John with Oceana Laundry grew his laundry pickup and delivery service to HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS per year. He discusses the cultural shift towards full service laundry to the doorstep, how to create sticky customers, how his drivers learn the Curbside laundries management system in just a few days, and why pickup and delivery is MORE efficient than customer drop off.
Speaker 1: 0:00
I looked at all that equipment sitting there. And I said that equipment needs to be turning for it to be making me money.
Speaker 2: 0:04
When you first started with the pickup and delivery, did you expect it to eclipse your in-store washing fold many times over like it did? No,
Speaker 1: 0:11
I didn't. We have two , we have two vans right now and I've actually been holding back on it on our advertising dollars because I didn't want to get too busy.
Speaker 2: 0:18
Speaker 3: 0:19
To state of the laundry industry with laundry, Matt episode 32, roasting hundreds of thousands of dollars with the curbside laundry management system. Yeah.
Speaker 2: 0:31
I'd like to welcome John McLoughlin to the podcast. He has just a spectacular operation over in Oceanside or San Diego, California, and his was , and fold when you started with us, you're already in the five figures doing really, really well. Your pickup and delivery and your overall business with was , and fold has just gone off the chart. So I'm excited to have you on the program to kind of talk about like how you got into was and fold how or how why'd you get into the laundry business, how you've grown your business, because it's truly a like case study. I think something a lot of people would wanna emulate. So just wanna thank you for joining the program first off. What brought you into the laundry
Speaker 1: 1:07
Business? That's a , that's a good question. So thanks for having me today, Matt . I appreciate it . Thanks. Thanks for letting me get on here and talk about my story. Well , got me into this business. I had lost a job and I needed to come up with another stream of income. I had a rental property that owned free and clear, and it was generating about a thousand bucks a month in income, but that wasn't enough. I needed to generate more income. I looked at the laundry business and I figured, okay, this is a , this is a viable option. It can , it can put , put out better numbers than that. ING . I could pay cash for the business. I could turn that thousand into many thousands of dollars a month, which is really what I needed. And I thought that this would be a great passive business to get involved with. Um , it wasn't too long after I got the business and I realized it wasn't so passive as passive as I thought it was.
Speaker 2: 1:48
Yeah, that's the big joke in the laundry business is everybody gets in thinking it's passive and it turns out it's like any business, if you've gotta run it.
Speaker 1: 1:55
Yeah, well it was , it took a lot to learn it, but I put a couple years in, I learned the business. I remodeled the store about five years later, then that store became more passive income because I have everything dialed in. I had the , I had wired all the equipment was running. I had my customers educated to know that if something didn't work, they just put in for a refund and they get their refund a week later that prevent, that really prevented me from having to go there. If someone called me at two o'clock in the afternoon or nine o'clock at night,
Speaker 2: 2:20
At what point, because it sounds like you got it to where you wanted and in terms of passive income, but then at some point you added was and fold like how long and , and you , you must been attended.
Speaker 1: 2:29
Well, I didn't do that. I was looking for, I was looking for another opportunity because, you know , I liked the business. It did really well figured I could add to that. And I came across another opportunity to buy another store. And that store was a full service store. I had employees, I had a was and fold already in place . So I purchased that store and that had the was and fold component to it. The was , and fold was pretty successful. The guys that owned the place before me did a fantastic job in growing the business, but it was very limited because the manager that was doing it, wasn't very technology savvy. Everything was written on pieces of paper, what days we had to pick up for different customers on spreadsheets with the addresses. And , and she was the only one that knew the information. It was all , it was all in her head.
Speaker 2: 3:06
What led you go with the curbside laundries to help manage the Washington pour
Speaker 1: 3:10
Business. I ran into you guys back in Vegas, you know, maybe four or five years ago, camera along .
Speaker 2: 3:14
Yeah , 2017. Yeah , but
Speaker 1: 3:16
We ran in , we ran into each other at the cocktail party and we just started talking and you were telling me about your product. I think your product was pretty, relatively new at the time I saw that fulfilling and need that I had, it was my ability to take all that information that's being stored in my manager's head and on paper and wherever else it is and automating it, organizing it. And that would give me the ability to grow that business where it was at. I couldn't grow it anymore than it was because it was just unorganized. I mean, it was as organized as it could be with the systems that were in place, but you couldn't grow it from
Speaker 2: 3:47
There. I've seen a number of times where there's, somebody just knows the business who's at the laundromat. And one of the issues that winds up coming up a lot is they're not gonna be marketing the business. You know, they're just there and whatever business comes in through the door, they're not gonna go online and focus on, Hey, how do I get more business? They're just collecting, what's coming through the door. And a big thing here at curbside is we also wanna help you grow your business, you know, with your online web presence and things like that. What's great is you've been at a client of ours for , since I think 2017. And the growth has just been off the charts. Were you already doing pickup and delivery or was it all in store ?
