78. The Most Valuable Episode for Your Bottom Line to Date with Laundromat Warrior Richard Weisinger

In today’s episode, we delve into the world of taxes with a true Laundromat Warrior, Richard Weisinger.  Famous for going toe-to-toe with the IRS in the 80’s and 90’s on behalf of laundromat owners, Richard knows the laundromat business like no other. And it shows.

As a former multi-laundromat owner himself, not only does he give actionable, monetizable tips for your tax planning purposes, he also gives great tips on operations, management, and acquisitions. This is an instant classic episode!

In today’s show, Richard and Jordan discuss:

  • Richard’s background in the industry
  • Richard’s battles with the IRS
  • The differences between laundromats and other businesses
  • How to raise prices at your laundromat
  • Why thinking about and planning for taxes is important as a business owner
  • Depreciation- what is it, how does it help you, what is bonus depreciation
  • Leasehold improvements and taxes
  • State income taxes
  • Timeless tax tips worth their weight in gold
  • Depreciation recapture
  • 1031 exchanges
  • The power of real estate and businesses together
  • Top tips for laundromat management
  • What to look for in a laundromat location
  • Why you shouldn’t fall in love with your business
  • Valuing your own work
  • Using reputable agents
  • Due diligence

And so much more!

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 78 and i am pumped that you’re
here today and it’s kind of funny that i
say that because today
we’re actually going to be talking about
taxes now before you just click off
immediately let me just say that i
genuinely think this might be one of the
most profitable
podcasts that you could listen to as a
business owner if not the most
profitable one
and the main reason for that is because
so much of our money goes towards taxes
and being able to properly set up your
business to minimize taxes and again i
just want to be clear i’m not about you
know doing shady things to avoid taxes i
don’t think you need to do that and i
think this conversation will demonstrate
why i think you don’t need to do that
but when you set it up properly you can
minimize your taxes and increase your
profitability in your business and that
is what we’re all about here uh is
increasing our profitability so uh we
have richard weisinger on the show today
and this guy is a legend i call him in
this show the laundromat warrior and
you’ll hear why here in a little bit
it’s funny to refer to a
uh a tax guy as a laundromat warrior but
you’ll see why
here during the episode but genuinely
grab a
you know piece of paper and a pencil or
your remarkable two like i used to take
some notes
or if you’re driving or working out
which i know a lot of you guys riding
your bikes working out driving whatever
you know
listen to it
and soak it all in because there’s so
much good information in there not just
about taxes but uh as a former operator
and somebody who works with operators
all over the country uh he has a lot of
great great just solid business owner
advice for laundromat owners so
uh you’re gonna love this it’s a great
one and in fact i’m not gonna take too
much more of your time up front let me
just remind you head over the forums
forums ask a question answer question
engage get involved over there
man it’s when we’re connecting ups when
we’re networking
that is when uh
man that’s when
we accelerate our growth and um let me
just tell you uh
subtly i guess that it will pay off for
you in more than one way to be over
there on the forums being active having
conversations so head over there uh and
uh join me over on the forums and uh you
can find the link to the forums which is
just laundering resource dot com forums
and everything else we talk about on the
show including richard’s contact
information on the show notes which is
laundromat resource dot com slash show
78 and if you’re on youtube they’re in
the description down below all right
let’s jump into it with richard
weisinger right after this all right
guys today’s episode is brought to you
by atmosphere tv you may remember back
in episode 34 when atmosphere tv’s mike
kelly joined me on the podcast it was an
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all right richard thank you for coming
on the show how are you doing today
good great oh man i it sounds it sounds
funny to say this because i know that
we’re going to be talking about taxes on
this but i’m like actually really really
excited for this conversation and you
know i think when most people
hear the word taxes they you know recoil
or they
instantly fall asleep or something like
that but i’m actually very excited so
thank you for coming on
uh why don’t you before we kind of jump
into some of that and you know i’ll just
preface all this by saying
and you know i’ll probably mention this
in the intro but i i think this might be
one of the most
financially impactful
discussions uh that i’ve had on the
podcast for the majority of people
because you know
taxes take up so much of our income and
if you get kind of some of the tax stuff
right you can actually save yourself a
whole lot of money so i’m really excited
but before we get into it why don’t you
tell us a little bit about you who are
you and how did you wind up
on a laundromat podcast today
i have in excess of 40 years experience
as a cpa
i have an mba
and i have a second master’s in tax
i’ve handled all types of clients over
the years
several years ago
over 30 years ago
i was interested in laundromats for
and i did a study an investigation and i
made all the mistakes
that neophytes usually make and i bought
multiple stores
and i realized there was a lack of
knowledge in the tax end in the coin
laundry industry
and people kept coming up to me and
asking me questions colleagues from the
coin laundry industry
next thing i knew the irs had targeted
coin laundries
on a national program
they had written a manual how to audit
and they went after them all over the
united states
and simply because
i owned stores
and i
had a
an owner’s knowledge
as well as a pretty good tax background
people started coming to me and asking
me to help them and represent them
in the end i represented over 140
different owners at different times
on exams around the country
we prevailed in virtually every single
the irs
ultimately it took them several years to
realize the ground wasn’t fertile
because they started with the assumption
that if it’s a cash business everyone is
a crook
and they then try to back into the
only to find that they couldn’t do it
so they started using what’s called an
indirect method of income reconstruction
where they figured
they’ll try and go and determine how
much water was being used
and try and then back into a result how
many turns your store had to have done
well there was
there was really piling supposition upon
supposition and erroneous variables
because they didn’t know how much water
a given machine used they didn’t know
the the spread
uh what percent the allocation what
percentage of machines were used for
it’s the old garbage in garbage out
out that would come with a result
and i would destroy them when they tried
