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14 Years in This Business, & Counting

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Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
Today is another mile stone. 14 years ago today, I opened my little self-service laundromat in our rural Alaskan community.

My facility that I built wasn't my dream business. I wanted at least 20 washers. The controlling governmental department wasn't even going to let me have 1 washer -- we're on septic tanks rather than a public waste system. Their first response was a resounding no! Laundromats in our situation were not allowed. I spent 6 month of my life talking and talking. I proposed every plan, and twist on those plans, that I could conceive. Finally they granted me the right for 9 washers. I couldn't have a sink or a public restroom. I used every gallon of water for the 9 washers that they would approve. They literally told me to be quiet and go away. They would see me when I was done and ready for their inspection.

So, I spent my money and I built out my little business on some vacant land at the end of my mobile home park. 14 years ago today, I was there waiting for the community to come and see the wonderful thing I had done. The other closest facility is 13 miles away in a neighboring town. How could I lose?

Funny, just about no one came. The community, as a whole, continued to go to town to do their laundry. I advertised. I sent post cards to everyone. I put up flier on the bulletin boards. I passed out discount coupons to all the businesses. And, almost no came. So, I did it all again. And again. And again.

A small trickle of business started with my tenants and few hardy soul from the community. It took 5 years to establish that business.

Flip forward 14 years... Now, when I clean out my cash box at the laundromat, it's my nightly Forest Gump moment. I never know what cash is going to be in that box, but I have good averages after all these years. I think of it as my minimum wage job that takes an average of 45 minutes per day to complete.

I open the doors for that business on my way to my office in the mornings -- it takes me 5 minutes. My husband and I clean and close it each night -- it takes about 20 to 40 minutes. Yes, at times I hire someone else to do the opening, closing and cleaning. There are moments when we have to fix a machine or do regular maintenance items.

In there, I also have a candy machine and a coke machine, which I stock with goodies. Those machines collect just about every coin from the pockets of my customers and tenants. The kids and their friends love those vending machines!

It's just a small dribble of money that comes in day after day. I believe in dribbles. Create a few of those dribbles, and you have a good income stream.
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Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
Very nice. Will they let you put a coin operated video game in there?
No, not without a special permit. But, it's a good idea. There's a project on the drawing board about 3 miles up the road from us -- an LNG (liquid natural gas) plant, with deep water docks to sell to Asia. If that goes through, I have a man camp planned where we'll have some entertainment -- like pool tables etc... and of course, more vending machines!

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