Laundromat Millionaire, Dave Menz
Are you fascinated by the success stories of other entrepreneurs? Today, learn from Dave Menz, the Laundromat Millionaire, Dave Menz’s inspirational story, learn the secrets of his success, and find out how you can overcome your own obstacles while building wealth.
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Table of contents
Learning the Laundromat Ropes
When you’re running a business, there’s textbook knowledge and boots-on-the-ground knowledge. Dave Menz is the kind of entrepreneur with real boots on the ground experience running a successful business.
[3:11] “I grew up really poor as a young kid, in Flint, Michigan. And I was never very good at school, and I didn’t see a traditional corporate path for me. It just wasn’t in my DNA… I didn’t know anyone that was an entrepreneur or a business owner. But I was always just, from afar, admiring people that were without knowing them.”
[3:40] “I don’t like limitations, I don’t like people or organizations or things telling me that I can’t accomplish x. I like to believe that if I spend enough time and gain the knowledge, and have the right mentors, and the right opportunities—good ol’ fashioned grit plays a part in that, for sure—that I can accomplish almost anything that I want to. Or at least I’m going to die trying.”
This mindset, Dave shares, is what he thinks called him to entrepreneurship. While he didn’t start his path as a business owner right away, he always had a keen interest in how businesses were operated. This prepared him for one day taking over his own. When Dave knew he was ready to own his own business, he and his wife began saving and spent 3 or 4 years preparing for what would be their first laundromat.
Dave actually found his first laundromat on Craigslist, after time spent researching the kind of business he wanted to own.
[11:45] “I just started down the path of due diligence with every business that I found on Craigslist or anywhere else. And every time… I came to a point where there was either a red flag or multiple red flags, that just said ‘this isn’t for you.’”
Dave views himself as being somewhere in the middle of analysis paralysis and reckless—he’s a great, detail-oriented researcher, but he doesn’t get too hung up on choices. He can recognize when it’s time to move on from an idea. With the laundromat, there were no red flags he could find, so he just went for the deal.
The Beginning of the Laundromat Millionaire
When Dave bought the laundromat for $85,000, it was losing money. But he also saw an opportunity in the business, and he knew he could do something great with it. All the nearby laundromats were in similar or worse condition.
[13:57] “I thought, well, I don’t know a lot about business, but I do understand the laws of supply and demand. And I know my community. I’ve lived here for a long time. It’s a thriving, growing suburb in Cincinnati. It doesn’t appear that any of these laundromats are serving this community well, and so if I fix it up and make it a nice place, seems to me like it should grow and should become profitable.”
Over the 4 years Dave and his wife had saved, they had $35,000. They used $20,000 as a down payment. However, they had trouble getting a bank to back them. In fact, they had 25 rejections. This prompted them to look for funding elsewhere, and they ended up getting an SBA loan through a local credit union.
After about 11 months, the first laundromat began making 3-4,000 a month.
On Rejection and Perseverance
The rejections Dave faced are almost a story of their own—one of resilience. He shares that the process of being rejected over and over was one that was extremely painful. Two or three rejections, in fact, can be a lot for one person. Yet Dave believed in his vision, and what he was going to build.
[15:00] “If you really just bleed business ownership, and you know you’re ready, and you know you want to do this, and you know you’re going to go after this like most of humankind has never seen anybody go after something—it just rips your heart out.”
One of the most difficult parts of the rejection, he shares, is that on paper everything was perfect. He and his wife had good credit, a sizeable down payment, a nest egg put away. They lived below their means, and Dave even planned to keep his job while running the laundromat. But the banks believed that it was a bad gamble because he had never run a business, didn’t have a college degree, and the laundromat was already losing money.
But the rejection didn’t change his mind.
Buying the Next Laundromat
Once the first laundromat was profitable, Dave realized that he could replicate his results and become a full-time business owner. So he started looking for his second laundromat. This location ended up being within a 20-mile radius of his first business and was closed down altogether.
He approached the owner of the shopping center where the laundromat was and struck a deal. They even allowed him 9 months rent-free to get the renovations completed. Dave worked unbelievably long hours to make it happen, but he was confident that his laundromat would serve the community.
[21:00] “My upbringing was very simple. We’re on Earth to serve others.”
Dave’s mentor in the laundromat business, who he met through buying equipment, had a similar upbringing. And he taught Dave that if you focus on serving others, everything else will fall into place. The decision to buy up failing businesses and renovate them may seem reckless from the outside, as Dave readily admits. The banks even thought so. But Dave knew he had the right foundation, and that he could make these laundromats into something that the community could actually use and enjoy.