to present it so they really wouldn’t
take the cases to court
it was simply a case of
who had the greater staying power and
a tax attorney i used to use
had a position
no negotiation full concession or we
and that’s pretty much the position that
i took
and it turned out to be right because
they knew they were going into court on
that was highly questionable
that required a lot of supposition and
guesswork on variables
they probably would not prevail
and consequently
they didn’t take these cases to court
they tried to intimidate
by waiting to the last minute to see if
taxpayer would uh would
crumble but
uh over time
they lost enough of these things that
they went on to other pursuits and they
dropped the coin laundry industry
and their manuals whatever they’re using
is so out of date
but they ran into problems
there were things like the word i love
is accurate
would say
that these statistics these um
water usages are accurate
i invested 40
in a manual from the
i think it’s a water meter manufacturers
and there was one
on one page in their entire book
that said that they defined accuracy to
90 percent tolerance
as soon as you have a 10 percent give
your numbers are pretty much worthless
that that was the case when if they
would use that in court that what
they’re basing on is accurate and i
would say
well accurate only means 90
they would back away
anyway that several years ago and
that’s no longer a major issue although
they still
like any type of business that has cash
because there’s less controls in a cash
and it uh they generally can shake
something out of the owner
out of uh intimidation
yeah so
okay i mean basically what i’m hearing
is that you
spent a lot of years going toe to toe
with the irs on behalf of
laundromat owners is that
yes it’s correct and by the way i found
them to be fair
i found the irs to be
fairly decent
and uh
know their their place
yeah there were some rogue agents but by
and large they were a decent
organization to deal with and they
weren’t always wrong i did not uh
represent always uh saints
i had my share of sinners also right
uh i said by and large
it didn’t justify their commitment for
for time to uh to go after the coin
laundry industry
yeah and i think i think the issue
personally you know just from your
account of it that i have with
the irs and that is that they started
with an assumption
of you know that laundromat owners are
all crooks and tried to back into that
and that you know while they may have
been okay to deal with and fair on the
front end i feel like that’s an unfair
assumption to start with in the
beginning so
i’m just gonna dub you right now the
coin laundry warrior uh going toe to toe
with the irs for
laundromat owners so man
wild time sure
uh okay so that is your background so
you did own some laundromats back in the
day i’ve owned three three okay
and can you tell i mean just before we
get into the tax stuff can you tell us
just a little bit about your experience
owning laundromats
it is the antithesis of a hands-off
which led me
tell clients when they asked
for a hands-off business
i told them get a certificate of deposit
if the surest recipe to having no
business at all and to losing everything
is to have a hands-off business
the moment you stop watching
the uh
the cash register and you stop managing
is when you’ll lose a significant amount
of money
coin laundry industry has employee
it has repair problems you have flood
you have utilities you have negotiations
with a landlord you have payment of debt
service you have equipment replacement
i could go on and on it has every single
issue that every other business has
uh and the successful operators and i
know them from all over the country
are great business people
and in fact they’re the ones that you
want to deal with
you’ll very seldom
one owner complaining about another
owner when they’re both savvy business
because neither of them is in a race to
the bottom and prices or free dry or
may be considered a problem
in the industry
uh they’re savvy business people
one of them i think of i won’t mention
his name
likes to say that he’s the first to go
up in price
and he’s right because he understands
i said it’s like like any other business
one little one difference between the
coin laundry industry and other
businesses this is a very very
capital intensive business
in my field
as a cpa
i can buy an adding machine or a uh an
and a computer
and that’s the extent of my capital
with a coin laundry industry
with a coin laundry uh
you have multiple machines
you have leasehold improvements
it goes
on and on and on and these are all fixed
costs so before you even start you’re
out of pocket a significant amount of
money plus the deposits the utility
companies and the landlord are going to
want you to make plus if you don’t have
a cardless system plus the cash that
you’re keeping in a change machine
so there is a significant
before you ever see penny one
the nice part in the coin laundry
is your revenue comes in before your
expenses generally
and very very seldom do you see a
business like that where the revenue is
front loaded
a magazine company would be front loaded
you would collect for a year’s
subscription and then you would have to
perform afterwards but that’s the
exception not the norm
yeah absolutely it’s really nice not to
have to deal with invoices not to have
to try to chase down people to pay you
know what they owe because it like you
said it’s all collected on the front end
and i love i mean i just i love that you
someone who’s been in this industry for
a long time
and is very intimately familiar with it
is saying hey the best operators you
know are raising their prices they’re
not racing to the bottom they’re adding
you know more value
in charging for it and you know i
i’ve talked before about how you know
the the zombie mats quote unquote that
are out there now are the are the ones
who aren’t doing those things they’re
not they are racing to the bottom
they’re not reinvesting in their
businesses they’re not running them
businesses they’re trying to run them
hands off uh kind of as you mentioned
so i love that you mentioned that i love
that you said that
uh oh and just real quick another uh
you know just another sort of
side note uh based off of what you just
mentioned is you know
right now is a good time to be raising
your prices as inflation is on
on the move
and uh it’s a good time to be raising
your prices our utility bills are going
up and all that i don’t know if you
haven’t the only time i’ve seen laundry
savvy as a group
has been
when there’s been a crisis
there was a water crisis about 20 years
and laundry owners used that to increase
their uh
with their vend prices
nevertheless they’ll then sit for 10
years at the same price
when we all have inflation on an annual
basis even in normal times these are
extraordinary times now
but in normal times you have inflation
and laundry owners
do not go up by the way that’s one of
the advantages
in a card system
where you’re not married to 25 cents
i could date myself and talk about 10
cents but fortunately those
uh they’re gone
with 25 cents people are very very
reluctant to go from two dollars to two
and a quarter for example
on in a card system
you can go from 2 to 210 to 215.
