BiggerPockets Business Podcast 56: From Poverty to Millions Through Laundromats with Dave Menz

BiggerPockets Business Podcast 56: From Poverty to Millions Through Laundromats with Dave Menz

50 min read
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If you’ve found this show, you probably have that entrepreneurial itch… and you’ve probably wrestled with just how to turn that impulse into action.

Well, that transition is exactly what today’s show is about… so don’t miss it.

Our guest Dave Menz shares his journey from poverty, to a corporate career, to taking the plunge into business and turning a struggling laundromat into a cash-flowing asset producing generational wealth (then scaling up).

And Dave pulled this off with no formal business training!

As he says in the episode, “If you want to see me accomplish something, tell me I can’t do it.”

Tell us what you think in a rating or review on Apple Podcasts (it takes just 30 seconds), and subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast in your favorite podcast app so you won’t miss the next one.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcast.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

J:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast show number 56.

Dave:
I said, okay, we were going to purchase the business for like $85,000. Then, okay, I need roughly a $60,000 loan. I never owned a business before, didn’t have a degree, but I had a stable job and no debt really. I wrote up a business plan, approached a local bank, and they literally laughed at me.

Recording:
Welcome to a real world MBA from the school of hard knocks where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it. Whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there. This show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business.

J:
How’s it going everybody? I am Jay Scott. I’m your co-host for the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, and I’m here with my lovely co-host, Carol Scott. How’s it going today, Carol?

Carol:
Doing really well, and continuing to be so impressed with so many small business owners that we know that have made so many changes over the past eight weeks and just done whatever they can to continue adding value during this interesting time. Big shout out to everybody who has been just sticking through all of this, working hard and trying to find new ways to keep moving along.

Carol:
If any of you want to be on this show to talk about that or any of the BiggerPockets podcasts for that matter, all you need to do is apply online, go to biggerpockets.com/guest. That’s biggerpockets.com/guest. We’d love to hear from you. We always love learning about your interesting stories and expertise.

J:
Absolutely. Now, we have a great show today. The guy we have on our show, his name is Dave Menz. He is so relatable, he is where a lot of us either are or have been, or maybe will be at some point in our entrepreneurial journey. He started in extreme poverty. He spent much of his life in the corporate world but he always had this entrepreneurial itch that he just needed to scratch.

J:
Finally, after almost two decades of doing other stuff outside of entrepreneurship, he finally took the leap. When I say he took the leap, he took some major risks. He basically spent his life savings buying a laundromat, a self-serve laundromat, and figuring out how to take this money losing business and turn it around and turn it into what became actually a very profitable business. Then he bought the next one and the next one and the next one, and throughout the last, I guess, 11 or 12 years, he has pivoted his business model. He’s gone into different services. He’s done some online stuff, he’s now branched out to a national brand and he started licensing.

J:
I don’t want to ruin it. I want him to tell his story. But it’s such a great story of how somebody with no formal education, without a lot of money, was able to take their entrepreneurial itch, for lack of a better term and really capitalize on it and turn it into the American dream. That’s very much what Dave has done. He has lived and he has breathed the American dream.

J:
I love this story, it’s so inspirational and there’s so much great information that came out in this interview. Now, if you want to learn more about Dave, if you want to learn more about his story or his business, feel free to check out our show notes at biggerpockets.com/bizshow56. Again, that’s biggerpockets.com/bizshow 56. Now, before we get into this interview with Dave, let’s hear a quick word from our awesome sponsors.

J:
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J:
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J:
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J:
Thanks so much to our sponsors. Okay, Now, without any further ado, let’s welcome Dave Menz to the show.

Carol:
Welcome to the show, Dave. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dave:
Hey, thanks for having me.

J:
Awesome. We’re really excited about this episode. You have a fantastic story, and we love your backstory, and we love your business story as well, and we love how your business has evolved over the last few years. But let’s start at the beginning because you have a great backstory. Tell us a little bit about where you came from and how you got to taking that first step to entrepreneurship?

Dave:
Well, yeah, as a young kid, I grew up in Flint, Michigan, as a lot of people know from the water crisis that they’re having there. Grew up there for the first 10 or 11 years of my life. My dad was transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio for a job opportunity. I grew up the rest of my life in Cincinnati. The first 17 years of my adult life, I guess, I worked in corporate America. Began at an entry level position right out of high school, worked in five different departments, five different promotions over the years, learned a lot of different skills in a lot of different areas that all translated directly to entrepreneurship, which I didn’t even realize I was learning these skills at the time.

Dave:
In 2009, I purchased my first small business here in Cincinnati, a laundromat over a couple miles from my house.

J:
Tell us a little bit about that. You’re working in the corporate world. Did you have any formal business education?

Dave:
No, none at all.

J:
Okay. You have no formal business education, you’re working in the corporate world, you had been there for 17 years, which for a lot of us, if we make it 17 years in the corporate world, that’s where we finish as well. But at some point leading into 2009, something triggered you to think okay, maybe corporate world isn’t for me, and I want to be an entrepreneur. What was the thing that triggered it and where did you go from there?

Dave:
I think there was a few different things really. I’ve had sort of an odd journey for an entrepreneur. As a little kid, I had the kindergarten graduation, and they asked this kid if… He says he wants to be a firefighter and this little girl wants to be a TV personality or what have you. I’m five years old. I said, I wanted to have my own business someday.

Dave:
Back, oh, my goodness, this would have been in the early ’80s. It wasn’t near as cool to be an entrepreneur back then, as it is now. It was almost like frowned upon in a lot of ways. That’s always been in my spirit. I always tell people I’m not real sure if I was… I don’t know if you’re born an entrepreneur, if you evolve. I don’t really know the details of that. I just know that it’s always been a passion. It’s always been in my heart. I’ve always just geeked out over listening to business podcasts like this, YouTube videos since YouTube’s come about, but even as a kid, I was always trying to dig and it was a lot harder to find information when I was growing up, than it is nowadays with the internet.

Dave:
I was always driven towards the entrepreneurial mindset, if you will. Then when I got out of high school, I had very traditional parents. They encouraged me to follow my dreams within reason. The entrepreneurship, business ownership, that was risky, they just wanted me to go to college, get a traditional degree, become an accountant or whatever, and live happily ever after. That was really the only way that they knew to do things.

Carol:
It sounds like your parents weren’t necessarily entrepreneurs, because we do hear a lot of stories about entrepreneurs now. What were your parents doing? What was your growing up situation, where at age five, you were already digging into these possibilities of being entrepreneur when you’re older?