Speaker 1: 4:22
We were , but it was very, it was very limited to probably maybe a five mile radius going further than that. It just would be too difficult
Speaker 2: 4:29
Before software. It was the wild west of us trying to manage the , the business you're total was and full for in store and pickup and delivery just basically doubled the following year . And then it over doubled again, the following year and then 20 of 22 it's , it's just gone up and up and up and we're talking big, big numbers. And then I took a little bit of closer look in things to drop off similar to our laundromat. Super SU our drop off is kind of stayed the same. It kind of plateaued. And that's, you know , I think people are only willing to drive so far to drop off their laundry. Looks like you kind of maximize similar to us, maximize our close to maximizing the local in-store drop off wash and fold . But the reason why the total numbers are going up so much is when we drill down to what's going on with the pickup and delivery. I mean, these numbers are just completely insane. Many times over, I'd say, what are , you know , many laundry maps make total. And that's just your pickup and delivery. Just curious, as far as like what you attribute the growth of your pickup and delivery to, or is it just being in the right place at the right time? Like how are you getting the word out to people? How , how are the customers finding you?
Speaker 1: 5:31
When I first got into the business with the , with the in-store sales, I looked at not the in-store sales, but the self-service customer I looked at, I would go in there on a Saturday place. We packed and you go in there in a Tuesday afternoon at, you know, one o'clock and there'd be like three, two or three people in there. I looked at all that equipment sitting there and I said that equipment needs to be turning for it to be making me money. So how do I get it to turn, to make more money? So when I bought the other store, I , I saw it kind of the light came on. I says, okay, I get it now. Now I've got people in there. And even if it's quiet in there, I've got my employees processing laundry, those machines are turning and I'm , and now I'm making money again, who can only have so many people come in, like you said, come in from a , within an area of your store to drop off laundry, cuz they're not gonna drive 20 miles. Now I can expand my market area. I can advertise to different markets and, you know, continue to serve as my local markets, but also grow, you know, 10 miles away, 15 miles away, 20 miles away for the customer. It's seamless. All they're doing is putting the back, outside the door and the next day it's showing back up again. It's and it's clean how we've grown that business. I think, you know, probably a lot of it's been internet advertising, Google ads. We've done some Facebook, but limited the business has been around for a while . So as a result of that, we've got a lot of good reviews on there. We've got a lot of positives, so that gives us a better web presence. So when someone's looking for pickup and delivery business,
Speaker 2: 6:46
When you first started with the pickup and delivery, did you expect it to eclipse your in-store wash and fold many times over like it did? No,
Speaker 1: 6:53
I didn't. We have two, we have two vans right now and I've actually been holding back on it because I've had some issues, you know, finding the right people to work. That's starting to change now, but I had held the throttle back a little bit on our advertising dollars because I didn't want to get too busy and then our product or service, you know, would suffer as a result of it .
Speaker 2: 7:10
And we noticed the same thing. Things have been the labor market's been easing up. I , I personally think it's with inflation. People have to go back to work in order to afford basic stuff. I just got an email today from a client who she , I mean, this was a tough one. She had a very strong pickup in delivery business and she, because the staffing issues just said, Matt, I gotta turn it off. The good news is I just got an email from her today saying, I wanna turn it back on. So I'm gonna help her send out a text message blast to all of her clients and say, Hey, we're back in business. So it's pretty cool. She , she can flip the switch.
Speaker 1: 7:38
Yeah. That's and that's kind of where I'm at right now, but where our , our season is very , uh, summer centric. We do a lot of vacation properties. There's a lot of, a lot of people come out to vacation, you know, in Northern San Diego. Now that that's coming, coming to a little bit of a low nail . So now I wanna drive more towards residential pickup and delivery customers and grow the market from 20 miles interest to keep expanding
Speaker 2: 7:59
It. That's fantastic. And, and then you recently purchased a second store, is that right? Well,
Speaker 1: 8:03
No. The first store that store has always been in place. That was my first store , but that was going to be my overflow because I just couldn't. My issue was that I had too many people working and I'm consuming too many machines and, and it was impacting a little self-service customers because if they come in, they want to use the big machines or they want to use, you know, they want to have enough dryers for them to work with. My idea was, and I haven't, I didn't need to do it, but I was prepared to do it was push a lot of the production over to the other location.