no one leaves you
over a few pennies
in fact it’s from my experience
people don’t really we accord the
customers a lot more credit for shopping
we think they they stop at every laundry
and check their prices before they come
to us it’s just not true
customers are like pavlov’s dogs
they’ll come in come back week in and
week out unless you give them a reason
not to
if you treat them shabbily
or if the store is filthy
there’s a lot of out of water machines
or you refuse to make a refund
you’ll lose the customer
and short of that the customer is yours
to lose you really have to try hard
yeah i love that i mean do you have any
do you have any advice i mean
i really want to get to the tax stuff
but i’m just curious do you have any
advice for owner i mean you said it like
we as a whole are pretty bad at raising
our prices do you have any advice on
that should we get on some kind of
you know
i think you need to examine it annually
and frankly
now it would not hurt for people to
raise their prices
they can put they can post articles on
the bulletin board
about price increases but it doesn’t
take a genius to know that when you were
paying three dollars a gallon for gas
before and you’re paying 450 now or even
that that same cost increase has gone
through to the coin laundry owner who
uses natural gas and who uses
all of which are either made or
generated by uh carbon fuels so
and that’s only one one aspect of our
whoever is the brave soul to do that
will probably find the competitors
joining after the fact
often it’s a case of not wanting to be
the first yeah
yeah and that fear too i mean
i i hear all the time owners who have
this fear of wanting you know raising
and what if the the other competitors
don’t do that and then everybody leaves
and now you go out a bit you know so
there’s that fear but i think you’re
right like it’s as soon as
you know you raise your prices a lot of
times other people follow because it’s
better for
for them to charge more too you know
they’re making more money too so or they
have higher expenses
all right well let’s chat a little bit
taxes well real quick i just want to say
uh you know i i
got connected with you through andrew
cunningham who’s one of the favorites on
the podcast he’s been on a couple times
now um i’ll put links for anybody
listening who wants to hear andrew’s
podcast episodes uh because he’s been
one of the favorites but uh
great guy and super glad that he
connected uh connected us together
and i don’t know if you want to share
any of his deep dark secrets behind his
back in front of everybody no i’m just
i know
well over 30 years 30 years and
he is one of the type of people you want
to use
if you’re going to buy a store or sell a
store you want to use someone who knows
the business
a neophyte simply won’t
won’t cut it
so uh and if you’re in something for 30
you know that you’re damn good
you know what you’re doing or you you
wouldn’t be in it
yeah absolutely and he i mean i i say
this all the time i even say to his face
like he he knows his business pretty
if not better than anybody i know he’s
you know just as much as anybody that i
know this guy knows his stuff and it
comes through when he comes out on the
podcast or or webinar we’re doing or
whatever so
good good guy okay let’s talk about
taxes what i mean why is what why is it
important that we talk about taxes and
and think about taxes as business owners
and and try to navigate taxes why is
this important for us
a famous judge
learned at hand
basically said
that no one owes more
than the legal
rate to pay
on tax and anything to do anything
further is foolish
i’m paraphrasing him but that was a very
court decision
the it is not
patriotic to overpay your tax it’s
i think the people
who i’ve dealt with over the years
who want to avoid tax entirely
generally fall into that stupid category
you can’t avoid tax
for me
i believe in optimizing tax and i think
the only way to save taxes to pay tax
seeming contradiction
simply means
to recognize your taxable income at the
lowest possible brackets
have no tax one year
probably means you squander deductions
and if you were to have had tax it would
have been at the 10 bracket the 12
the 15
give me that i’ll pay tax happily at
that because what it means is the income
that would otherwise go in a higher
bracket isn’t going in there
you can recognize income at 10 percent
you can recognize it at 30
the difference is the government has
picked your pocket for another 20
the idea
is to optimize
uh your tax to use to use up all of the
discussions on tax planning and coin
laundries revolve around one thing and
that is depreciation
you can write off assets
called either
section 179
write off
or you can use what’s called bonus
depreciation which is effectively the
same thing it’s writing off your assets
or you can depreciate your assets
uh the life of coin laundry assets is
generally five years on
equipment and
for leasehold
uh improvements you’re into a longer
but typically
most of what you get will be
uh equipment
when you buy a store
people make the mistake 99
of the clients i’ve dealt with
make the mistake
put down that they’re buying
leasehold improvements
you can’t buy a leasehold improvement
by operation of law
they belong to the landlord
so how could you buy something
that doesn’t belong to the seller
that’s wrong
however you could have something called
the leasehold interest
where you value
the ability to occupy those premises
and an actual life example of what i
went through years ago will help explain
years ago i dealt with a very famous i
won’t mention a client men’s clothing
that was running tear jerker ads going
out of business after
a hundred years downtown
and they had multiple stores
the little
asterisk side note footnote was
they didn’t lose their lease
downtown they sold it for several
hundred thousand dollars
because they had a very long term lease
at like 25 cents a square foot
in a market that was at that time
probably two dollars buck and a half two
bucks square foot that had value to it
you’ll find occasionally you’ll find
something like that available where the
tenant has a long term lease at a below
market rate
when you buy a store to the extent
that the uh sewer hookup fees have been
paid already
and a lot of you have the dryer curtain
walls you have the the bulkheads
you really have
to the person who paid for it that would
least hold improvements
to you as the buyer of a store you
probably have a leasehold interest
which is an intangible
because you can’t touch it
but it still has tremendous value
now if you take a leasehold interest
you write that off
over the life of the lease
now the irs controversy in that is the
wants you to include options
if there is a reasonable expectation
that the options will be exercised
you could have a situation where it’s a
uh period of time
i usually take the position
that it is more akin to a uh
what’s called a section 197 intangible
which has a 15-year life
it’s it’s similar to goodwill
and no that’s not the fastest write-off
in the world because you get five-year
write-off on equipment
but it’s not too shabby either
it’s a decent and
if the
the laundry owner looks at his or her
own tax situation
they’ll see whether or not they have a
strong appetite for write-offs
many of them don’t
in the last few years i’ve had clients
who realized that they had made a
they had done their damnedest to zero
their income every year taxable income
and then they woke up and said gee we’re
approaching age 62 or 65
we don’t have
the earnings years for social security
so we’re not going to get diddly squat
can you do the op can you
show income
i must have like five clients a year
who ask that which is the antithesis of
what you would think
so they’re willing to pay
to get that income and by the way social
security is based on your 35 highest
earning years
before i practiced what i preached when
i had my own stores i zeroed out a few
of those years and
years later i
i said boy i probably made a mistake
because i’ve got zero in those years
so i scurried to add some higher
higher income years to ensure that the
35 years would be the max
you want to be be careful
uh yes you can save on income tax but
you may have
other reasons or concerns for
showing some income
yeah yeah and i i mean i i love that
you’re talking through all of that
because number one i think a lot of
probably have never even heard of a
leasehold interest
uh and so
you know talking through that but i mean