Dave:
I don’t really know where it came from. But my mom and dad got married very young, 17 years old in high school. They had a kid right out of high school. I grew up at least the first half of my childhood in pretty extreme poverty. Now, my parents are great, honest people, but they just were always behind the eight ball from the very beginning of my life.

Dave:
My dad’s a grinder himself. He’s not an entrepreneur, but he fought his entire life to be able to make a better life for us. I guess it was probably before I was even born he joined the Air Force and in the Air Force, that was back before computers were really a thing, he tested really high in the air for century exam. They entered him into some pretty highly skilled training programs, and he ended up becoming an IT person before IT people existed really.

Dave:
He actually joked till the end of his life that he began his life uneducated and within a couple years, he was cracking Cuban codes back in the ’70s. He had an interesting journey himself, but definitely took the more traditional sense, getting an education through the Air Force, getting an education in college. He didn’t get a degree, but he took a lot of classes, and he ended up having a career in the IT world.

Dave:
My mom was for the most part a stay at home mom. Running the household and things like that. That was their journey. But they really didn’t even know people. They knew of… You hear stories of entrepreneurs and business owners and things like that, but they didn’t really even know anyone that had done it and been successful.

Dave:
I think they just always looked at it as that’s something other people do. They didn’t mean to discourage me, but the reality is they did. The benefit for me is I’ve never been a very good listener. I was a very stubborn child, I’m a very stubborn, driven adult. If you want to see me accomplish something, tell me I can’t do it. That’s just my nature.

Dave:
I probably wasn’t the easiest child to raise, because I always had my own idea of how to do things. It was a really interesting dynamic growing up in their household because I just remember from a very young age, just being very frustrated. I respected my parents and I loved my parents, but I just didn’t believe them. I was just like, “No, I don’t believe you. If other people are doing this in the world, then why can’t I do it?” I just never accepted anything other than that.

J:
Okay. Basically, you came from a background, your parents were hard workers, but not entrepreneurial. You grew up, in your words, extreme poverty. You got into the corporate world, and again, I think a lot of us would be like, “Wow, we made it. We’re in the corporate world. We’re making money.” 17 years, that’s a long time. A lot of us would just keep doing that until the day we retire. But something happened in 2008, 2009, where you said, “Okay, I need to make a change.” What was it that happened and what was that change?

Dave:
When I decided I was ready to own a business, I looked at it and I said to myself, “Okay, what kind of business do I want to own?” Once again, I went back to that doesn’t matter. The beauty of that was, it opened up the entire world to me, because I wasn’t pigeonholed or focused on being a shoe company or building bicycles or whatever, it didn’t matter to me, I just wanted the process, I wanted to serve the community.

Dave:
Once I felt like we were financially in a position prepared to do something about it, I dug everywhere I could to find businesses for sale. I worked with a lot of people in corporate America, some of them owned franchises. I would pick their brain probably exhaustingly, follow them around like a little lost puppy dog, just try to learn from them. But I was also once again on the internet. Ultimately, what ended up happening is I got on Craigslist.

Dave:
Back then they had a category that was just a broad category said, businesses for sale. I had probably been on there hundreds of times, probably in the past. I would just scroll for hours, some nights, just looking at all these different… There’s thousands and thousands of businesses for sale in Cincinnati alone. I would just scroll and scroll. Some of them, I pursued a little more, and some of them I wrote off real quickly, but in doing my homework and my due diligence for all those business models, I always came to a point where I said, “This isn’t right for me. This isn’t going to work.”

Dave:
I always backed up, started the process over again, and it was exhausting to my wife. She even jokes when we finally bought our first business that she just thought I was going to look for businesses for sale and never actually pull the plug or pull the trigger. Obviously, one day I was on Craigslist, I found a local laundromat for sale. It was just a couple of miles from my house where I had lived on the east side of Cincinnati for almost 30 years, and said, “I know exactly where that is.” Within five seconds, I just jumped on my car, drove up there and walked around and started looking. That was how I found my first location.

Carol:
That’s very cool that it worked out. You did the right prep work. You were able to maybe walk, drive right up the street to get to this laundromat. How did you approach it from there? Did you go right in and talk to the owner? How did you start researching and doing due diligence? How did you work out the financing? Talk us through those steps you took to approach really getting your foot in there and buying that business?

Dave:
The first thing I did is from the time I stepped in the store, I knew where the location was. I said to myself, “I think I could be onto something. I think this could be… ” Within 30 seconds, it was like, this makes sense. I immediately called the number on the ad, it just went to the business owner himself, and it turns out the ad he had for sale was a laundromat/tanning salon.

Dave:
The tanning salon was next door. They were two separate businesses, but he was trying to sell both. The tanning salon didn’t interest me for many reasons. I asked him, I said, “Would you be willing to separate them?” He paused for about 45 seconds and said, “Yeah, it wasn’t my plan, but I think I’d be willing to.” I said, “Okay, well, if you can give me a little bit of time, I’d like to meet up for coffee sometime, and let’s sit down and talk about this.”

Dave:
We found a time about a week later to sit And just chat. In that time, I think I took several vacation days. I just went all over the city trying to learn everything I could about a laundromat. When I met up with him, we were able to work out a deal pretty quickly. He had owned the place for years, he had owned 20 laundromats at one point, and he had run them all into the ground. They were all very, very neglected. Really, really bad condition. In fact, the business was losing money when I bought it.

Dave:
One of the things I learned in my studies and my journeys was entrepreneurship is, you don’t ever pay for a business that’s losing money and has no value. I said, this one has value to me. I purchased the business, but how that journey went is once we made a deal with the business owner, we had a fairly decent nest egg that we had set aside for owning a business, probably about $20,000 or $30,000. I said, okay, we were going to purchase the business for like $85,000. Said, “Okay? I need roughly a $60,000 loan.”

Dave:
I never owned a business before, didn’t have a degree, but I had a stable job and no debt really. I wrote up a business plan, approached a local bank, and they literally laughed at me. I approached another bank, and they were pretty disrespectful to me, to be honest. Over and over and over again, it probably took four or five months to get approved for the SBA loan, if you will.

Dave:
Through that journey, my tenacity just came out. Every time somebody told me no, it’s just… I don’t want to say it made me angry, but it just made me more driven, because I knew I was prepared. I knew I had done my homework. I knew I’d put the foundation in place, and I didn’t listen to my parents when they told me that it was too risky to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t listen if you tell me no, I shut them off, and I went to the next bank.

Dave:
One day I’m talking to one of my mentors, and I told him I said, “I don’t know how many banks I’m going to have to go to, but if I have to go to 1000, over the next 10 years, I will. Until that business is sold, I’m not going to stop.”

J:
This business, how much was it listed for?

