Laundry "Matt" talks shop with successful newcomer Jim Antosz. In this episode, Jim talk about how he manages his laundry business by making himself 'non-essential' to the daily operations, he shares photos of his revolutionary laundry shelf system for his vans, the importance of an employee handbook, strategies to go after entire buildings by using features in the Curbside Laundries software, how to earn 20% more on Commercial wash and fold orders, and more!

 

[Transcript]

Speaker 1: 0:00

Welcome to state of the laundry industry with laundry "Matt", episode 12, talking shop with Jim Antosz. This is a continuation of our conversation from the last episode. So if you haven't listened to episode 11, make sure to check that out. In the previous episode, Jim talks about how he took his brand new Washington Ford business from zero pounds to 126,000 pounds. Within 14 months at this rate is scheduled to launder over 300,000 pounds of laundry. In year two. This episode is a meaty episode. You're going to hear Jim talk about his revolutionary new sliding shelf system for stamps. And if you're watching this on YouTube, you'll see photos of the system, then it gets an a plus for efficiency, got to see it to believe it . You'll also hear about pickup and delivery, service, radiuses strategies, accordance of employee handbooks, new curb side laundry software features, which will help you go after retire buildings. And lots , lots more so buckle up. I probably shouldn't say this, but we lost a client. I mean, he's still using our software in store, so I guess we didn't lose them , but we lost him in pick up and delivery. And the reason being as he was doing too good and his business just grew and grew and grew. And he was picking up the laundry after five o'clock and delivery , you know, between five and it just got too much. I actually helped him sell his , uh , pickup and delivery business to another curbside laundry , his client nearby. And so she was happy. So it all worked out, but you've got a full-time job and, but you do such a good job managing your business. I mean, you know, the numbers, you know, you, you said like, I'm just curious, like how you're able to do it, where you're able to set up a business without having to be there all the time.

Speaker 2: 1:54

Um , I mean, my big thing is I heard , uh, my manager, Stephanie, you know, I paid her , uh , you know, a good wage. Um, she does a lot of my, you know, stuff that I can't do. I mean, I still try to help as much as I can, but , um, stuff that I can't do, she picks up the slack , um, same thing with , uh, answering the phone , um, and doing all that. So she's like my right-hand man. Um, plus my wife helps out , um, she stays at home with the kids, but she helps out, you know, as, as, as needed. So , um, you know, it's not super bad. Um, you know, with us taking on a second location and stuff like that, we kind of, kind of got the systems set up there for , um, you know, from the first one. So the second one, isn't, isn't going to be that bad, but it's going to be focused on , uh, just commercial , uh, just make it easier from a OPL perspective.

Speaker 1: 2:48

And so you just recently purchased the second location, is that right?

Speaker 2: 2:51

Yeah, we bought it yesterday. Um, and we need to get the ground running. We got linens , uh , a lot of table linens. We were starting to do , um, fr clothing. If you guys are out there , um, you know, hit up the mills or like , um, heavy industry , uh, you know, a lot of the pricing is, is very lucrative. Uh, you know, the , these big companies, these big steel mills make millions and billions of dollars. And , um , a lot of it is you don't have to be a Cintas or a uni first or whatever. You know, they , a lot of places they'll buy their own stuff because they get a better price and all they're looking for you guys to do as laundry . So , uh, there's a lot of them out there. So it's a good opportunity to, if you can wrestle up that business, now it might be pay wa you know, it might be 90 day pay, but they'll pay, but it just, you gotta wait on your money, but it's, it's good money.

Speaker 1: 3:43

Yeah, that's exciting. And we just, just this morning updated our software. So now for the commercial accounts, not only is it automatically generating the invoices, but it sends them a link where they can just tap to pay and it'll make bill collection a lot easier. And then you're going to love the multi location functionality in the software to basically what it does. It allows you to, from one you could log in anywhere was , you know, software's in the cloud and then you could switch between stores. So click a button and you could see how store one is doing, how store two is doing what their workload is, how many pounds then another cool part is when your truck or van unloads on that reminds me when your van unloads the laundry, it automatically shows up at the right laundry is orders . So the laundry list at that store, they'll start filling up. And so store a only sees the laundry at that store. A store B only sees the laundry out there store. It just makes it easy to manage. So that'd be really cool. So what we're looking at right over here is you developed this new rack system or a shelving system for the vehicle. And I just, when I saw the picture, it was like light bulb went off. It's like, oh my gosh, this is too good. You know, once people see this, I think that you're going to, I see you as a pioneer where you saw an issue, and I guess you've got the engineering background where you saw a problem, or I knew this shelf is just so beautiful because I knew somehow it just, wasn't super efficient to have a walkway in the middle because that's so much precious space. I mean, that's expensive space and you just solve that problem. So if you could take us through that,