you mentioned something right in the
beginning of when you were talking and
you were saying
you know hey if you’re shooting for you
trying to get into that 10 12 15 tax
bracket as opposed to like a 30 plus
tax back bracket you might be saving
you know 20 percent on your taxes and
that that’s
i that’s a bigger deal than i think
people realize like saving
you know that 20 percent is uh it’s a
pretty big deal it’s hard to get a you
know that kind of return on any kind of
investment and so i think part of why i
think this tax conversation is really
important is because you’re able to save
such a high percentage if you if you’re
managing your taxes right and i think
just that short conversation
conversation that you just had
shows that there’s a lot of things to
factor in both short term and long term
that you need to kind of construct and
kind of weave together to create the
best scenario for yourself as a business
owner as
you know whether you’re an employee or
whatever there’s a lot that goes into
all that
i i’ll also tell you
from a tax planning standpoint
most of us live in states that have a
state income tax
i happen to live in california which has
the highest we go as high as 13.3
if you do adequate tax planning
you can have your cake and eat it too
you could leave income on the table to
qualify for social security
but adopt
a different
tax strategy
for state purposes where you’re writing
off the uh the assets faster
and it may pay to do that so that you’re
paying less in state income tax
especially in an era when state income
taxes are effectively not deductible
you’re now under uh the tax laws that
exist today
the first ten thousand dollars
of state and local income taxes is
deductible and that includes real estate
property uh property tax anything over
that is not deductible
so you may want to have different uh
systems for the federal and for
california different methodology
yeah yeah well as a fellow resident of
california i
uh you know i feel the
the high state tax uh pain that
everybody else around here feels and
you know just
figuring out i mean having the cake and
eat it too and and kind of weaving
through all that i mean it’s why i
always recommend you know consulting
clients hey talk to a good cpa who
uh you know
particularly for business owners who
uh good tax law is going to help you
something like that and we’ll give
people an opportunity to figure out how
they can contact you here in a little
bit uh but let’s let’s chat just a
little bit about
maybe just some some timeless i mean
you’ve kind of already dropped a couple
of things here but some timeless tax
tips that you might have for us as
business owners what are some things
that we should be thinking about
uh as we do our own tax planning uh any
any advice for us
one bit of advice that uh is age-old
that still works is the concept of
and what bunching means
is to
pay all your expenses in one year
because you may have a situation
where you had medical expense last year
and you have medical expense this year
and in
in total
you would qualify for a medical
on your if you itemize
but because the spread among two
different years you don’t
it might be the same way with a
charitable contribution
you may find it more
advantageous to do it all in one year
consequently if you’re not going to
from a charitable contribution that you
would make in december
why not make it january 2.
the next year
and then take the following year’s
contribution and be and donate that in
december of the same year
suddenly you’re in
uh the same tax year and you you can
probably benefit from something you
wouldn’t have otherwise benefited from
what’s interesting is we used to talk
if you sold a business or any type of an
asset on what’s called an installment
where you you’re collecting your sales
price in
uh payments
were you to sell a business in
calling for a payment in december 2021
a payment january 2
and a payment
january 2 2023
you sold a business that requires
in one year and two days three payments
and you’re in three different tax years
perfectly legitimate
irs will not upset it the courts will
respect it
that’s smart tax planning
you’re using multiple years
you really want to stay ahead of the
curve do something like that at the same
by the same token
you want to pay attention
to the likely outcome in washington of
any tax increases
i might have said increases or
but the reality is they they look to be
going one way only
at least the discussions
because i have told many clients
you have a large gain
the sure thing is to recognize it now
because i know that there’s not going to
be tax law changes in 2021
i can’t say the same for 2022
and i do know
that what’s proposed the rate increases
you’re probably better off taking the
chance biting the bullet and paying the
tax now
which is exactly what i had said at the
beginning of this podcast
the way to save tax is to pay tax
but it’s simply through optimization
yeah that i mean that’s super smart and
using kind of those uh
rigid deadlines that the irs has you
know for for taxes to your advantage so
you know selling and
getting receiving payment for you know
really whatever asset but particularly a
over three years but really at only
being a little over a year here’s
another one for you people who pay
estimated taxes
and those are people who have
income from retirement rents
interest dividends
any type of income unemployment
for which there’s no withholding
if you if
you’re in that situation
then you you should understand that the
payments which we erroneously call
everyone calls them quarterly payments
so they’re not quarterly
the payments are due april 15th june
september 15th and january 15th
or what i call the fourth sixth ninth
and thirteenth months
that’s the antithesis of
quarterly but
if you understand
when those
payments are
it’ll help you
the payment that you make in april on
april 15th is for the period january
through march
the payment that you make june 15th is
january through may
and the one that i really love is the
payment that you make
september 15th is january through august
if your income and i had
over 10 million dollars of gains from
clients in the last
let’s just say post august 31
this year
what that means
is if they were paid september 1
they do not have to make an estimated
tax payment until january 15th
so they can sit on their cash
and if you understand
which i haven’t discussed yet
but there’s safe harbors
in the tax system that enables you to
make your tax payment april 15th
despite how large your income may be
and i have some clients with the income
that’s in the seventh certainly high
seven figures
had extraordinary income
uh where they’ve met the safe harbor
they’re not gonna have to make the
payment until the last minute
and i’ve told them hold your money
because all you’re doing is making the
government an interest-free loan
but you have to understand what the safe
harbors are
and they’re relatively easy to do
by the way the
that is federal law
most states comply
unfortunately the state that you and i
live in
uh has limited compliance
if your income exceeds a million dollars
all bets are off there is no safe harbor
again something that you need to know
what california going its own way when
it comes to laws that’s
ridiculous we never do that around here
uh yeah okay uh
look i mean can you can you chat just
for a second about
these safe harbor i mean we have people
you know listen to this podcast we’re
gonna fall under that can you talk a
little bit about the safe harbor stuff
i’ll talk safer but i’ll give you a few
cute things to know right
that are
estimated tax payments are credited when
you make the payment
and again what an estimated tax payment
is the government’s attempt to get you
to pay your tax
throughout the course of the year
because the government said we have our
bills to pay
continuously so we want you to pay
your tax bill
throughout the year and not wait until
april 15th
if you are credited
uh for your payments
april 15th june 15th september 15th and
january 15th
you could find yourself
in a world of hurt penalty wise
because you could have a hundred million
dollar refund
and have payments for underpayment
uh have penalties for payment of
underpayment of tax
because the penalties are computed on a
quarterly basis
so the government says that’s great
you paid us september 15th
however you earned your money in january
and february you should have paid it in