Dave:
It was listed for $85,000.

J:
Okay, so you were going to pay full $85,000, you had about 25 or 30 saved. You were going to get a loan for $60,000. That was your plan. Presumably, you were able to find a bank that was willing to lend you that $60,000. That took a few months. What was the process like with the seller at that point? He’s waiting four or five months, and is he still trying to sell the business? Is he helping you get the loan? What’s that process look like?

Dave:
He would have sold it to somebody else the next day if he could have. I didn’t even know any better than to put a deposit down or a letter of intent or… I didn’t have an attorney. I had no idea what I was doing. I was like, I’m interested, I need to get a loan to buy the business, and didn’t think a whole lot more other than that. Luckily, nobody came along and bought it. Luckily, he had no idea how to market a business. If you didn’t call him half the time, he wouldn’t even answer his phone.

Dave:
I think it worked to my advantage, but he was willing to sell it for that price. If somebody else had come along and offered him that, he would have taken it. That was part of my frustration in this process was, I knew at any point, somebody else could take advantage of this.

Dave:
Luckily, it was in 2009. It was really, really bad times in America. There weren’t a lot of people looking to buy businesses, and the ones that were, weren’t looking to buy businesses that were losing money. I think looking back on it, I think that played to my advantage as well. But he pretty much sat tight. I eventually got the loan and we closed fairly quickly after that.

J:
What happened from there? What did your business plan look like? This was a laundromat that was losing money, was it losing money because his expenses were too high or because he wasn’t bringing in enough revenue or he was paying too much for the location? What was it that was losing money, and how did you turn that around?

Dave:
He had run the place into the ground over the course of probably 15 years of ownership. When you run a business, you always have to be constantly reinvesting in the business to continue to have a valuable asset. Some people buy businesses and their business model from day one is to purchase a business for this price, or build a business, what have you. Then for the next 30 years, just run it and take every penny you can out of the business.

Dave:
They know that at the end of that cycle, they’re going to have a business that’s worth little to nothing, and they’re okay with that, because the numbers work. That’s one way to run a business. That’s not my nature at all. I’m physically not capable of that. I’m the opposite, I want to be everything that I, my team, and my business model does is we want to be better tomorrow than we were today. It’s obsessive for me. I do it in my personal life with my marriage, I do it the type of father that I am, and I do it, that’s the type of business owner that I am, is I want to be stronger and better tomorrow than I am today.

Dave:
The business was in a position where he had run it into the ground, and it had… Laundromats have a lot of commercial laundry equipment, obviously. They’re expensive to keep them up and running, it’s not cheap. He had probably 60% of the store, the equipment in the store was out of order, and it was just gross. It was just shading, it was unclean. There’s a few different models in a laundromat business and one of them is you can be an unattended laundromat is what they call it. Basically, you just set up the business so that it’s all self-serve, there’s no employees there. You have someone come by for an hour or two in the morning, hour or two in the evening and clean. Other than that people are providing their own labor. They just come in purchase coins, start the machines, they do their own laundry and they leave.

Dave:
As long as the places kept moderately clean, you can get away with that business model. When we purchased it, that’s what we did. Because the business was losing money, the first thing I did, before I even closed on the business, I made a relationship with a local equipment distributor, and they had a really experienced service department to fix the machines.

Dave:
I arranged with them that the day that I closed, two of their best technicians would be in my store. I said, “By the end of the day, I want everything in here working. I don’t care what it costs.” That didn’t happen, because we had older parts and stuff, but we got a lot of stuff up and running really, really quickly.

Dave:
Me and my wife and some friends just exhaustively cleaned the place. The way we ran the business at first is I still had my full time job, I couldn’t afford to leave it. Every morning, I would get up at 5:00 AM and drive to the laundromat, which was a couple of miles from my house. It was open 24 hours a day, it was open all night.

Dave:
I would go up there, clean up from overnight and commute to work an hour to work. After I got off work, I would leave work, I would commute home and before I went home, I would drive by the laundromat and clean up and straighten up from the day.

Dave:
Then within a few weeks, we put a video surveillance system in the store. Usually, when I got ready to go to bed, usually around nine or 10 o’clock, I would pull up the cameras and just be able to see is the store dirty, is it busy, what have you. Probably 80% of the nights before I went to bed, my wife would go on to bed and I would run up the laundromat and clean again.

Dave:
This was how we started just purely out of necessity. Goes back to that grit and grind. I was willing to do anything legal or ethical to be successful. If it meant going to work all day… At the end of my career, I was a telephone lineman. I was climbing telephone poles all day long in 95 degree heat, and I was covered in dirt. I would change clothes at our garage just so when I went into my store, I didn’t look like a homeless person. I would go in there and clean up and talk to people and we turned it around in a matter of a few months, just honestly by just some good old fashioned grit and trying to treat people the right way.

Carol:
Great. After those few months, it sounds like you said a lot of good old fashioned grit. Treating people the right way, having equipment that works. You mentioned earlier, there are different ways to run a laundromat like the self-serve option. Did you stay that business model or do did you evolve, which eventually led you to grow that business? What were the next steps to really bring that laundromat to the next level, to the point where I’m assuming eventually you’re able to leave your job, right?

Dave:
Correct.

Carol:
How did that evolution happen? What were the next steps that you did to improve?

Dave:
Over the next six or seven months, we ended up turning around the business and it ended up being profitable and making some money. Certainly wasn’t enough to leave my job, but it was making money. It was paying all its own bills, it was paying the [inaudible 00:23:30] We brought on a part-time attendant, to just a couple hours a day come in the morning for a couple of hours, and the evening for a couple of hours, and just clean up the store. Basically, what I was doing only she would stay a little bit longer than me, and do a little bit more thorough job.

Dave:
That’s what we did for the first seven or eight months, and we turned it around, it was a profitable business. One day I just looked up and said, “I’m by no means done, but I did it.” My first goal was just to turn it around, and honestly get it to break even, let alone make it be profitable.

Dave:
At that point, I didn’t know what the future would hold, but I just looked at it and said, “If nothing else, we’ve got a nice little side business, that I can have one or two part-time employees that watch after the place. I live a couple of miles away, I can work my job, and this will be a nice little side business for our family.”

Dave:
I didn’t look a whole lot more into it than that. But I caught the bug as it started to make more and more money, and I realized this was something I wanted to do again, because if I could do one and still work my job, why couldn’t I do the same thing again?

J:
What kind of revenue was that first store bringing in at this point?

Dave:
Oh, my goodness, when I purchased it, it was probably doing $700 or $800 a week. At this point, which is seven or eight months later, it was probably $1,800 to $1,900 a week.

