Owner / Operator Kenny Simons of the Dirty Hamper www.itshampertime.com shares his first hand experience using CurbsideLaundries.com software solution. He increased his revenue by 500% in one year and had the right software solution to manage his growth. Find out how he stood out from the competition. Kenny discusses the new normal - outsourcing laundry. He dives deep into the nitty gritty and discusses how to convert prospective customers into PAYING customers.
Welcome to the state of the laundry industry with laundry and mat episode seven, crushing it and pick up and delivery. This episode stars, Kenny Simons of the dirty hamper, who is absolutely crushing it and pick up and delivery. You won't want to miss it.
Kenny, just want to thank you for joining me on the podcast, the state of the laundry industry and, and you are like such a success story. So I'm just so glad that you're part of the podcast. Um, thank you. Thank you. And we appreciate being a curbside client, um, because it's been awesome just watching you grow. So, yeah, I'm just curious as far as like what brought you into the laundry business and yeah. How you got here?
Yeah. Um, one of my best friends, who's kind of like my older brother. Um, his family has been in the business for 60 years and, uh, I really only wanted one laundromat. That was a mile from my house. And I told him that 15 years ago, when that becomes available, let me know I want to buy it. Well, I think, I believe it was 2014, 2015. He said that the owner was ready to sell. And so little did I know they had two at the time and they didn't want to sell the one I wanted. They wanted to sell me their dog. And when, I mean, dog, every machine was broken, it looked like it was back in 1975. It was just bad. So with his help, um, he was able to pretty much put all the new equipment in there designed a laundry mat, um, and make it modern. So he helped me out with that. And my goal was just to buy one laundry mat a year and get going.
Nice. And, and did you, before you got into pickup and delivery, were you doing wash and fold or did you just go straight into pick up and delivery?
So when, when I got into Washington, it was kind of on accident. Um, I didn't know anything about the laundry business. Um, like I said, my best friend, he, uh, his family owned many throughout the years and all he knew was laundry mines. And, uh, I remember where I have a full-time job as well. And I remember calling my wife who was a full-time teacher and, uh, asking her what she was doing on her lovely Saturday. And, uh, she snapped at me and she said, I'm doing eight loads of laundry and hung up on me. So I was bored and I, I Googled, um, how to start a washing full business. And, um, in the beginning, at my first location, we, um, we just had off and we used the paper receipts, the carbon copy receipts, and it was cash. And so everything involved from trial and error, I wish I knew you guys, you know, years ago, but it, it was, it was great for me to learn that way, what worked, what didn't, what could be better.
So we started off with the, with the receipts and then from there I learned about square. So from square, I started marketing. I have a very good friend who's who's in marketing, um, purple cow, social media, Tiffany, and she helped design a website. So with that website, she was able to incorporate square. So now it started to evolve in a way where people can schedule online. So another laundry mat near mine about a mile away that became for sale. So I bought that and it had a lot, it had more space than that. I knew what to do with it. So I thought, wow, well maybe I can grow it here too. I'll have two locations. And then it evolved to, Hey, can you drop it off? Can you pick it up? And, you know, for older clients, and of course we'll do that. Well, then the word got out that, Hey, they do pick up and delivery. Now I need a van. So I went down and got a van Dodge van and, uh, wrapped it. Um, I sent you some pictures of it earlier, where it was just a noxious, um, very colorful, very bright. Um, my drivers would laugh because as they're driving people to stop and take pictures of it and, uh, it, it was just, it, it was funny. It
It got attention. And people started going to the website
And your marketing. Person's the purple cow, which is all about standing out.
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Tiffany has been great. She, she actually did marketing for a large furniture company as well. I highly recommend her and what's been great is she's been able to assist me with the curbside website, any changes I need, and she's been able to coordinate with you anything that we need as well. So that's,
And I remember also you're using, you got an, a pickup and delivery you're using and, and your growth has just been exponential. And, you know, I'm not sure if we mentioned your laundry mat, it's the dirty hamper based out Los Angeles, um, LA area and the, so I believe you're using a different platform and you switched over. I'm just curious as far as what brought about that change or, you know, things were going well before. So I'm just curious, what was the impetus?