Speaker 2: 8:31
Speaker 1: 8:32
Your software. You , it was pretty easy to do that. You turn on a switch, you know, I redirect my drivers to go, you know, drop things off at that location. And I would just have a staff of people working in there. Um, but I didn't have to do it more than likely I will have to do it at some point
Speaker 2: 8:47
To me, the pick up and delivery just adds so much flexibility. And with the multi-store, it's pretty quick functionality in our software. What's pretty neat is the driver could just choose I'm dropping off the clothes in store a or store B. And then the clothes show up in the laundry, in the right laundry list at the right store. You know, one thing that's helped us with pick up a delivery. Is it just kind of relieved a little bit of pressure where it's like, we don't have to live or die by the self serve laundromat. We're able to supplement in our lion share revenues coming from, we just pick it up and we're less down to a fiscal location than ever before.
Speaker 1: 9:18
Yes. Correct. And I don't, I don't really want to lose that self-service customer. I like the self-service customer helps , you know , hopes cut to cover a lot of the overhead plans in the future might include going to more, more of a dedicated facility or just pick up a delivery. Um , but for now, you know, the , for now, you know, the , the immediate more immediate plan is find more people , uh, that can work night shift and then also push some of the production over to the other location.
Speaker 2: 9:41
It makes things so much easier to just have multiple revenue streams, because they don't wanna discount that the people who get into pick up and delivery without a laundromat, it is the tougher road ahead. And many times they don't plan on, you know, we're in the retention business. It takes time to build up that client base. I mean, you're doing like some 40 pickups a day. I mean, it's just a lot. And you know, when , but when you first are starting off, you know, you could be up and running for a little bit and then you get one order or two orders. And then it takes some time before they order. Again, a lot of people who are just in the pickup and delivery side , don't realize it does take time. You have to have a plan. And the nice problem when you have the laundromat, you're making money along the way and you could grow organically. So it just makes things a lot easier or grow. Then just curious, as far as why you went with curbside laies I
Speaker 1: 10:26
Bet you guys at the , at the show and, you know, thought you were nice guys thought you were , were up front , had integrity. And I figured after looking at your product and I saw what it did, it fit the need. I liked your pricing model on it. There were others out there, but they charged like a commission type based system, which I really didn't like. I like that. They're the clients that are in the , in the system are my clients. They don't, nobody else owns them. If I did ever have to make a change with it. They're they're my customers. And just looking at the product that seemed like it was reasonable, seemed like I did everything, what we needed it to do. It came with a website package , um, with it. So that was helpful because it was more of an all in one type one stop shop, pretty, pretty easy to implement. So yeah, and it's done, it's done everything we needed to do and you keep making it better.
Speaker 2: 11:07
That's fantastic. Right now we're upgrading to.net six . So it's the latest architecture built into that as new user interface make things even easier than before, we're gonna continue just making more and more features focused on how to make you more money. I mean , that's the bottom line. One of the things we've got a dedicated resource on is building out a CRM where text messages are automatically going out for different campaigns. That is something we're just eagerly working on in order to get that out the door. Because soon as text messages are automatically going out to your customers to remind them , or just get back in front of their face, you know, they may have forgot about you. Hey, it's been a while since you placed an order, it's gonna help everybody's business. And then we've also got some really neat Chan updates to the customer portal or where the client places, their order from that's gonna increase the conversion rate dramatically. So have more details on that a little bit later, just
Speaker 1: 11:56
Like I was just saying the automation part is key to be on one platform and to be automated. So I can check a couple boxes as far as what the frequency is. I wanna send, you know, how long has it been since the last customer, for example, is I would imagine you'd do something like that. So if a customer is in place in order in a month or two months, then they would automatically get something to have it in the platform is huge because I'm never gonna sit down and look at that data as I probably should. More, more than I do. I just know that it's gonna be one of the last things that I do. Automation is the key for me, because then I don't have to think about it . I just know it's being taken care of.
Speaker 2: 12:28
Yeah. I'm in the exact same boat. I basically do it. When , if we're having a little bit of slow down , I wanna turn the dial, then I go do it. But it's a whole nother job. Once it's automated, then it's just gonna be automatic. The return on investment for your advertising's gonna be better because your customer spend is gonna go up for each customers and you're right. It has to be built into the software because if it's two different platforms, they don't really talk to each other . Well, so we're gonna have two different systems. One is where it's automatic, where you just flip the switch and you turn on these type of marketing campaigns on. And the second one is more, a little bit more manual, but still not, not difficult where you could just say, Hey, I want to send out a blast to this group of people. And final question. What , what would you say to somebody who's thinking about getting into pickup delivery, but they're kind of on , on the fence.
