After pursing the side hustle and the world of automated business, Erin & Jon Carpenter purchased an automated laundromat in Charleston, SC.
Jon & Erin Carpenter and Reynold’s Laundry
Have you ever dreamed of owning an income generating business that earns passive revenue? Well if you have, then you probably have looked into laundromats. Automatic coin laundromats can be wonderful business models for someone looking to operate a business part-time and invest into their next move. In this episode, Jon and Erin Carpenter talk about how they came about purchasing their laundromat in Charleston, SC and how they have turned it into their favorite side hustle to date!
Jon and Erin got their first taste of laundromats while traveling cross country. They soon discovered the importance of having a place to stop in and do laundry. And how long people spend inside laundromats. And when the time came to start their next side hustle, a laundromat quickly became a top contender.
In June of 2022, Erin and Jon bought Reynolds a laundromat in Charleston, SC. And for the first few months, they spent time learning about the industry and business. Then in January 2023, they made the decision to temporarily shut down in order to achieve a beautiful renovation.
Owning A Laundromat As A Side Hustle
In this episode, Jon mentions how the passive nature of laundromats was the thing that pulled him in. And how this is what makes a laundromat such an attractive business. However, when it comes to owning a laundromat as a side hustle, Jon and Erins hare how it’s not always what it seems.
Even though Jon and Erin spend an average of two hours per week on the operations of the business, there are a lot of particular details. Like quarters for example! Jon mentions that at all times, he has to have an endless supply of quarters due to the machines.
During their regular week, Erin and Jon have extra time to devote to other businesses. Not just the laundromat.
These two pour so much into the laundromat community past just the standard operations. They do such a wonderful job connecting with customers, creating outreach programs, and giving back with their free laundry day.
Operations of An Automated Laundromat
One thing that I have always been curious about is what owning a laundromat really looks like. In this episode, Jon and Erin walk me through that exact process!
Jon has strategically tried to keep the laundromat as passive as possible. He explains the most active part of owning a laundromat is refilling the quarter machines. This takes about 2 hours each week. So in an effort to streamline this process further, Jon mentions adding BlueTooth technology to the machines that allow customers to purchase washes on their phone.
Owning A Business As A Couple
Jon and Erin aren’t just laundromat experts. But experts in running a business as a couple. I ask them for tips for couples looking to get into business together.
They say the trick to owning a business as a couple is to find the joy. They encourage couples to not take themselves too serious, to find time to life, and truly enjoy the journey.
Another nugget that they share is the importance of finding your own lane. Everyone brings something different to the table. And in business, this can be so important. It’s a good thing if you both aren’t experts in one subject. Instead, if you can combine expertise you are more likely to succeed.
Another one of my favorite episodes is with my good friends Stacey and Skylar. Listen to their episode here about running a side hustle as a couple.
The ROI of An Automated Laundromat
During this interview, one thing that I was extremely curious about was the ROI of a laundromat side hustle. I ask Jon and Erin how long it usually takes to see an ROI on a laundromat.
At the time of purchase, Reynolds was near a break-even point each month. So in efforts to increase their ROI, the decided to proceed with a much-need renovation. Since reopening, they have already seen an increase in monthly profit.
Another thing that Jon mentions in this episode is what is included in monthly overhead. For Reynold’s Laundry, their monthly expenses include rent, their attendant, water bill, and propane or gas bill.
Today they are still searching for solutions to increase revenue through digital marketing, wash and fold services, and technology advancements. This would expand the business past the current radius of customers and help continue to increase ROI.
The Community In Charleston, SC
What Jon and Erin didn’t expect was the business to emerge them so deeply into their community. Reynolds laundry is located in a place where a lot of its customers walk and utilize the laundromat on a regular basis. Therefore, it’s becomes a community staple in Charleston, SC.
Jon and Erin have done so many things to give back and positively impact this community. Some of their favorite projects have been outreach community projects, free laundry days, and bringing food and coffee into the space from other local businesses.
Love laundromats? Or excited to learn even more about this amazing side hustle idea? Connect more with Jon and Erin Carpenter on Instagram. There, Erin posts so much amazing content and behind the scenes footage of Reynold’s Laundry. Including this Reel that went VIRAL!