Speaker 2: 5:18

Yeah. I grew up in a trade and stuff like that. So we had shelving in there that just, you know, same thing you guys had in your advanced , like just on the sides and yada yada yada, well , I'm like, well, I don't need, like, we don't need to walk in there and get tools out or nothing like that. So I'm like, we're just eating up the space. So as I looked around, I found this company is basically pull out drawers. It's not super heavy. I think they do three to 500 pounds. Um, you can fit, you know, we do basically same like the standard 16 by 24 by 36 high bag. So you can fit non of them on the shelf. Um, so you got 27 and then you can pull out from the side too . And then we do the, like two hanging racks in there for , um , for that. So it's basically, it's almost like, you know , drawers like a filing cabinet. You open your filing cabinet up and here you go. Here's there's customer a customer B you know, and it's same thing, you know, but it's super nice with a high top roof. Like the first vehicle we have is just the regular F150 or, you know, for transit , um , which that limits you are height on the third shelf. But with the high top, you have, you know, their packages are like 14 to 16 inches high. So it's perfect where you can do three shelves, pull it out, you can stand up there, you can get nine out nine packages fit . So that's 27 plus whatever you want to do in the side. And then we have the space for, you know, hanging stuff. It works good for us to start out. You know, now that we're getting into a lot of commercial, we're probably looking at some kind of box truck , uh, just because you know how it works, but, but the racking is super nice. Um, it's, it's we just bought one for the second van. Uh , it's like two grand, 2200 for that setup . Um, but it works. It works nice. You know, it's all a roar. Ball-bearings, you know, little kids can push it in . My kids are six and eight. They can push it in and out. Like, it's nice. Can , can stand off to the side and grab all nine packages. You know, it's not like if the reach over top,

Speaker 1: 7:09

I just gotta say it is genius. I mean, it is, it is such a good idea because our , our drivers like the smaller vans, because they're easier to drive less likely because the drivers don't always know don't take those turns sharp, you know, because it's longer than a regular vehicle. So we do have a longer van that holds more, but that kind of makes it obsolete in a sense, because we could probably hold more of the smaller ones and we'll find some happening as you are , you know , experienced drivers, know how to drive it well, but some the other people cut the turns to , to tie it. And that could be an expensive turn. And so this makes it, everybody likes driving the smaller vehicles and now you can hold more. So it's just revolutionary.

Speaker 2: 7:51

It's awesome. I mean, you can customize it to more or less, you know, how you want to do it. And I, I , you know, I've seen, like we have model out here that's a bigger drag. They have pretty much dominated Pittsburgh area as far as the , uh, like dry cleaning scene . And I've seen them have like one road down the center and have the shelves on each side that are smaller, but they primarily just do dry cleaning. So, but you can customize it and get deeper shelves. You can get them higher. I think they're like three inches high the sidewall now, but I think you can get them up to like six or something like that. If you're,

Speaker 1: 8:23

Yeah. Those cycles are nice because when you go around the turns, it helps keep the clothes on the shelves, right?

Speaker 2: 8:28

Yeah, yeah. Um , like a sticky bottom, do it, you know what I mean? So he wants you to put it nice. Could you pull it out? You can set them down, you know, and you don't have to shove them in and shove them out, you know? So yeah .

Speaker 1: 8:38

Got some grip and if you've got, and a lot of times I've seen people where they'll just do a two mile radius around their laundromat, because for whatever reason in their mind, I think it's the mindset of like, well, you know, it's nearby the laundry mat. So that's where my customers are. But with pickup and delivery, I mean, how far out do you go for on for your miles? Twenty-five miles. That's pretty good . Wow. That's pretty good. We're about 10, 15 miles

Speaker 2: 9:03

Commercials. What pushes it out farther? You know, just from a , you know, we pick up a nursing home, we do this, we do this, you know what I mean? So like, it's a nice run . If , when I go to a nursing home and pick up two , all 5,000 pounds at a clip, you know, versus going to Joe or Bob's place to pick up, you know, 35 or 40 pounds, it we're already out there. You know, like I said, we're putting on, we already bought a second truck. We're probably looking at a third truck here by the end of the month. So staffing spent pretty decent, you know, I mean, we pay the girls pretty well. Um, we've learned a lot, you know, as far as employees and ground rules and handbooks, that's another thing, get a handbook, you know, make sure everything's cut and dry because , you know, give them an inch, they take them off.

Speaker 1: 9:44

That's great advice, great advice. And I'm glad you made the jump into pickup and delivery because you know , it really is. Life-changing in terms of, cause you know, the reason you got into the, into the whole business in the first place you mentioned is passive income. You know, I know it's not so passive in a sense, but it's income and you're building wealth. You know, this is your business,

Speaker 2: 10:05

The amount of people that call us day in and day out looking for service, you know , um, even it goes a long way with , uh , older people. You know, we give them the senior discount, you know, we do a whole , uh , high rise in one community that we just start the eighth floor and just work our way down and pick them all up. And you know, we don't charge them the minimum, but we're stopping and picking out every week, 15, 20, 25 of them. So it works out, they get a better price and you know, they love it, especially in a wheelchair or stuff like that, you know? So, you know , we do the dry cleaning, which is a nice add on piece. Um, it's not like our bread and butter, but you know, it's , it's nice because it gives people that option, you know?