And within the first 30 days of opening the second laundromat, Dave was netting a few thousand dollars. In his industry, those kinds of results typically take anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
Another key Dave credits to his success is having the discipline to save and sock away the profits from the company. As he puts it, he had to learn to keep his hand out of the cookie jar.
The goal of scaling his business was to eventually become a full-time business owner and leave his job. Dave’s wisdom is that he understood that once he left the job, he’d be fully reliant on the income from the laundromat. And if he had a major expense, the money would have to come from somewhere.
Rather than expanding his lifestyle to fit his additional income, he and his wife continued to live their lives like they had and save everything that they could. Saving so diligently gave them the firm foundation and confidence to operate the businesses full-time. Dave is a master of long-term thinking and putting in the work over a few years to reap incredible results.
Serving a Community
[33:43] “Every penny I’ve ever made in my life, I’ve made in servitude to others. Every penny. And I sleep really well at night knowing that…And how beautiful of a thing that it is to know that I can elevate my family.”
Dave extends this mindset to his employees, of which he now has 40, who are members of the community he serves. And his payroll is over $100,000 a month, for those employees. Many of these positions are over entry-level, as well. And Dave knows that each employee really values their job and their ability to be of service, too.
[34:27] “So all these things are a part of what makes me just passionately, obsessively love business ownership and entrepreneurship. And it’s really just a matter of knowledge. It’s just a matter of digging down, talking to the right people, reading the right books, watching the right podcasts; blog articles, magazines—I mean, I’ll take information from anywhere I can get it.”
When Dave reads and absorbs, he looks for the “golden nuggets” he can take away and apply, and then finds the team to apply the knowledge with.
[35:07 “I don’t have to be an expert in accounting, but I need an expert in accounting.”
Raising the Bar for All Businesses
Over the years that Dave has owned his laundromats, he’s improved them both and created a multi-million dollar business. Rather than choosing one business at a time, he chose to improve all existing locations on an ongoing basis. His reasoning is that because he’s committed to his community and serving his clientele, he’s not in competition with himself or anyone else. It matters to him to provide good service at every location.
The only goal he has is to be better than the day before, and he doesn’t want to create competition for others either.
[41:41] “When you do that, what ends up happening is with all those competitors is, typically, one of two things. Either they sit up and they pay attention… and I’ve always said, I want to meet that guy and have lunch with him and I’ll help him. Because servitude to my community matters that much.”
[42:44] “I’m not a keep up with the Joneses kind of guy, I’m the opposite. I’m happy to show the Joneses how I did this if they genuinely want to know.”
A Better Family Future
One of the inciting reasons Dave got into business was to give his wife and children a better reality than he had growing up. He shares that not only did he grow up poor, but he grew up in a really “bad” area. So financial security has always been important to him.
[50:33] “The beauty of that is… you don’t have to choose between money and character.”
[50:45] “The beauty of business ownership and entrepreneurship, when done correctly, is that if you’re focused on serving others and meeting needs in the community, and that’s important to you…what ends up happening is, even if the money doesn’t follow… that’s okay.”
The reason it’s all worth it, even if the money doesn’t follow, is because Dave’s precious time is spent doing work he finds rewarding. He’s not chasing a dollar, just to be unfulfilled. He’s getting value from each moment, regardless. And this is a gift that he gets to share with his children.
[51:16] “The only thing more powerful than what I know today, and what I’m able to accomplish with those things at 45 years old, is teaching it to kids that are 10.”
Get The Laundromat Millionaire
- You can order a copy of Dave’s upcoming book now, at LaundromatMillionaire.com
- He’s also active on LinkedIn and Facebook at Dave Menz, Laundromat Millionaire
About Dave Menz, Laundromat Millionaire
Dave “Laundromat Millionaire” Menz is a passionate Entrepreneur, Husband, and Dad from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the owner of the Queen City Laundry Chain of Laundromats and the author of the Laundromat Millionaire (to be released in October 2021).
What makes Dave unique is the path he took to achieve his success. From poverty to a corporate career, to taking the plunge into business and turning a struggling laundromat (that he bought off of Craigslist) into a cash-flowing multi-million dollar asset, Dave’s journey was anything but typical.
Having fine-tuned his operations for over a decade, surrounded by his Rockstar team, Dave is obsessively driven to help, teach and inspire others while elevating the laundromat industry to a whole new level through networking, service, and collaboration.
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