Speaker 1: 13:08
It's definitely good business to get involved with. There's still a lot of space in it. So I don't, I'm not concerned about other people in my area getting involved in it. The whole COVID shutdown . People looked at pick and delivery a lot differently to think that, you know, you can put it on your doorstep one day and have it back the next day, clean, ready to put away. I think that's a big value add for people. People are more and more busy. They live busier schedules and they have less and less free time. So this gives them more free time. I like the business. It requires more my attention because it's another thing that I have to keep an eye on. But it's the training curve is pretty easy for employees for bringing on new drivers, bringing on new in-store people, as far as understanding the software, learning how the software works is relatively easy. I can bring on a driver and within, within five days goes the systems,
Speaker 2: 13:53
You brought up a bunch of great stuff. One is competition. Some people, they do searches online and they see there's a lot of competition and they're like, oh, maybe I missed the boat. But you're in an area in San Diego where there's a lot of people doing pickup and delivery and you're doing phenomenal. You're living Testament that there's more business out there than any one place could do.
Speaker 1: 14:11
Yeah. I don't think I've scratched the surface in what I can do here. There's a lot more business within my local market and there's a lot more business outside of my more , more business outside of my market that I haven't touched
Speaker 2: 14:20
Yet. I feel the exact same way. We're even in long beach, we're doing really, really well and same exact thing. We're just scratching the surface. There's so much more business than we could ever, ever, ever do. And the other part you mentioned was with C every , I think everybody across the country just saw like a big, big uptick and pick up and delivery was already growing really well before. But then for a lot of people, things just doubled looking at your numbers with pickup and delivery. C's been around for a little while. And even over last year to this year, you've essentially doubled your pickup and delivery. I think it is what you're touching upon, which is people are just changing their purchasing habits or their priorities, or they have less time than they did before it wasn't oh, there's a bump in business. And it's a one time bump. No, this is there's some drastic change going on.
Speaker 1: 15:02
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think, you know, I have a couple customers that are, that I've been working with for a long time where they would, and they're more property management companies or cleaner cleaners for vacation rental properties. They would come in, they would drop off and they would pick it up a day later, two days later, a week later, depending on what their schedule was. And they came to me and says, well, you deliver, could you just deliver it to my property? For me, it's a convenience factor for them because now they just lock it in the closet. My drivers pick it up, bring it back and drop it up day or two later, depending on what their needs are. So it saves them time. And these , a lot of these, a lot of these people are very busy. These property managers or the cleaning people they want to get in and get out as quick as they can. And that's, and that's a 30 minute process to some of 'em to drive to the store, drop it off and then do the same thing in return when they want to pick it up
Speaker 2: 15:46
Again. That's fantastic. Because one, you could charge more if you're doing pick up and delivery two, that customer's now more sticky because if they're driving it, they could drive it anywhere. And what are you gonna do? Meanwhile, if you're picking up or, or delivering it in that case, they don't get the idea of like, oh, there's another place right down the street. Let me give them try. It's like cable. You don't even think about who you're using it . You turn on the TV, it's on, same thing can pick up and delivery . You're on a regular schedule unless there's a big interruption. That customer will probably be a customer for a long, long
Speaker 1: 16:12
Time. Well, even I notice too with my attendance, my attendance are they're processing laundry all day long. So if they're in the middle of doing a customer's laundry and someone walks in to do a drop off , you know, it could be five minutes to eight minutes. By the time they walk over there, they engage with the customer. They chit chat with the customer, which is a good thing. It's not a bad thing for them to have that rapport with the customer, but that's five to eight minutes that they're not pro processing laundry. That happens 5, 6, 7 times a day. That's a lot of time out of the day that they're not out there producing. So I tried to push customers to go to the pickup and delivery because for me, I gotta , my driver has to drive block or two blocks, but it's not eight minutes. It might be, might be just a couple minutes from the go to one , start to the next. And that's a lot more efficient for me than having someone come into the store and drop off and I can charge a little more
Speaker 2: 16:58
For it. Well, thanks again for coming on the , on the podcast. Yeah. I really appreciate you sharing your story with everybody. I think it's, yeah, very inspirational for a lot of people about getting into pickup and delivery. Even if there's competition out there, there's four opportunity than I think any one place could do. I just think it's neat to be able to have this additional revenue stream. I mean, when a lot of people buy a laundromat, they have no idea that there's this thing you could tap into that could actually turn out to be more profitable than the laundrymat itself that you actually bought. Yeah. And your numbers again are just off the charts and congratulations for just running a super successful business.
Speaker 1: 17:31
Well , thanks to you guys too. You definitely helped me get there. So I appreciate it and appreciate your attentive to the software and keep making it better for us.
Speaker 2: 17:38
If you'd like to learn more about the curbside laundries point of sale and pick up and delivery solution and what helps make our clients successful go to curbside laundries.com. Don't forget to click like and subscribe. See you next time.