Carol:
Wow, that’s significant.

Dave:
Yeah, it was probably 150% difference in gross revenue, and obviously, in a laundromat, a lot of our expenses are utilities, because the more you use equipment, the more utilities go up. Our expenses went up with it, but yeah, there was some profit in there. It was probably $1,500, $2,000 a month after I paid all the bills and paid my people and a nice little… I’m thinking like, “Man, that’s like my mortgage payment.” That was a win.

Carol:
It’s great.

J:
If I’m doing the math, we’re looking at you’re making $90,000 a year in revenue, maybe $100,000 a year in revenue, you’re making $15,000 to $20,000 in profit. I guess that would be margins of about 20%. Is that pretty typical for that type of business?

Dave:
No, that was… What I found after, as being in the business a lot longer is that that was the beginning. Typical margins in our business, the best operators are probably 35% to 40%.

J:
Oh, wow.

Dave:
Yeah. It can be a pretty profitable business, but you got to build it the right way, and I was only seven or eight months in. At that point, I knew I was onto something and I thought, well, if this is a nice little side business, I want to find another one. I want to do this again. I had no money. I had thrown everything in my life at this thing; my time, my effort, my blood, sweat and tears, my patience, and all the money that we had. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I just said, “You know what, I want to see if I can find another location.”

Dave:
My equipment distributor who had become a mentor to me at that point, he tried to pull back the reins, and he was like, “Whoa, slow down. You’re doing great, but let’s be patient here.” Once again, I just said, “No, I’m not going to do it.” I just kept looking and looking and looking, and it took a few months, but I eventually found a local laundromat that was about 20 minutes from my home, it was right off the highway. Conveniently, even though it was 20 minutes from my home, it was on the way to my commute, on the way to my job, and it was right off the highway.

Dave:
It was a great location and it had been run into the ground by the previous owner and it was actually closed. That’s how bad a shape it was in. It was in a strip mall. I approached the local strip mall owner and I said, “I’m in the business, and this is what I do. I buy laundromats and I turn them around.” I didn’t tell him I’ve been doing this for a year.

Dave:
I basically pitched to them and sold them, and they knew they had a mess on their hands. They said, “Okay.” They signed me to a long term lease, I essentially walked into the business and got it for free, but I had to spend a lot of money just undoing the mess that was there. Because I was now in the industry, and had an existing store that was profitable, I built up a little bit of clout, and I was able to borrow equipment or money for the equipment.

Dave:
That store, we kept it closed for about three or four months. Every day, I would go into work, I had had people that clean my other store at this point. Every day I would go into work, I would work, I would leave, I would stop there, and I would work until I couldn’t stand up anymore, and I would go home and I would sleep. I would every weekend, occasionally I’d take an hour and go out to dinner with some friends. Other than that, I worked and slept.

Dave:
It took four or five months, I had a lot of help from family and friends and stuff. But we barely had the funds to supply materials to do the work. We had no money for labor. This wasn’t my skill set. I’m not a remodeling kind of guy. I had no idea what I was doing. But once again, YouTube, calling in favors, I got a friend that does drywall, “I can cut and hang drywall and screw it in the wall, van you come finish it for me? I’ll buy you a pizza.”

Dave:
That place still to this day has a really special place in my heart, because it was a very intense grind, but there’s just so much love that went into that business making it into what it is today, that it’ll probably… Even if I don’t own it someday, it’ll always have a special place in my heart. That was how I acquired my second store. The funny thing is, we remodeled it, pretty much made it a brand new store for the most part, opened it back up, and within three weeks, the store was profitable, even though I had-

Carol:
What?

Dave:
… even though I had very significant debt, I had borrowed a lot of money. But within three weeks, it was profitable. One of the things I’d done, I knew this area, this is on the east side of Cincinnati, I knew the area really well, and I knew that there was no decent laundromats in that area at all, anywhere on the east side.

Dave:
One of the things that I saw with my first location and my second one was the opportunity to serve my community and have a viable business model where there’s a natural demand that’s pent up and not being met in the market. Those are both things that were very attractive to me in the business, because I dug in and was all in and pretty tenacious about it, pretty detail oriented on the building the facilities and things like that. We had people knocking on the windows before we were even finished building the store because it was closed, and we would open the door and they’d say, “We wonder if we can come in and do laundry.” Looked around, I’m like, there’s no equipment in here.

Carol:
But they were ready.

Dave:
Right, it’s been a laundromat for forty years, but we had ripped everything out.

Carol:
Sure. I’m sitting here listening to this, and Jay and I often talk about when we talk with awesome entrepreneurs like yourself who make that leap, and they buy these businesses, we often draw the parallels to real estate investing, because again, a lot of our listeners, just by the nature of us being on BiggerPockets, is that they’re real estate investors. I’m sitting here marveling at once again, there’s this fascinating thing, you bought this first laundromat off of Craigslist, you made these incremental changes over a bunch of months that improved the business, made it more profitable.

Carol:
You saw the success of that, you got the bug to go out and get another. It sounds like you just drove by similarly to how real estate investors do. They’ll drive neighborhoods, look for opportunities. You saw an opportunity, a closed down laundromat and you just walked over to the owner and said, “What do I need to do to get this?”

Carol:
You got it for next… I think poured your blood, sweat and tears into repeating that model over and over. I’m Loving all the parallels that you’re drawing here. At this point, you had two, the second one, which was profitable within those three weeks. At this point, were you just continuing to… Was the next plan in your business model to just continue replicating that model, or is there ever a point when you decided maybe we’ll offer different services, maybe we’ll do things a little different than just this traditional self-service laundromat to continue to grow and expand?

Dave:
As I went through the journey, one of the things I did also is I tried to spend as much time as I could learning the industry. In our industry, there’s many different business models within the laundromat industry. I learned those and I made friends with people that were owners of different business models. I learned different things. As I did, it started to peak my interest.

Dave:
One of the things that I learned was, if these two businesses are both pretty small, pretty highly leveraged, and they’re making money, significant money, that I can make a career out of this. If I keep going, I can quit my job, which had never occurred to me before then.

Dave:
At that point, I was like, I’m going to look for another location. The funny thing is I was tapped out as ever could be. It took three or four years for me to find another location. We took the money that the businesses were making, and just set it aside as a nest egg for that next opportunity, once again, preparing for the next one.

Dave:
When we found the next opportunity, it was also on the side of Cincinnati, a great location. I’d actually been talking to the guy for over a year trying to convince him to sell it to me. When we signed the paperwork on this business, they had what’s called a drop off laundry service in their facility. It’s fairly common in laundromats that have attendants on duty, employees there all day, that if you want to bring in your laundry and you’ll pay them a premium, the employees will do the laundry for you. It’s called a wash, dry fold service or drop off laundry. It’s very, very common. I had learned a lot about it.