everyone fills out this penalty schedule
and you will pay the government
penalties the penalties are really akin
to interest
here is a cute way
uh minimize that
payroll taxes are deemed to have been
paid in readably throughout the year
if you have your own business if you
have a corporation
and you were to take a bonus at the end
of the year
and withhold the entire bonus
that would be deemed to have been paid
throughout the course of the year
so while you may have paid it december
you’ll get credit as if it had been paid
january february march april etc
and uh there’s one other that i’ve used
very successfully
in the past
you find that you’re in a horrific
situation penalty wise
there’s very little that you can do
well if you have an ira account
take a withdrawal from the ira
have them withhold a ton of the tax
whatever your shortfall is
and then
pay it back within 60 days and pay back
what will happen is the amount that was
withheld for tax will go into the
and was deemed withholding and is deemed
to have been paid from january february
march the same as payroll
so it’s a very good way to get
withholding in
and not be any worse off because if you
an ira
a distribution within 60 days
it’s not taxable it’s deemed a no harm
no foul situation
the nifty little things to uh to know
and use
if you find yourself in that uh in that
situation there’s one more thing i did
not mention before which i want to
the concept of depreciation recapture
people talk about well they were sold a
store i’ve got a lot huge capital gain
they don’t realize that that is not true
capital gain is only the portion that’s
at the very favorable rate
the government says if you wrote off
over the course of the years
then we expect you
pay that back recognize when you sell
that business or that equipment to
recognize that depreciation at ordinary
tax rates and anything that remains
you can recognize at capital gains rates
and a way in tax planning to minimize
recognition of depreciation recapture
is deemed to be the lesser of the
depreciation that you took previously
or the gain on the asset
reducing the sales price
on what is
to those assets that had the
you can control the amount
of recapture
i realize this is heavy stuff and uh
and highly complicated but what it says
is to do your planning there’s a very
there was a famous commercial on the
radio here in los angeles about 40 years
uh from a company brentwood savings that
said 50 of smart is knowing what you’re
dumb at
that’s still true
you need to know when to get help when
you can turn to someone who knows more
and leave it in their hands
that’s that’s a smart way to go
you can control your tax destiny
yeah that’s that’s huge and i i mean
i i think that’s it’s so big right
because the depreciation right is a huge
perk it’s why a lot of people buy
laundromats frankly is for that
depreciation uh that and tax advantage
that they get from that depreciation uh
however you know that’s not it’s not
free money right that does need to be
paid back and from my understanding and
correct me you’ll know better than me
uh but 1031 exchanges no longer apply to
businesses properties
only now is that correct
that’s correct
yeah so only only real estate now
and believe me i’ve had 1031 exchanges
on airplanes
i’ve seen them
on everything by the way the most common
1031 exchange that ever existed
no one ever treated right
that was turning your car back to the
dealership and getting credit for it
all you were doing
was exchanging one vehicle for another
fortunately the irs
didn’t bother with it they didn’t
it would have required too much
every one of those cases where you where
you use the car in business and you turn
the car back
to the dealership to get credit and take
an uh a new car was the 1031 exchange
i didn’t know well and just i i i
brought this up but just so everybody’s
on the same page not maybe not everybody
knows where the 1031 exchange is can you
explain that just briefly for us yeah
section 1031 of the internal revenue
as a seller
not to recognize gain or loss
if instead of selling your asset you
exchanged it
so in other words
if you took
your car
and you gave it to the dealer
uh as a down payment on a new car
whether or not you had a gain or a loss
you’re not you were not allowed to
recognize that
all that you would do is increase the
cost of the new or reduce the cost of
the new based on
the value that you were given
1031 exchanges have really been used are
in real estate
people the great wealth in the united
states has come from overwhelmingly has
come from real estate
savvier real estate people would do is
they would take a property that was
worth a lot of money that they had a big
gain in
and they would exchange it for a larger
piece of property
so they would keep pure emitting up
never paying tax on the gains
they had never cashed out their chips
and then
at the very end
what would happen they would die
we usually talk about you death and
taxes are two things that you can’t
but actually
if they kept doing that
their death ensured that they escaped
the tax bill the best example of that is
actually not in real estate it’s george
when he died
the yankees were worth well in excess of
a billion dollars
there was no tax paid for them and i
forget what he paid for the ball club i
don’t know 20 million dollars 30 million
that totally escaped tax because upon
you receive a
an increase what’s called a step up in
basis to the fair market value
so those people who held their real
estate and kept pyramiding and
exchanging it for other but never
cashing it out
built a huge amount of wealth
and really weren’t paying tax on that
they were paying tax on the rental
that they received
and any side income but never on the
gain on the property itself
by the way that does not 1031 exchanges
do not pertain to publicly traded stock
you can’t do that by taking
stock with huge gains taking your amazon
stock and trying to use it
uh to buy microsoft for example or or
another valuable stock
you’ll want one of paying the tax yeah
on the gain so also not applicable in
crypto for those of you cryptophiles
and that’s a whole nother
can of worms yeah whole another which
the irs is still
trying to figure out
yeah well
yeah thank you for that explanation on
the 1031 and you know it’s it’s one of
the reasons why i think you know
if you can utilize
buying laundromats and running
laundromats to help you acquire real
estate it can be a really powerful
combination both in terms of
income in equity gain and also in tax
advantages when you combine both of them
together so
and they’re
very much divisible
that’s a
very true
you also as a laundry owner operator
have a lot more control over your
business if you are the landlord
and then as i said you can bifurcate the
two you can sell the laundry and i’ve
had many clients who did that but held
on to the real estate
yeah absolutely and there’s there’s a
lot that you i mean you have a lot of
options if you go that route
uh okay so
you know we’ve talked about a lot of
things already and i feel like there’s a
lot of value i have a couple more
questions but i want to make sure you
get to anything that you
feel like we need to talk to if we
haven’t talked about if we haven’t
talked about
anything you want to talk about and
there were there are a few things okay
yeah let’s go through some of those
let’s talk about from a matted non-tax
but from a management standpoint
what do i think is important
to a owner operator
the number of turns
that your equipment is doing
and each type of equipment
probably i think the most important
number that you have the most important
uh statistic for your store
because it tells you how you’re doing
how you will be doing what you should be
doing with your equipment replacement
if you’re able to keep and the records
are very very easy because we all
either you’re collecting a coin
or you’re uh reading from the uh the
card reader how much you did
if you have
35 pound front loaders that are doing
nine turns a day
and you have some 18 pounders that are
doing one and a half turns a day
it tells you you you need more 35
and since we’re all
a prisoner of the space in which we
operate we can’t create more space
all you can do is get rid of equipment
and add
other equipment that’s more valuable
and it’s as you become more experienced
as an owner operator you realize
the old ad is the hip bones connected to
the leg bone that you simply can’t
necessarily add the additional equipment