What I learned is no, system's perfect. Um, with the one I went with, it was an app based, um, uh, system and it was good for what it did, but it was mainly geared towards dry cleaners. And I'd been talking to you for probably a couple of years just feeling you out and trying to get information from you. And it got to a point where it was just irritating dealing with, with this company. And so I thought, you know what, I'm going to call Matt, see, see what he can do, what he's going to promise me like the other guy did and, uh, probably switch in six and I'm
Going to show it on the screen for people watching, um, which is the, the gross income. And it starts in about 2009, 2012. So just about a year ago in April. And so April is in red from 2020 and the blue is this year, 2021. And, you know, I notice even at the time, you know, between April and August, it's actually pretty significant growth because percentage wise that's huge. I mean, now it's about five times that number one year later. So that's just unbelievable. Um, but then I noticed a huge jump in August and September, just curious what you attribute that to. Um, and then how were you able to manage it because that is disruptive, your business went way, way, way up your operations definitely would change. And I was just wondering how you accommodated to those, I guess, you know, th that growth.
Well, I think I came on board with you in March just as COVID started. And maybe it was a little bit before, but we had our record month. We did I think, 3000 pounds and we're jumping up and down like idiots. No. Oh, we made it right. And then once we fully transitioned over from that other app and then went all in with curbside, it's crazy. I was worried with COVID that people weren't going to order. Um, because what happened was I started, as soon as COVID happened, everyone started canceling their orders and I was panicking. So I honestly with curbside, as well as Google ad words and Instagram, I dumped, you know, a couple thousand into marketing. You know, if I'm going to go bankrupt, I'm going to go bankrupt, but I'm at least going to swing the bat. So from there, it was crazy.
We, we just kept climbing and climbing and climbing. And I remember talking to you or Aaron, and you guys said, ah, it's a snowball effect. You're, you're going to see it's a, it's a slow snowball and it's going to grow and grow and grow. And then at a, at a point it's, it's grown so fast that we're having a hard time maintaining employees and drivers. And that that's the next headache, which is a good headache, but, you know, it's, uh, it's completely caught me off guard from what I thought it would do. It's grown fast.
Yeah. It's definitely high in demand. And do you see this being consistent or, uh, you know, with, or, I mean, you're seeing continued growth even from like January until now. Um, and, and so do you think it's a trend? Some people are attributing well, it's just with COVID. Um, or do you see this as just a new way of being as this, the new normal, I'm just curious how you see the future
With COVID. I I've noticed people are afraid. Well, last year they were afraid to leave their house. So I'm going into my laundry mats and they're bare, and I'm looking around going, how am I going to pay the rent? So for whatever reason, our website, we have something on our website. You know, about that. As soon as someone comes on it, it alerts us that someone's on it. That thing is nonstop. I have to turn it off because people are on it all the time. And even, even my partner get, gets irritated. She's like, really? I mean, people are looking on this at two o'clock in the morning, you know, for laundry. But the real thing we're selling is time. Um, I think as things go and as expensive as California is, you're going to have it a dual, uh, household where both parents are working. So nobody has time to do anything at home.
Yeah. It seems like I'm busier than ever. And everything is more difficult in a sense, like things just take more time. You can't just, and it's hard, harder to get help, you know, to like even babysitters and this or that, or, you know, school's now shorter than ever before. And there's always minimum days every day, it seems like, right.
Well, and it's, you know, you have Uber coming for food, you know, nobody wants to leave their house because no one has the time. And when I got into this, I thought, well, how is this product or service going to, what is my demographic? I completely gave up on that because I have rich people in mansions all the way down to low low-income housing, and they're not doing 30 pounds. They're doing 200 pounds at a time. It's crazy. Like, I don't like,
I totally agree. And it's, you know, those, the demographic reports it's like, what do they even mean? Because I tend to go by population because if there's people, there's people who need it. Right.
And it's each month, I wish I could say it's slowing down, but each month it's growing little by little by little.
Yeah, it's definitely. And you may not notice it so much one month over the other. It's like, Hey, that's extra 500 bucks or extra thousand bucks, but then one year, if you keep growing at that rate one year down the line, I mean it's, and, and then what, what does five years down the line look like? Um, and just curious on the software side of things, are there certain features that you've seen that really helped out or certain, um, just where you feel like you have an advantage?