Dave:
When we bought this third location, they had a drop off laundry service, but it was awful the way it was run. It was very, very amateurish, not professional at all. I said, well, if I’m going to go down this path, I got to learn this side of the business and I got to fix that because that’s a mess. Long story short, we ended up hiring a family friend that came on with us and I recruited her if you will, to be my manager as we continued to grow this business.

Dave:
She came on part-time, eventually evolved into full-time and she’s actually now our general manager to this day. But at that point, I brought her on and said, “All right, this is my dream. This is what I’m going to do, and I want you to be a part of it with me.” I’m still at my full-time job. We bought this third location, we decided to fix the drop off laundry service. At that point I had realized that, as nice as my stores were and as much as people love the modern facilities and the new equipment and everything, the one thing that an unattended laundromat can’t ever be is a fully attended laundromat, no matter how nice you make it.

Dave:
Everything I’ve done in life, I’ve always tried to be the best. It’s just been my nature is to get to the top. I realized as I learned the industry over these three or four years that I wanted to be one of the best operators in the country, and I couldn’t do that if I was operating self-serve laundromats that had no attendants on duty.

Dave:
This was a natural… It was a very tough decision, it didn’t happen overnight, because I was changing everything that I knew over three or four years in this business, and I was still working my full time job, I was like, “How am I going to do this? How am I going to train people and hire people and manage people and all the things that go with that?”

Dave:
Long story short, about two weeks before we closed on that third store, I quit my job. That was probably almost exactly five years at that point. We closed on our third store a couple days later. At the same time, we hired Marlene full-time where she had been part-time before. Things got scary financially really quick. We were prepared, but they got scary.

Dave:
We bought this third store and we had to remodel it and fix it up and fix the drop off laundry service and start hiring attendants and putting training processes in place and things like that, and actually building a different business model than I had already built the first time around. We did that over the course of the next few years. The same thing happened with that store. It wasn’t losing money when we purchased it, but it was probably right at breakeven.

Dave:
It probably took three or four or five months, and business started to creep up and over the course of the next year or so, this is probably six years into my journey, we had three stores, two of them had dropped off laundry services, we had fixed the one at the store, and we had gone back to our second store and implemented a drop off service there. All three of the businesses were making significant money at this point.

Dave:
I was able to pay Marlene a decent wage for what she did, and still provide for my family. I just said I want to keep doing this, I want to keep going. We ended up acquiring a fourth store. Our fourth store was also on the side of Cincinnati. It was also really, really in bad shape. It was also losing money, and my wife says, “Could you buy a business that’s making money?” I said, “Well, I don’t know, these are the best opportunities.”

Dave:
Marlene and I went into this fourth store and we renovated it and we fixed the drop off laundry service. By this point, we had employee manuals and processes and procedures in place that were very repeatable. We had built a small but pretty solid team of her and me and some other really good employees. We just rinsed and repeated, no pun intended.

Dave:
With the four store, we did the same thing, again, completely gutted it, we had a lot bigger budget, we had more money available to us, we could borrow a lot more money. We did the same thing with our fourth store. Now, we’re about seven years into our journey, and we’ve got four laundromats, but they’re all fairly highly leveraged. The equipment that we use in a laundromat facility is commercial grade, and it’s very expensive, the infrastructure is very expensive to build out drain lines and water lines and electric lines. It’s not just put some tile on the floor and some lights and some clothing racks or something like that. It’s very capital intensive business.

J:
What kind of revenue are those four stores generating now? What kind of margins are those stores generating now that you have more experience, and you’re actually you know what you’re doing?

Dave:
Now, those four stores, if you don’t count our pickup and delivery business, which I’ll mention in a moment, they do a little over a million a year, total, between the four of them in self-serve business. The margin’s now, we’re at the top of the industry, they’re in the 35% to 40% range, as far as the margins are concerned, and we do still have some debt servicing that we do.

Dave:
That’s where we were at about the seven, seven and a half year mark. I looked and I said, we’ve invested heavily in these four stores. At this point, most of them we had owned for many, many years. We had grown them to the point where they were starting to plateau, there wasn’t a whole lot more there. I said, well, I can buy four more laundromats and keep doing the same thing over and over again, or I went to what’s called the clean show, which is a bi-annual or every other year, it’s a trade show for a dry cleaning industry and laundromat industry. Neither one of them are really big enough to have their own show, so they combined them.

Dave:
I had already made all kinds of friends in the industry and a lot of mentors and networking and things like this. I went to the show, and I’m talking to someone at one of the booths and they have this software that they’ve created for running a pickup and delivery business for laundromat owners. They had created it for themselves for their own pickup and delivery business. They were laundromat owners, and I stood there and talked to him for three or four hours, never in a million years even thought about doing pickup and delivery. I thought that’s a whole different business.

Dave:
Long story short, after about four hours in their booth, I walked away from booth that day and said, “I’m going to do this.” That’s what we’re going to do next. It made all the sense in the world that we had invested so heavily in our team. We had invested so heavily in the infrastructure and a capital intensive business in a fairly busy laundromat, they say you’ll have five to seven turns per day. The turn being every time a machine is used. Every machine in your store in a busy laundromat will be used five to seven times a day.

Dave:
Well, if you take 24 hours in a day, and a washer takes 30 minutes to run through a cycle, that meant that 85% of the day, this equipment was costing me money, because if it’s not running, it’s sitting there using electricity. Once again, the business model geek in me just said, “I don’t care what everybody else doe, I’m following that dude.”

Carol:
Totally.

Dave:
I ended up licensing their software from them. They already had a pretty successful pickup and delivery business. I learned quite a bit from them over the first year or so. We’re four years into the pickup and delivery business now, and our revenue from our pickup and delivery business is about 250 times any of our stores.

J:
Wow. What is… Can you put that in actual real numbers? What’s the revenue about?

Dave:
Gross revenue, our stores average anywhere from 250 to 350 a year in gross revenue, our pickup and delivery business did a little over 600 last year. If it weren’t for the virus situation, which put a whammy on a lot of stuff, we were expecting to exceed 800 this year and a million in 2021.

J:
A million on your pickup and delivery. That basically doubles your total revenue from the store. Your pickup and delivery by next year assuming all the pandemic stuff doesn’t get in the way, by next year, that will make up 50% of your total revenue. That’s great.