because you may have drier constraints
as a result
so you have other ratios
so you have to
strike a happy medium but i’ve seen this
and the better operators i know do just
what i’m saying
they’ll scrap something because it’s not
doing the turns
and you’re better off
it’s a sunk cost
getting rid of something that isn’t
generating you the revenue
and replacing it with something that is
really really smart way to go
yeah and i think that speaks to i mean
you were mentioning earlier is the the
best in the business and i think this is
starting to happen more and more in this
industry and at a quicker pace too that
savvy business owners are the ones who
are doing the best in this industry and
thinking about business in these term uh
terms terms is
you know
that’s a savvy a savvy business owner
move right thinking about how to
optimize your laundromat layout to
maximize income yes and also to maximize
uh the opportunities that your customers
are looking for you know whether that’s
opportunity to use a 35-pound machine or
an 80-pound machine or you know whatever
the case may be
and making sure you have enough
washer-to-dryer ratio all those things
that kind of work together
the savvy business owners are the ones
who are thinking about those things and
and making those moves to optimize their
business in those ways
very very true
the other
point i was going to make
relates to
laundry locations
when i got into the business
typically you would always hear
up we want apartment areas
and dense areas
that was true then and is still true
however there’s a lot of other
additional areas where the homes were
circle world war ii
very small homes
that either didn’t have laundry hookups
or it would take up too much space
i know
multiple neighborhoods
in uh this city that i’m in
where that’s true
and they’re good laundry areas
other good areas are beach areas
people don’t realize that because
generally it’s thought of
lower income people are the nucleus of
the business and that’s where we want to
locate because dense areas generally
equal lower income that’s not
always true
we have a lot of areas in
los angeles for example
that are densely packed
and they’re very very affluent
and the beach communities are certainly
they’re the people there are not price
sensitive they are cleanliness uh
but they’re not price sensitive
and those because of limitations
imposed by the government on building
within uh
x number of
feet of the the coast
ensure that those stores really don’t
have future competition
so those types of stores may be very
and there are other beach communities
throughout and vacation communities
throughout the united states
where that’s very very true
people wouldn’t think to locate a store
there and they’d be wrong
i i can think of
for example
if you located a store at a truck stop
it would be incredible
you have a ton of transient people
coming by
who are not going to be price sensitive
who probably would welcome that because
a lot of these stops have uh overnight
where you could do very very well
and you would have continuous business
the other thing
we’ve in the business understand
is that the laundry year
closely parallels or it certainly did
precove it this school year
which means that
we die in the
summertime and come september october
we start picking up
really well and december january
february we hit the crescendo
if you’re a
buyer of a store understand that
don’t get fooled on extrapolating
because it’s which numbers you
extrapolate that count
which months you’re including
and certainly as a seller you don’t want
to sell your store based on
july and august
uh numbers
you’re significantly better off
to have a subsequent six-month period
that excludes them
whoever does their homework
on this
their due diligence
should see a full year and they should
see multiple years they should see
utility belts
and if they speak with someone
knowledgeable like an andy cunningham
they’ll tell them that there’s a
seasonality factor
don’t be fooled by that
it’s really helpful for what you don’t
know to seek out that uh that knowledge
you can’t i overpaid about fifty
thousand dollars to my first store very
very easy to do
you know
that’s the best uh education is to
overpay so fool me once uh you won’t
fool me twice
that’s right yeah that’s uh i mean i
i’ve been in the same boat and
expensive expensive lessons learned but
like you said you know you just kind of
keep moving and take those lessons for
what they are uh a couple quick thoughts
on all those things you just said
love the truck stop idea i’ve never
heard anybody say that before but i
think it’s i think that’s a great idea
somebody should do that
number two i love the beach community
idea i’ve been eyeballing a laundromat
uh at newport beach for like years that
i will
or uh i have this dream of just going to
get a laundromat in hawaii that either i
can expense my trips out to hawaii or i
can just kind of move out there and have
my hawaii uh laundromat
in all seriousness uh those beach
communities also tend to be more tightly
regulated and not just beach communities
but touristy areas in general tend to be
more tightly regulated which means less
building less likely for competition
they want to preserve the
attractiveness of the area and so you
know they do tend to be
uh more tightly regulated and uh less
spacious they want you know there’s more
value in land in these in these areas so
you know the the living residences tend
to be less spacious which you know may
uh may indicate that there’s you know
opportunity for laundromats in those
areas too
yeah the other thing
it’s very smart
for you before you buy a store
to look at any local ordinances
regarding uh having employees on the
operating hours
regarding sewer hookup fees
i know of an area where it’s over five
thousand dollars per machine sewer
hookup fee
now if you are the owner of the store
you’re in like flynn
because no one can afford can can pencil
a store that’s going to make any sense
to compete against you
unfortunately the politicians do things
in a vacuum they don’t understand what
they’re doing
the lion’s share of that of the customer
base will use those stores
are people who are on tight incomes
they’re making it their lives
prohibitively expensive because the
laundry owner is going to have to charge
just to uh just to break even
oh and one more thing a uh
something to avoid
i said you’d look typically itinerant
and transient barriers uh uh
circle world war ii housing with the old
small houses
apartment buildings
what i found and i almost made the
mistake it took someone to point it out
to me
i love this store that i found was clean
it was quiet the people there was no
hubbub there were no graffiti
until a seasoned vet
pointed out
the average age of the uh person
in the store was virtually dead
was right
to the extent you had more elderly
the place was there was very little
washing done
they would use top load machines
the smaller families
and they would be very happy to sit
around within the store
and i’ve since realized that as i’ve
studied some other areas
where the uh the demographic shift is
more is older
that those simply are not good laundry
because what you want are big families
and a lot of turns and you want people
coming in and out
who are busy
who don’t want to sit in your store all
which is why when before you buy a store
it’s very very helpful to drive areas
and actually go and sit in various
and see if you can come up with any
common denominators
yeah awesome advice and yeah i mean i
think the avoiding kind of the elderly
areas is great tip something i never
thought about uh before i’m glad
somebody pointed it out to you before
you pulled the trigger
and learned another expensive lesson
uh you can only learn so many expensive
lessons before you just go broke so
good very very true
good to learn from other people yeah
look i’ve also had
unfortunately i’ve had
where someone bought a store
based on the numbers
and the numbers were accurate
and then
they either had
riots in the neighborhood
or they had an earthquake
uh all adjacent businesses were
in a significant part of the area
that changed the dynamics uh
the store was no longer viable
through no fault of anyone’s by the way
yeah it wasn’t a uh a seller who was
uh it was simply the
one of those things that happens in life
they always wind up in litigation but
that’s costly and it’s not going to
change the facts
yeah yeah and and that’s true you know
