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About Ken

I’m diversified in a number of fields from Industrial Maintenance,Project Management, Firefighting, Laundry, Real Estate Investing, Marketing and Small Business Support

I was raised on a farm, went to college for two years and graduated from the Electrical Engineering Technician program. I just wanted to be an electrician but none of the counselors in my high school had any idea how to provide direction if it didn’t involve post secondary education. So off I went to continue my education.

As things like this normally work it put me into a job with a major automotive manufacturer just as they were building their first plant in the country. I started in production but soon moved into a robot operator role due to, you guessed it, my post secondary education. A few years there and I was able to get an apprenticeship as an Industrial Electrician where I spent the next 10 years repairing equipment.

Over the next 10 years I was involved in a number of projects that included supporting installation of new robotics to building new factories.
In my spare time I was always working on projects around the house from finishing basements to building a log home.
After I left the corporate world in 2009, fortunately mine was by choice, I spent a few months as a Certified Energy Advisor working as an independent contractor. This involved doing evaluations of people’s homes for energy use including the Blower Door Test to check for leaks. This was a great job. It allowed me to combine something that interested me, use my past experience in home renovations to help people understand how their home worked, help them get government rebates for improvements and I actually got paid to do it.

This was a short career as I had my paperwork submitted to move to the US. I investigated the energy evaluation business in the US but found in the SouthEast it was not a big concern to most people and as there was very few rebate programs in place the payback was from the energy savings only. Part of the difference in the attitude between the colder climates and the SouthEast is that you don’t notice a warm breeze coming under a door with the air conditioning running but you definitely notice a cold breeze in the dead of winter.

As my time to move started to draw closer I continued to investigate various business opportunities. One of which was coin laundries. No inventory. No employees. Somewhat passive income. .
I was introduced to the coin laundry industry by a friend of mine on our volunteer fire department. As he was a captain at the Fire Department and also did service on appliances he earned the title of Captain Freon. His family had been in the coin laundry and appliance sales and service business his whole life.

We would sit around and talk about various business ventures and at one point we actually took a tour of a couple of laundry’s in a neighboring town. I had other projects on the go at the time so another friend of his opened one in that town a couple of years later.

Fast forward a few years and I had left the corporate world , and was getting ready to leave that country, so I was looking at alternatives. Part of the fun of moving to the US is that once you are here it takes months to get a green card to be able to work but fortunately you can own a business before you even get here.

During the time I was waiting to move I hunted down Captain Freon and started asking questions. I would ride with him to his coin laundries and ask all kinds of questions about income and finance and maintenance and setup ……. Finally he told me until you actually own one I can’t really tell you much more.

I will be honest and tell you that you can read about them, stop by and use some, talk to distributors, accountants and lawyers, develop business plans and study demographics but there is still things that you don’t find out until you own one. But I hope to be able to provide some insight into many of these items as we move along.

I have been operating in the laundry business since 2010 and learning and studying since 2009. Currently I own 3 stores. Washin Anniston, Washin Golden Springs and Washin Oxford. One was closed and required a complete renovation, one was running and had good equipment but needed renovations and some additional equipment. The third, built in 2016, was a completely new store.
One of my stores has attendants and a strong Drop Off service. Although not in my original business plan it was a good opportunity so I made some adjustments to the business plan and moved forward.

Throughout this time I was also involved in marketing in many forms. Internet, newspapers, radio, TV and even billboards. I try to take two or three courses per year on business and marketing. Some are only a few hours at the local Chamber of Commerce or the University and some full day courses. I also invest a lot of time in on-line training, webinars and audio books.

One thing I found was that it was difficult to get basic information about starting and operating a Laundromat. That’s there this site, the YouTube Channel and The PodCast came into play. Basic information from a guy doing it everyday.

As the businesses grow I am able to spend more time on local community support and involvement. Being involved with the local Chamber of Commerce has helped build relationships with many other local business owners of all sizes and influential people in the community and remains an important part of my weekly activities.

There is no such thing as staying in the same place. You either move up or move down. This applies to business and personal activities. Staying in the same place actually means you are falling behind as everyone else moves ahead.
Keep moving forward.

Ken

Ken Barrett

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