Dave:
One of the things that we did when we launched our store… Our retail stores are called Queen City Laundry, that’s the brand and Cincinnati is known as being the Queen City. That’s where that brand name comes from, and they’re all branded the same. When we started a pickup and delivery, one of the things we decided to do is to create a different brand, a different name, a different logo. We branded it as what we call HappyNest Laundry, Pickup and Delivery. HappyNest being a whimsical term for happy home, like an empty nest if you will.

Dave:
We started the business with very intentional about branding and strategy and positioning it as a very premier product in the industry. Long story short, after a few years, our software company that we had licensed the software from, we were their top licensee, and had been for, I think, pretty much the whole time. They approached us and they said, “Hey, we have an idea.” I said, “What’s that?” We sat down and talked actually in a different clean show, ironically enough, and we talked for the better part of a day or two off and on. They had an idea and their idea was to create a national brand that we would launch across the country.

Dave:
Essentially, the idea behind the business model was that they wanted me to partner with them, utilize their technology, their infrastructure, they also had in-house marketing people that do all the digital marketing and everything. Leverage all that with my business experience, and my expertise and they wanted me to be a mentor, and a trainee to the operators that we would partner with across the country.

Dave:
It’s similar to a franchise, that’s where everybody’s mind goes. It’s not legally a franchise, it’s more of like a revenue share partnership. Basically, what we do is laundromat owners throughout the country that are interested in starting pickup and delivery, the reality is, it’s not anywhere near as simple as I just made it out to be. It was two and a half years of really, really stressful, rough times trying to figure this out by the school of hard knocks.

Dave:
One of the things that they learned about all their couple hundred licensees they had is that most of them were moderately successful, and a lot of them were failing. Because you’re combining two business models, and the pickup and delivery business, whether being a logistics business, you really have to be on your Ps and Qs. It has to be a tight shift.

Dave:
We lost a lot of money for the first few years. One of the things they saw is we came out the other side and cracked the code. We figured it out, on our own. They said, “Well, if we can leverage your skill set, your business model, your team… ” Because at this point, we have a team of 40 people that report to my GM. “If we can leverage all those things, along with our technology and our experience that we can teach laundromat owners all over the country how to do what you’ve done in Cincinnati, and they can take their laundromats that maybe make $150,000, $200,000, $300,000 $400,000 a year and they can turn those into a million and a half dollar business.”

Dave:
We teach them the business, we fly them into Cincinnati, they train with me and my team, they go on a ride tour with my driving supervisor and they actually see how the tablet and the software interacts with the customer on an actual route. They physically come into this town and process orders with my GM, they physically wash, dry and fold laundry right alongside of our team. They spend typically a full day with me in what I call owner to owner and it’s what you would think it is, it’s owner mentorship, if you will.

Dave:
We’ve built this business model. The funny thing is we’ve only been doing this for about a year and we’re already in 25 markets. It’s just caught on like nobody’s business because we were perfectly timed, it was perfectly timed. We timed opening this pickup and delivery business as the, what I call the Amazon economy was peaking. People want service to their home, to their door.

J:
I absolutely love this. I don’t want to boil down your story into a few little things, but there are certain things that I keep hearing recurring here that are representative of what I see a lot of the most successful entrepreneurs doing, and you’re doing a whole bunch of them. Number one, you mentioned early on that there are a lot of people that will go in, they’ll buy a business and they’ll just keep running the business. They’ll take the money out every year and they’ll run it and take the money and run it and take the money and then after 30 or 40 years, they’ve taken the cash flow every year but they basically have a business that’s worth nothing. They just sat on it and didn’t do much.

J:
You’re willing to… Not just willing, you want to grow. Your goal is growth in the business. I love that. Number two, you are willing to take risks. There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there that want to go the safe route. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the safe route. I’m a conservative person, I tend to go the safe route, much to Carol’s dismay, who is less conservative, but basically, you’re willing to go all in.

J:
While that might not be for everybody, that’s been part of your success, because you’ve been willing to do the things that other people wouldn’t have been willing to do. Then number three, you’ve been willing to pivot and take risks on new business models. A lot of people say, “Okay, he’s got a laundromat, it’s doing well, let’s increase the revenue, decrease the expenses, we’ll buy another one and another one, another one, we’ll stop there.” But you didn’t stop there. You said, “Okay, we’re going to change our business model. Number one, we’re going to go from just a self-serve laundromat to we’re going to do pickup and delivery.” Then after a couple of years, you said, “Wait a second, there’s another opportunity to partner with the software company and actually build a national brand that we can license.”

J:
Basically, you’re building multiple revenue streams. Between your ruthless desire to grow, between your risk taking and your pivoting, you’re basically doing all the right things as a small business owner and entrepreneur and pretty soon you won’t be a small business owner, you’ll be a big business owner, because you’re doing all these things right.

Dave:
Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. I tell people I’m not anywhere near smart enough to have planned this all out 10 years ago, but it goes back to my desire to never be comfortable, to be content, but not comfortable. I certainly am not afraid of taking risks. But as passionate as I am about entrepreneurship, I’m even more passionate about my family and my role as a husband and a father. When you take risk, it takes a drive that was at 90% to 150%, because failure is not an option.

Dave:
Once again, anything legal or ethical, the first five years that we did this, my journey I just told you about, between my full-time job commuting and doing what I did in my stores, I estimate that I worked anywhere from 90 to 100 hours a week, for five years. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I just got up and did it.

Carol:
That is awesome.

Dave:
It’s funny because if you take the risk, you have no choice but to succeed. The beauty of it is, I didn’t get into business to make money. I enjoy making money and providing for my family, but I’ve always loved traditional capitalism. I’ve always loved the idea that if I do something better than someone else, and I meet a demand, a pent up demand in the market, then I will be rewarded accordingly. That’s traditional, old school capitalism. It’s not what a lot of other people make it out to be.

Dave:
I love every part of that, because I’ve been raised to serve others. That’s a part of who I am, that’s a part of my upbringing and my family. One of the things that when I left corporate America that I really didn’t care for, was that I was in a situation where I felt like I couldn’t do that. I was just punching the clock and making money. Trading my time for money.

Dave:
A big part of why I was attracted to entrepreneurship was I knew I could do all of the above, and I could do them at any level that I was capable of. That’s been a big part of my journey is just getting up every day and saying, “What do I have to do today to be better than I was yesterday?” Fast forward 10 years and here we are.

Carol:
Here you are. I love that you mentioned you were raised as a child to serve others because I suspect I’m reading this right. As I’m watching you here for any of you who are watching this on YouTube, as I was watching you tell your stories specifically in that in part win, we’re at the apex of everything, where you’re talking about everybody’s coming in from all over the country to follow your career around, to work side by side.