Speaker 1: 10:45

Yeah. And sometimes they want to place the order if they didn't , if you weren't a one-stop shop. So don't give them a reason to go elsewhere. Right . And you bring up a great point. Like some, sometimes if you're, if you're doing pickup and delivery and you already do pick up and delivery in a building and you feel there's a lot of business there, you know, maybe drop off a brochure or a card , you can put them on their doors because you're already there and then you're lowering your per visits or your purse stop , pick up costs to virtually nothing you're already there. And then inside our software too , you could change, you know , the order minimum, you could change the price per pound on an individual customer basis. They've got a lot of flexibility to really cut them a deal and provide an incentive to just capture that building.

Speaker 2: 11:24

Right. And then even the , like the Airbnbs and stuff like that, you know, also looking into, cause we've had a few , uh, as far as management, I know this is a separate side piece business, but you know, a lot of times these places, they can't find people. So they're looking for you to manage their inventory. So like we started with one place that we buy the towels and the sheets and stuff for them and we set their par and then, you know, as stuff get ruined or they add on more locations, we just keep pumping it full of systems . So that's another add on if you , like, we have the space to do that. And then once we get bigger, we'll just get a warehouse, but it's additional 20%, you know, just more money that you're going to bring in. And all you do is you have to sit there and just have the inventory and eventually it goes through, you know, you go through it and then you're good.

Speaker 1: 12:13

And the customer next time around the customer's paying for them and Tori. So that's yeah, that's fantastic. I mean, you really help illustrate just there's no limit. I mean, you , there's different niches in the business and it looks like you're open for those opportunities, you know , and looking at, Hey, how do I do this? Well? And so, yeah, we're just so happy for your success. And I'm really glad you're with curbside.

Speaker 2: 12:34

Yeah. We appreciate it. Like I said, we got next location. We're looking at a third location to do strictly more heavier commercial stuff , uh, institutionalized stuff. So like as long as you want to grow with us, we'll grow with you guys. So

Speaker 1: 12:47

Terrific. And yeah, one of the things that put in the email, we went out that went out today regarding the new software updates. We put an over, I believe it was over 600 hours in the most recent sprint and we're already working on the next two sprints right now. Basically I thank you for your support because without you guys, we won't be able to make the software. We want to make, you know, for, for everybody, we could be just doing a lot better if we just kept the software the way it is. But we are committed every month to pouring in a ton and development because we want to have the best software . So anybody just even thinking about getting into the space, they're going to say, wow , there's already like five years of software development by these guys. There's no shortcuts. I mean, there's a lot of nitty gritty stuff that you wouldn't even know about the last year in the business.

Speaker 2: 13:32

Yeah. And we looked at some of the other ones, the springboard happiness, and you know, a few of the other things. And just with your guys' AOI on all my customers, I can set how much I spend for advertising. I'd rather be controlled. I spent the money that , you know , to start the business. So I'd rather be in control of it versus, you know, having to share a percentage of my profits and, and having outsource call centers and like, you know, stuff like that, or yes. I mean, it might not, it might work for some people, but it just doesn't work for me. You know, I guess it depends on how you're wanting to be a business owner. You know, if you want to be hands on and know what's going on, you know, and I, I know it's like shameful to say this, but like up until like a couple months , two months ago, like I knew all the customers, we were getting so many new customers that I'm not even sure, like I'm starting to remove myself from it because I'm looking for big fish. Now, the little Fisher is just coming in, you know, as, as they come in, try to have that more personal, like, you know, feel and talk, you know, that's what we, that's what we do with our manager. You know, she's, you know, she knows everybody, that's her job so that, you know, go , Hey, Mary, you know, like, oh, what you want an extra, you know , bleach today or whatever, you know what I mean? It just goes a long way. They want that. They want somebody personal to talk to versus like a recording or somebody doesn't know, or sit in an office halfway around the world.

Speaker 1: 14:51

It just doesn't work out in my opinion. Yeah. And I think that's a competitive advantage because you're local and it's a real business, real person answering the phone, not someplace outsourced to a company that knows nothing about laundry. I think that in customers could tell the difference and they also know if you're intimate with the orders or whether it's call centers in a different state. So I think there's tremendous value. And you also touch upon something too . I mean, we were in the exact same boat as you, when looking at different software, you know , some number of years ago, about five years ago, there's only one software company out there and they wanted a big chunk of our gross revenue. And that was just a no go for us. And so we followed the golden rule, which is do unto others as you did for yourself or sell Florida . And that is, you know , why we don't do the royalties or any of that stuff because the software shouldn't cost more because you're doing better. You know , if you're doing better, you should benefit. Not, you know, we're a fixed cost. Yeah. It took a toll for like anything else, you know? Well, I'm really happy for your success and thanks for joining us on the state of the laundry industry. And until next time. Yeah. Thank you.