there are things that happen that you
just can’t control and those are the
punches you just gotta
roll with and and chalk them up to hey
man life just dealt me a bad hand on
this one but
uh you keep moving forward right keep
keep going and you just don’t don’t roll
over and die just keep going
one of the stores that i used to own
i had sold the store to someone
a gang firebombed the store
the entire store was burned out
geez i then know
someone who bought the equipment
because uh the the lender wound up with
the equipment which of course had a fire
smell to it
and that’s not uh that type of situation
is uncommon but
to have all of that used equipment is
not the very often someone will get
stuck with it a lender
and it could be a lender from across the
country who certainly doesn’t want to
warehouse it or or move all the
in everyone’s best interest to leave it
local and to put it back into a store
yeah man i yeah i mean i’m sure we could
kind of go back and forth trading horror
stories uh you know of things that that
can go wrong and do go wrong and and you
know that’s where you know maybe we
should have an episode on uh insurance
at one point here too because that’s
where you know hopefully you have some
insurance that’s gonna help you out on
that stuff but stuff does happen right
this is business and you said it right
from the beginning
uh this is a business
right and
it’s not easy it’s not you know hands
off it’s a business and things happen
and i say all the time like if whenever
you’re dealing with people
or a whole bunch of machines like
stuff’s gonna go wrong and you’re just
not gonna be able to help it so you need
to be the kind of person who can handle
stuff when stuff goes wrong because it
that’s what happens in business all
right so we have a
a little section that we call
uh secret sauce listen up it’s the
secret sauce
and i’m curious if you had to give some
advice it could be tax or
business advice uh either one for
a current laundromat owner
uh you have like one piece of advice for
them to help them kind of improve their
business or improve their you know take
a take a positive step you know with
taxes or or anything along those lines
i deal with who’s a client
a friend
and one of the best operators
i’ve ever seen
who understands the concept never fall
in love
your business
i i think probably he subscribes to
everything he has is for sale
i’ve heard that before from
successful entrepreneurs
and that’s very very true
sometimes someone will make you an offer
exceeds anything you might have ever
you want to let it go
the other thing is if you have a uh a
mediocre business
or a business that you feel has maxed
it’s time time to get rid of it
doesn’t mean you’re leaving the coin
laundry industry most people i know of
who are in this industry
that’s simply a store that’s in their
past they’ve moved on to other stores
they haven’t left the industry
but they understand the idea in the end
is to make the biggest profit with the
least amount of headaches
as i said this business has plenty of
simply because
it’s a seven day and seven night a week
business when you’re not there
you’re worried about it because the
store is there and invariably you’re not
there at the store
so it takes you a while to get there to
put out any fires
well that’s really good advice advice
that’s never been given on the podcast
before and this is you know we’re
nearing 80 episodes here and it’s never
been given i think that’s really great
advice to
you know let go and it’s
kind of actually maybe a timely advice
too as right now the valuations of
laundromats are as high as i’ve seen
them you know the multiples are going
for higher
uh than i’ve seen especially around here
in la and some of the bigger metro areas
new york you know florida
texas those multiples are getting
creeping up so it might be very timely
advice for some of you guys listening
right now too
the reason that is by the way
from a laundry are measured against
what’s available in the marketplace
you can get one tenth of one percent
in a bank
and yes you can do better in dividends
in some other
but essentially we’re at the lowest
interest rates we’ve been at in us
who are
looking to improve their financial
are looking to improve what they take
20 percent looks good 25
would-be buyers
before they look at 20
factor in
what the value of their own services is
and deduct that
you’re you’re earning that money
it’s not simply
money that’s idle that you you’d earn in
a dividend or in a savings account
yes you can make a good money vis-a-vis
what’s available in a bank today
but again this isn’t operating business
and when you’re not there physically
overseeing it you are there mentally
uh you’re sitting there at home doing
the accounting
calling the drain routing company
calling uh equipment vendors arranging
for insurance and and on and on and on
so it’s very very much a business yeah i
think that’s great advice and people you
know i see this all the time when people
list laundromats too you know not even
valuing their own time as the owner but
a lot of owners who
you know are working in their own
business they run their it’s a it’s
their job right and they won’t include
those expenses
in their valuations and so they value
their laundry mats a lot higher even
though because they have no
they have no labor expenses because
they’re doing the labor and they’re not
paying themselves that way but i tell
buyers all the time you need to include
those expenses and that’s a little bit
different from what you’re saying but
you know that’s a pretty common scenario
that i see
uh play out
a lot of times i i tell clients the same
exact thing you just said you have to
place a value on your own
time and service because if you’re not
doing it you’re going to have to pay
someone else to do it
and that’s simply reduces the rate of
return it means that you you may well
have overpaid for that business and
one more point of information
has been very successful for me
and people do not realize even seasoned
laundry owners
loss of a client well screw him let him
go elsewhere he’s a pain in the ass i
don’t want to deal with this person
i used to do the math and say well this
person pays you five dollars a week
maybe they pay you ten dollars a week
okay so you you pay
utilities maybe even higher
if they paid you
a year
and you
130 25
so you have 390
profit from that person
you look at
what that store if that store is selling
at a 20
rate you take 320
and uh
divide it by two you’ve got 16
uh 100
of value
that store is suddenly worth
and there’s also the fact that it’s
worth that much more on an annual basis
so if you don’t sell it
it’s worth that much more
all i’m saying is sometimes
it pays to put up with a little bit of
the nuisance
because that nuisance customer will
still come come back week in week out
but otherwise the value of your business
is nothing more than an uh accumulation
of the value of each
customer coming in weekly
what you’re really selling when you sell
a coin laundry is good will
no one would buy the store for the
they’re buying it for the expected
continued customer patronage
and as such don’t chase a customer away
for uh a little bit of nuisance
put up with it count to ten
deep breath
do some yoga or some meditation and uh
you know profit that 390 bucks a year or
16 17 100
of equity in your business
for that one customer yeah absolutely
i think that’s great uh great advice uh
we have one final section called pro
tips pro
do you have advice say somebody is going
to buy their very first
you have one piece of advice be it tax
advice or or otherwise uh for somebody
buying their first laundromat
buy through
a reputable
number one
number two
do due diligence
the numbers that you’re presented
they should pass the smell test
by all means participate in the counts i
realize counts can be can be rigged
get water bills
year water bowls you want to see
where that store
is going where it has been
i have had cases
the seller was 100 honest in
what the store was doing
this number is penciled right out
and i told the buyer avoid the store
like the plague
why would i say that
there’s a saying
never catch a falling knife
so if i told you that a store was doing
25 000 a month
that’s great and the the seller has sold
based on that
ordinarily you would say that’s fine
now if i
give you a footnote and tell you that
the year before it did 30 and the year
before that it did 35 and the year
before two years before that it did 50.