Carol:
I saw some pure joy and glee in you, because you can just tell that, that really is a passion of yours, that you love, that you’re able to give back and help these people get started on their journey, which is really cool. You’ve done all these awesome things, but where are you going from here? What are you doing with your profits? What’s next? What is on the horizon for Dave?

Dave:
There’s a lot of different things that I have going in the fire, if you will. I have a better lifestyle balance, and I’m able to spend more time with my family than ever, even though I’m making more money than ever. It was a part of my drive was to not work 100 hours a week forever. It was a means to an end. Now, I have a much better lifestyle balance than I did, and that’s phenomenal. We’ve also gotten into some real estate investing, which is how I found BiggerPockets to begin with.

J:
Tell us a little bit about your real estate. What type of real estate investing are you doing?

Dave:
Well, we own a commercial building already, but it’s a building that we purchased that one of our stores are in. That was pretty natural. In the last month, we’ve closed on well, four single family homes and a duplex that are just going to be buy and hold rental properties. A couple of them were already in great shape. The duplex even had phenomenal tenants in it already, so they were more turnkey. Then the other three are more of rehabs. One of them was pretty much a total gut, but we’re not going to flip it, we’re going to keep it as a long term investment, and we’re going to depreciate it, take the principal pay down and all the things that come along with buy and hold rental property.

Dave:
We’re going to… I don’t know how big we’ll grow that, but we also just see that as a way of serving our community and making money because people need a nice, clean, safe place to live. There’s a lot of rental property owners that don’t provide nice, safe, clean places for people to live. That’s not who we want to be.

J:
I love just the altruistic nature of that. I also love that the first piece of that, buying the commercial building that your laundromat’s in, we talked a lot about that on this show over the last couple months about just the synergies between business owners and real estate investors and how real estate can be a fantastic complimentary investment with the business. Owning the land or the building that the business is actually run out of. Love to hear that as well.

Dave:
When we purchased the commercial property, the first thing I thought to myself is, I don’t have to factor in vacancy if I’m guaranteed to get paid, because I just have one entity paying another entity, and it’s a long term, it’s a 30 year lease. I’m not going anywhere. Even if I sell the business to someone else, I have control over who I sell the business to, I have no intention of it, but I have control over who I sell the business to. Because I know the industry and the business model so well I can tell if they know what they’re doing or if they’re a high character person and so I control the tenant I put in my building by who I sell the business to.

Dave:
We’re in the process of acquiring another one of our buildings right now. We’ll end up owning a couple of commercial properties. Part of it is diversification and things like that, which are important to do as you become more successful. But part of them too, are just natural evolutions into other types of service, other types of capitalism, if you will.

Dave:
What it really boils down to is, Carol had mentioned a few minutes ago that she could tell that the natural joy and happiness that I get from helping other business owners, and I’m glad that that shows through because that is very honest and very sincere. Part of the reason that my partners in the HappyNest Laundry Pickup and Delivery business approached me about doing what we’re doing is because I was already doing those things, I just wasn’t being paid for them.

Dave:
Just like I’m on here trying to hopefully help and inspire other business owners, as I became more and more successful, I said, there’s many things I can spend my time doing. If you’ve all read the book E-Myth?

J:
Of course.

Dave:
The processes, procedures, things like that, one of my favorite books. One of the things I learned through that book is to own a business, not a job.

Dave:
I always wanted to do that. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. When I read that book, I was like, “Aha.” That’s one thing I’ve very consciously done with our operations is, that’s why I have the lifestyle I have is my businesses don’t rely on me at all. Recently, I had a family emergency, I left town for a month on six hours’ notice, and my business was fine the entire time, my GM called me twice. When I came home, my businesses were in as good a shape as they were when I left, because that’s how awesome my team is.

J:
That’s great.

Dave:
That takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice. You’re investing in people, you’re building people up, you’re bringing in people with the right characteristics. That fit the mentality I’m describing, I have, they don’t have to be me, but they have to believe in what I believe it, if that makes sense. I’ve built that team. Now, we’re able to, yes leverage that team to build a whole different business model and the HappyNest stuff.

J:
That’s great. That is true happiness. Okay, this is the point in our show where we would love to do what we call the four more, and that’s where we ask you the same four questions that we ask all of our guests and then we give you an opportunity to tell us more about where our listeners can connect with you. Sounds good?

Dave:
Okay. Sure.

J:
Okay. Carol, do you want to take question number one?

Carol:
Totally. Okay, Dave, question number one. Please tell us what was your first or your worst job, you get to choose, and what lessons did you learn from it?

Dave:
Oh, my goodness. I don’t know if it was my very first, but I had a job at Taco Bell in high school where I actually worked for two and a half years. I just needed some gas money. My parents they were like, “If you want to drive, get a job.” That was just the way I was raised. So, I got a job because I wanted to drive. I worked there for two and a half years and I worked really hard. When I graduated from high school, I left, All I knew is just go into work and just do what you’re supposed to do.

Dave:
I think I’ve learned a really valuable lesson there without realizing it because I’m in high school. I’m probably a senior in high school, and they’re trying to promote me to a manager. This is at a fast food restaurant where they promote your fairly quickly a lot of times, but the reality is, that was a lesson to me that if I want to set high goals, and accomplish them, it starts with integrity, character and hard work. Those things will take you a long ways.

Dave:
There’s working smarter, not harder, and there’s a lot of other aspects to success in life, but believe it or not, my job at Taco Bell was a really good foundation for me. I think what it also reinforced at a pretty young age is I didn’t want to work for somebody else.

J:
Love that. Funny story, my kids, they’re nine and 10, or our kids, Carol, and my kids. Our boys are nine and 10 and had Taco Bell for the first time about two weeks ago. Our nine year old was so in love with Taco Bell, that he said, I want to work there when I grew up because maybe they’ll give me free food.

Carol:
He’s obsessed.

J:
Yeah, exactly. We may have a Taco Bell high school worker ourselves here.

Dave:
If that happens when they leave their job, they won’t eat Taco Bell for 20 years.

J:
That’s probably the best reason to do it.

Dave:
That’s what I did. That’s what I did-

J:
It’s probably the best reason to do it.

Dave:
… I don’t want to eat Taco Bell.

J:
Awesome. Question number two, you mentioned the E-Myth, and I love the E-Myth, fantastic, fantastic book. Any other books… If you had to pick one other book that you highly recommend for our entrepreneur listeners out there? What other book would you recommend?

Dave:
The Bible for me is foundational from a character perspective. But a lot of people don’t realize that the Bible is full of very practical wisdom from… A lot of people don’t realize but the Bible talks about debt and how it can be a dangerous thing, and to be careful with it. Obviously it talks about character traits and how to treat each other.