Um, I like knowing who is signing up. So I really target that, um, the prospective customer. So I'll go after that and I'll put it on either, um, MailChimp or I'll do the easy text and I'll send out to them, Hey, I'll give you 20% off your first order. And I'll just keep hitting them. And eventually they, they convert over because they want to try it,
You know? That's fantastic. So yeah, what Kenny is referring to is the, we have a report called the prospective customer list. And those are people who went in, they create an account, they gave us their email. They gave us their phone number, but they never placed an order. And new customers are a lot harder to get than existing customers and re-engaging them. But you always have to add new customers to the mix, you know, because, you know, it's just a healthy thing to do. And you bring up a really good point, which is maybe just sending them one message is not enough. These people may need just like with anything else. They say what the commercial is. It takes like three times before you even quote, get it, you know, the first time might not be the right time or you're not paying attention. So I think just continued effort. That list is money. And a lot of people it's there, but not everybody uses it. And it's valuable.
I, and I, I did real estate before and it was the magic number was what seven touches. So if you can hit them seven times, they're gonna, you know, they're gonna know
First, like software updates or new new features.
Yeah, no, they, I mean, it seems like, uh, you're, you're sending something out every week saying, Hey, we have a new one, we have a new one, we have a new one. Um, but it, it seems like, it seems like the curbside laundry, um, laundry website and everything that you're providing, it almost seems like it, it, it, it's growing. Like you just feed it more knowledge and it grows, you feed it a little more knowledge and grow. So I don't think you ever have a finished product
Because we're learning.
Yeah. Because you guys, um, you guys come from a laundromat background and issues come up. Okay. Well, what about this issue? Well, what about this issue? So you're constantly trying to grow it and it's, you know, it's not three steps. It's continuous non-stop and, um, yeah, my hats off to you guys for, for continuing to work everyone's problems up, because I see on the Facebook, the curbside Facebook, um, members, group, everyone has questions. And it's nice that you have that community where everyone might have the same question or same issues. And, you know, it's all always been addressed and in that team environment,
Well, thank you. Yeah, that's something we learned too, is when we first started this venture, we thought the software would be started and completed and then be a finished product. And we realized it will never end. It's always never, always things to add ways. We're like, oh, if we have this new feature, we'll make more money. I mean, just in about less than 30 days, we have another update coming out. That's gonna allow the commercial clients to pay, pay their invoices online. So, yeah, so it used to be, we paid our manager the whole Saturday or Saturday morning to send out all these invoices and they take a long time to tabulate. Everybody's paying a different price per pound, and now the invoices are automatic. And now we're completing that loop. So not only are we automatically batching the invoices, we're saying, Hey, click here to make a payment. So it's like one less job that we have to do manually. And that's kind of how we see the, or even on the marketing side, on every single facet of it. And just over time, it's going to get better and better.
Well, and I, I love that aspect of billing, you know, residential and the commercial before I had you guys, um, I was doing everything off square and having to sit down and send out the
Invoice, click, click, click, and I got too busy and it's hard to rely on someone else. Who's doing all the work to add that to their plate as well. Yeah. And that was a big thing when we designed the software, so automatically do the billing because that's a job and better, the software says, Hey, the credit card didn't go through and they could click here to update it then to make those phone calls. And, you know, I've talked to laundry owners where they're making those phone calls and sometimes they get adversarial. It's like, Hey, you need to pay your bill. And they already deliver the laundry. And it's like, well, how did that situation happen in the first place? You know?
And I've had that where I've dropped off 300 pounds of laundry and they say, oh yeah, I'll pay it. And they don't. And you're out that money. Cause you already paid your staff. You already paid your costs. And if it, if it, the thing I do like about it is if the payments are unsuccessful, then it doesn't load up for the drivers. So the drivers not going to take it, it's going to sit on that rack until they pay for it.
Right. Exactly. It's kinda like you don't get your car back from the oil change until it's paid for. Well, I really appreciate your time and yeah, I wish you continued success. I man, it is a great, great success story. You know, somebody within basically a year and a half goes from a very, you know, very legitimate business where you're doing great and be happy at that time. But now in hindsight, it's, you know, five times or so, what it was before. So I mean, that's in most businesses, if you go like 10% increase over last year, that's great. Your 500 times or five times. So that's phenomenal and yeah. Show you out of tons of props. You're a grid operator and great person. And yeah, I really appreciated working with you,
You for all your help. I really appreciate it. All
Right. Well, thank you.