you don’t know where bottom is all you
know is that there’s something wrong
either it’s been a lot of competition
or customers have sworn off the store
and if you were to graph that
your graph is probably going to show
next year you’ll do 20
which means you will have overpaid and
there’s nothing that that seller did
that was wrong
or untoured
it’s simply
he knew he or she knew
what the business trend was and they
wanted out
so you really need to spend some time
and also go look at adjacent businesses
because if you have an adjacent business
or when i say adjacent i really mean
within the neighborhood
within a mile area mile and a half area
if you have other stores
that are cooking and your storage is
dead in the water
you have a problem you probably don’t
want that store
never pay money
on the purchase
to fix a store to what you think it
should be doing
that’s the seller’s obligation
if you buy buy based on
what it is and where you think it’s
going it was it’s going to continue
to go down
of i said avoid it like to play
yeah i think that’s great advice yeah i
have the i have my four pillars of due
diligence and pillar number three is
determine the trajectory of that store
you want to know is that store going up
is it going down is it flat and
right along with what you’re saying the
big question no matter which one of it
it is it’s doing you need to ask why why
is business getting so good why has
business been flat over the years why is
business dropping
is there something to be is that is that
something that i can overcome with a
solid plan you know is it because of old
equipment is because of bad management
new competition in the area you got to
understand that why if
if you at all want to proceed forward
you know after you’ve kind of determined
the trajectory so that was great
great advice uh there
also i mean you mentioned i’m just going
to drop a little plug but you mentioned
finding and working with a great agent
i’m really working hard on building that
agent database for you guys who are
listening here for all of us really um
at laundromat marketplace.com so if you
know of any agents uh or anybody who’s
selling get them to head over there and
create a free profile you can list for
free over there uh it’s for anybody who
wants to sell it’s for agents to be able
to list it’s free there’s a lot of
traffic going over the first week had
over a thousand page views uh just you
know from from doing that so go get them
over there because i want to help
connect all of us with those good agents
it’s so hard to figure out who’s a good
agent especially when you’re just
getting into the business
but if we head over there and we have a
database of agents nationwide
who have gotten good ratings and reviews
from past clients that’s going to help
all of us out and it’s going to help out
the great agents which is really another
thing that i really want to do
is help out the grade agents and and you
know help them make a lot of money by
helping you guys make a lot of money so
uh laundromat marketplace.com there’s a
link to that in the show notes in the
description sorry for dropping a little
commercial for that in the middle here
uh richard
that’s all my questions i don’t know if
there’s anything else that you want to
uh want to talk about before we head out
but this has been awesome so far
no it’s i think we’ve covered most of it
we have covered a lot of ground and i
four pages of notes that i’ve been
taking as you’ve been talking and
uh this has been
seriously incredible we’ll have to do
some more stuff together and talk more
my last last question for you is
probably the most important one is if
somebody is listening to this today and
is like
this guy knows his stuff i have got to
have a conversation with him maybe i’m
interested in him helping me out with my
taxes saving me money stepping up to bat
uh you know for me against you know as
the coin laundry warrior or whatever the
case may be what’s the best way for
people to get a hold of you
at uh probably my office number which is
email address
at rw co spelled like the baby food
company g-e-r-b-e-r-c-o-dot-com
typically uh
voicemail will pick up
and i return that call i i check in
multiple times a day like true with a
lot of businesses i’m working remotely
right now so
and i’m happy to answer uh any questions
that anyone may have
and just to clarify because we got we
have listeners from all over i mean do
you know do you talk with people outside
of california also oh all over the
country awesome
in fact i know it’s one of the niceties
in this industry
is i know a lot of the fine operators
throughout the country
they have
a wealth of information they really
don’t have any different problems
where they are
than what we have here
it’s one industry
and uh what’s good for one is generally
good for all
yeah i
love that well richard i mean this this
has been cert i mean seriously
you know you never know what to expect
when you start talking taxes but this
has been great because it not only was a
bunch of great tax advice but you know
as a former operator and as someone
who’s working with operators from like
you said all over the country uh just a
lot of great practical tips practical
really really appreciate you uh coming
on and spending your time with us my
and happy to do it again anytime you’d
like oh well we’ll definitely do some
more stuff together too and especially
if you’re listening to this and you know
you’re interested in maybe doing
something uh or hearing from him some
more just let me know drop me a line i
would love
uh to facilitate that because like i
said this is probably
you know
monetarily the most beneficial podcast
episode we’ve ever done for the majority
of us so thank you again richard and
can’t wait to do the next thing with you
all right i hope you loved that as much
as i did because richard’s just a wealth
of knowledge about both the laundromat
industry and taxes and how those two uh
interact with each other and i
literally have pages of notes um on my
remarkable uh i literally have pages of
uh that i’ve taken so
man i hope you got a lot too as always i
want to encourage you pick one thing at
least just one thing
to put into action this week we make
progress towards our goals when we take
action don’t just be a passive listener
get out there and take some steps
towards your goals that’s how you’re
going to get there okay so for me
this week
uh my
my main kind of takeaway that i really
was like an aha moment was that concept
of bunching that he talked about
and i am going to be looking for ways to
implement that bunching concept i loved
it and uh as you know i am
buying and selling laundromats but also
equipment all kinds of different things
i think that there is some great
applications for that punching concept
so that’s my takeaway i’m looking for
ways to bunch um and help myself out on
some taxes what’s your takeaway let us
know over on the forums laundromat
resource.com forums and uh have some
conversations about how
we are taking action towards our goals
all right until next week or
the next webinar or whatever the case
may be i will see you at whatever the
next thing you’re at is peace

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