Dave:
All those things are applicable to business if you look at it through that lens. That’s one thing. The other thing is a book that was very transformative for me in my early 20s is Rich Dad Poor Dad, which everybody’s heard of. It reinforced what I said when I left Taco Bell, and I was like, “Yeah, maybe I don’t want to work for somebody else.” The funny thing is, I went and did it for 17 years. But I think it reinforced what I had always believed that my parents had pushed back against, which was, there’s more than one way to make a living. One way is to work a job, trade your time for money. There’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of people do it. It’s what got me to where I started. It’s a very respectful way to make a living. But for some of us that are wired differently, that’s not the only way to make a living.

Dave:
That book was really eye opening to me. If anything, it confirmed what I had already believed, and I was like, “Yeah, see, I’m not the only one.” Those three books have been very transformative.

J:
Awesome.

Carol:
Excellent.

J:
Question number three and normally, I guess we’re going to go out of order on this one because I want Carol to ask question number four because that’s her question. But question number three, what’s the best piece of advice you can give our listeners that we haven’t already touched on here in this interview?

Dave:
The best piece of advice I can give them and it is all encompassing in this interview and who I am, is in any business, anything you do in life, focus on value, because value is a broad category. It’s a big picture thing, but it’s encompassed by a lot of really small things. Especially in my industry, so many people, well, the only people to use laundromats are poor people, they think that, it’s not true, but they think that. If they’re poor, then the only thing they care about is price. They don’t care about service, they don’t care about cleanliness, they only care about price, and it’s completely and totally wrong in my industry, and it’s wrong in every other industry as well.

Dave:
Price is a part of the value proposition, but value proposition is much bigger than price alone. When you come at it from that perspective, all of a sudden, you’re going to find yourself focusing on a lot of the other small things that encompass value that I’ve talked about for the last hour. It’s a big picture thing, and you got to drill down within that. But I really believe that a lot of people, they work really hard, they even work really smart, and they provide the best product in the world, but they just can’t bring themselves to raise their prices.

Carol:
I love that. Value proposition is much bigger than just price alone. That’s a fantastic quote, love it. Okay, here’s your fourth question and the one that Jay knows I love to ask, what is something in your personal or professional life that you have splurged on along the way that was totally worth it?

Dave:
From a material perspective, when I bought my fourth store, which I think was six or seven years into my journey, when I bought that store for whatever reason, I had always wanted a luxury SUV. When I bought that store I said, when this store does X amount per month or per week, I guess was my goal, then I will buy my family that luxury SUV, and I could afford it before I bought my fourth store, but I also learned this from Robert Kiyosaki is that anything you want in life, don’t say I can’t afford it, say how can I afford it?

Dave:
I could afford it either way, but I wanted to use that as a motivation, a driver of motivation for me to take my company to another level. We reached that goal and I drive a luxury SUV.

Carol:
What kind of luxury SUV? I want to know because I’ve been looking every day for two years now and I can’t decide. What did you decide on?

Dave:
Ours is an Infinity-

Carol:
Nice, I love that car. That is such a good car.

Dave:
We really like it. It’s fantastic. It’s perfect for our family. We need a lot of room. My boys are always bringing friends along. We could never do a car.

Carol:
That’s like a huge third row seat going on there. There’s a ton of space.

Dave:
It’s a big vehicle. It’s a very big vehicle.

Carol:
That’s cool.

J:
Awesome. Okay, now let’s jump to the more part of the four more, and this is where you can tell our listeners where they can get in touch with you, where they can connect with you, where they can find out more about Dave Menz and your business. Please, tell us.

Dave:
As far as email, I don’t mind giving it out. My email address is dmenz, which is my last name, @happynest.com, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m on LinkedIn, and I’m on Facebook pretty regularly. Those are probably the three best places to reach me.

J:
Awesome. Dave, this has been absolutely fantastic. Love your story, love just all the great words of wisdom throughout this interview. You really do exemplify that prototypical rags to riches story, living the American dream, small business owner, who is hopefully pretty soon not going to be a small business owner but a very big business owner. Good luck with all the real estate stuff. Love to see that you’re transitioning into real estate. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for sharing your story and we really appreciate it.

Dave:
Thanks you for having me.

Carol:
Thank you, Dave.

Dave:
I really appreciate it.

Carol:
Oh, my goodness. Seriously, Jay, how awesome was that story? It was so inspirational. See, here I am, I ask you how awesome it is, then I just answer it on my own. Don’t you just love it? But truly, you know me, I know that I get all emotional, but I really had tears in my eyes listening to him half the time. He just worked so hard. He never gave up. He just threw everything he had, his heart and soul into this business. I just love hearing stories like Dave’s, where he’s just bounded, determined to make it happen, and he’s achieved his dreams and then some. It was just really great to listen to him.

J:
Here’s the cool thing. It’s like the way he presents himself and he’s just calm and collected. You believe that whatever he does is going to be so successful. It’s like you look at him and you listen to him, and it’s like, well, how could he have failed? He just has that that mentality of somebody, I just do what I need to do, and I keep working at it, and I keep working at it, if I don’t know something, I learn and I take risks. After talking to him, it’s really clear why he’s been successful, and it’s not surprising at all to me.

Carol:
1,000,000%, yes. What you said, everything about him, it’s a great reminder that we can all do exactly the type of thing Dave has done. If you’re just willing to work hard, just make it happen and take those risks and just say, “I’m going to do this.” And follow through on those commitments. We are each capable of doing just that.

J:
Absolutely. Okay. But this was a great episode. I look forward to seeing everybody back here again next week. I hope everybody is happy, stays healthy, and have a wonderful week. For her, she’s Carol. I’m Jay.

Carol:
Now, take that risk and keep working hard today. Have a good one, everybody.

J:
Thanks, everybody.

Carol:
See you soon.

J:
Bye.

Watch the Podcast Here

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Overcoming “programming” from parents and school and choosing a different path
  • Why Dave left his corporate career to start a business
  • Why “the process” is more important than “the product”
  • How he decided on laundromats
  • How he negotiated the purchase of his first laundromat
  • Writing a business plan and getting an SBA loan
  • Starting a business while working full-time
  • How he improved laundromat operations to become profitable
  • Scaling up and acquiring additional laundromats
  • Creating synergy among his businesses
  • Relentlessly focusing on serving his community
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Tweetable Topics:

  • “If you take the risk, you have no choice but to succeed.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Focus on value. Price is part of it, but the value proposition is much bigger.” (Tweet This!)
  • “When you’re running a business, you have to constantly re-invest in the business.” (Tweet This!)
  • “My desire is to be content but not comfortable.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Dave