like how did
    they get started what risks did they
    you know yes is it little rose-colored
    glasses looking back
    fine but um but one of his favor my
    favorite lines at the end of that book
    is like he was talking to himself really
    about what’s on his bucket list
    and his his was really that i can’t do
    it all again
    and it goes back to it’s like oh yeah
    that’s part of the growing of business
    that’s part of that and i think
    hearing that from other people
    especially small business owners you
    just get stuck in your little world
    except for things like you know facebook
    groups and other things like that you
    can reach out to but i think so much of
    it is on your own
    you can learn wisdom nugget here and
    there from people who’ve gone before us
    and made those decisions like oh okay
    that’s my go-to thing
    yeah that’s huge and i i love that
    because i
    i think that um you know we
    we’re so good at a society at looking at
    people around us who have found success
    and admiring that and we’re so bad
    at seeing what it took to get there
    you know i just every
    successful person that i’ve talked to
    and that i know
    has gone through it to get there right
    like you have to
    you have to do things that normal people
    won’t aren’t willing to do you have to
    endure things that normal people won’t
    in order to get results that normal
    people won’t get right and so
    you know i love you know peeking behind
    the scenes learning from
    people’s it’s a big part of why i’m
    doing the podcast right because i got in
    this business
    horribly i lost a ton of money i it was
    emotionally draining
    i you know sunk into a deep depression
    well maybe not that bad but it was bad
    it was so hard and i was like nobody
    needs to learn these lessons this way
    you know i want to do anything i can do
    to help
    people i mean because this business can
    be great if you get into it
    the right way and it’s so difficult if
    you don’t right it’s so hard to claw
    your way out of that
    if you don’t get into it the right way
    and so i’d rather people
    hear the lessons they need to hear up
    front and get into it the right way
    and and learn the lessons the easy way
    as opposed to the hard way right
    so take a peek you know at successful
    people and what it
    what they went through to get to where
    they’re at i love that
    true dog awesome book i’ll link to that
    in the description if you
    if you’re interested in that you want to
    pick that up uh you can grab that there
    uh man this has been so good
    thanks jordan this has been fun so good
    you don’t even
    seem like a rookie podcaster which
    you’re not now
    now you are a veteran you’re an expert
    nothing new on my resume in case i need
    to you
    i would put that right at the top of
    your resume really so i mean
    i can’t imagine there’s another
    accomplishment that’s bigger than this
    um well hey i really appreciate you
    coming on can i ask you one last
    question do you mind
    yeah okay i i just know people are gonna
    loving this episode they’re going to
    have questions for you what’s the best
    way for people to get in contact with
    you if they want to just connect with
    you or they want to ask you questions or
    no okay what’s your email
    suds laundry memphis at gmail.com
    all right i will have that in the
    description also so if you want to get
    in contact with elizabeth
    and talk to her about laundromats or
    even i mean her secret sauce idea is
    awesome so if you want more details on
    that i’m sure she would share
    that you know for a small fee that her
    and i will both split
    just kidding no i’m just kidding uh
    yeah but reach out and thank you again
    so much make sure that you go check out
    our husbands
    who we don’t really care about but let’s
    make sure you check out
    uh his podcast how to scale commercial
    real estate if you’re interested in that
    commercial real estate space
    uh awesome awesome resource and if he’s
    half as cool as you he’s probably a
    great guy too so uh
    thank you again for coming on and we’ll
    talk to you again one year from now
    for the update accountability podcast
    thank you all right all right i hope you
    guys loved that
    as much as i did i just man she’s so rad
    she’s so cool
    uh and i i just genuinely enjoyed her
    story and i also learned a lot from her
    um and you know every week i’m saying
    let’s pick one thing
    you pick one thing i’ll pick one thing
    let’s pick one thing and put it into
    uh you know this week and when we start
    doing that when we start doing that
    every week we start stacking those
    actions right on top of each other every
    man will i think you’ll be shocked at
    how far you get
    um and towards your goals so for me i
    was thinking about it and
    i am i was just really impressed
    you know and just kind of inspired i
    guess by
    her saying hey bring me on you know next
    year and let’s find out how i did and i
    know it was kind of
    half joking but uh it just got my wheels
    turned in a little bit and for me i
    think that’s something that i need to do
    some more of so
    over the next week i’m going to be
    thinking of uh
    something that i can do to kind of hold
    myself accountable to achieving some
    kind of goal and reporting that to
    i don’t know if it’s to you guys or to
    somebody in my circle
    i’m not sure what yet i’m gonna be
    thinking about it this week but
    that is what i’m gonna be doing is uh
    kind of holding myself accountable put
    myself out there and saying hey i am
    gonna do this
    check in on me you know next year or
    next month or whatever
    the case may be so um i think that that
    uh i just i love that concept i’m going
    to try it out i’m going to think it’s
    you know i’m going to see if it works
    out the way that
    uh that i think it might so i don’t know
    you pick one thing it could be that it
    could be something totally different but
    put it into action this week because
    as i’m always saying action paves the
    way to success
    don’t just listen to the podcast don’t
    just you know watch the youtube videos
    don’t just read the blog
    don’t just do your research uh you gotta
    get out there and start taking action
    that is where you’re gonna find the
    success so get out there
    and we will see you again next week for
    the next episode episode 40 next week
    of the laundromat resource podcast i
    hope you’re as excited as i am because i
    am so excited all right we’ll see you

    1 Comment

    Portfolio Diversification At Its Finest: Why I Own a Laundromat – Bricken Investment Group · September 29, 2023 at 10:10 am

    […] take months or years of long hours before the investment starts maintaining decent profit margins. My wife spent a ton of time at the laundromat learning about the business, collecting feedback from customers, and implementing changes to make […]

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