Reducing the car wash footprint.
Tom Rogers is the Founder and CEO of iSmart Wash.
iSmart Wash is a San Diego, California-based car wash company who believes in using an eco-friendly and fully biodegradable car washing system. While reducing water waste, they pledge to provide clean drinking water through the charity CharityWater.org.
Learn more about how you can save the environment, enable clean drinking water, and still get a great car wash by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
More from UpMyInfluence
How much authority do YOU have? Take our quiz and find out!
Don’t forget to check out our other podcast, Authority Confidential, here.
UpMyInfluence is an Influence Agency dedicated to turning thoughtful entrepreneurs into media celebrities increasing their authority, influence and revenue. To learn how we can help YOU check out Josh’s free webinar.
Connect With Us
Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we've got Tom Rogers. Tom, you're the Founder and CEO of iSmartWash.com. What a brilliant concept. And I'm so excited to share what you do with our audience. So first off, welcome.
Yeah, thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me on the show. And I'm excited to share like kind of like my journey and the knowledge and the different struggles and successes. I've How to grow in this business and the impact that we're having. So thank you.
I'm sure it wasn't overnight. What were you doing before this?
So, I mean, I mean, I'm from a really small town, and I kind of just did what most people do and just kind of go get a job and, you know, make money and try to figure out so I didn't start my business until I was 25. So when I was between the 18 to 18 to 25, I pretty much just had jobs. I worked at cell phone stores, I sold cell phones. I did a lot of odd things here and there, just trying to make money. And so it wasn't until I was surrounded by people that were running businesses were successful in business and seeing their happiness and their joy associated with it that I decided that going into business and becoming an entrepreneur was it was the direction I wanted to go.
And so then, so again, job wise, what what were you doing,
sorry, cell phones at rising.
Okay, and so on. eventually get kind of burnt out on this Where did where does this idea come from for iSmart Wash,
so that originally came from a different concept. So when I was working with the cell phone stores I was doing that for years. And you know it was a very draining people were telling me like when I could go to the bathroom when I could take my break, you know, when I could do all these different things associated with a job and it was becoming very taxing. So I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I my first initial business was actually a car watching it all is a business called Tommy the PO boys. And it was water was it was a it was a pool cleaning company associated with Pool Party. Okay, yeah, we've been clean pools during the weekdays. And then we were going to on the weekends, host pool parties, because I was running different party lessons in downtown San Diego, and that's what we were going to do. So that was my first initial business idea. And I wrote out this business plan, okay. So it looks like a five year old that is actually have a taker
So how you framed your business plan? Look at that
plan. If you can see, it looks like a five year old did it.
I have it on my wall because it shows basically that you don't need to have a phenomenal business plan to be successful. No, it wasn't like thinking Grow Rich we talked about or it talks about definitive purpose, you set up a definite purpose. And then with that definite purpose, the business plan, the plans will change, but eventually you'll get there. So that was why I started I started out with this Tommy the pool was concept and then through that process and trying to figure out how to grow this business, I lost my job and I was just like, you know, I'm gonna do this full time and don't one thing I would recommend is usually not to start a business when you have a foreigner credit score when you lost your job, and you don't have a car you have no resources like that's probably the worst time to start a business but I was really fed up with my with my job and kind of that state so I just dove into it. And then after about a month or two of you know, difficulty and trying to figure out how to start business that I've never, ever started before it was a very difficult it was during the water crisis in California. Oh, wow. Very, very good time to start a pool servicing business. And then I met an entrepreneur and a high rise building. He's from Persia area like to buy that kind of area. Yeah. And I was just looking for funding and I was like, Hey, I'm starting this amazing business, and I'm looking for an investor. And so from from that thing I went, I was I was actually in a very difficult time. So I was I actually found I was sleeping on my buddy's couch in the big beach in San Diego. And it got so bad where we literally went down alleyways to look for a couch for me to sleep on because my couch was given away to someone else inside of the studio. And luckily we found a nicer couch a little foyer area. And I was literally sleeping on this couch. And and I had $20 to my name and then I know cell phone I couldn't I couldn't afford my cell phone. All I had to me was my bad back. Once I still have I took it to ty Lopez's house. And I sold I sold my laptop. And I pawned it basically for a cell phone. And I reached out to the one rich guy that was from Persia. And I $20 to my name, and we kind of just sat down and told my business ideas. And he was like, great, how much you know, how much do you need to invest in your full servicing company? And it was like, well, this is gonna be great, also my great business plan, but I've already had responses from that, that were not the greatest. So um, then afterwards he after that initial meeting, he was like, have you heard of waterless car washing? And I was like, no. And he said, he washed his entire car without water. And I was like, You can't do that. Like, I grew up on car lots like I grew up washing cars, a lot businesses and they went through a lot of trial and error, but I was like, you have to use water like, spray down with a hose and then right normally, and he was only watching a car with about a cup or two of water. So it was very mineral water. And after kind of talking with him for several different several days, he was convincing me on this whole car washing thing starting helping him grow this business. I was trying to convince him who's servicing business. Yeah. And he said, He's gonna give me funding for three months. So I thought, I'll just do this for a little bit. He's gonna give me funding. I'm not going to be homeless anymore. I'll have something and then from there, we decided to do it. And within two weeks, we landed a high rise building in downtown and we were just every every couple months, we gained a new high rise. That's what I bought it.
That's crazy. That's amazing. Okay, so you said you landed a high rise building? Well, that sounds nice. So explain to me how one lands a high rise building because that that sounds like a pretty good deal.
Yeah, yeah. It's definitely a great deal. And it's really quite simple. People think that it's complicated, and it might seem complicated, but how I did it initially was really quite simple. So when I started didn't have a car I had a 400 credit score, right? I was like sleeping on a couch, you know, like all these barriers. I didn't have a college degree to have anything. So what this guy did was go out of the closet, he gave me a logo, like a shirt with a logo. He gave me a business card, and then some brochures. And I walked into the building, and I said, I asked security, I said, Where's the property manager? And I said, Oh, it's about a third floor. So I go to the third floor, and I just kind of introduce myself and say, Hey, you know, I'm Tom. And what this waterless Car Wash business do you have a few minutes to talk? And she was really nice and gave me a few minutes. And we ended up just talking about whether they had a car wash inside of their building, and she said no, and they were really intrigued about waterless car washing, like how do you wash the car without water? So I did my best to explain it because I surely didn't know. So it was only about two weeks in right. And then she was interested in having us and then about a month later we did our first grand opening. We did a lobby events. We put flyers inside the elevators we had a there was a designated area on the bottom of the parking garage already. Do the detailing. They actually got the previous guy because they were using a bunch of water that's not very eco friendly for a LEED certified very high end, high rise building, you know, multi multi million dollar building. So you have a bunch of water and you'd be messy and you know, all that stuff. So the normal way of washing cars is kind of going away. And they brought us in, and we've literally five years and we've been there every single week for five years.
My gosh. And so how did the numbers work out for washing cars?
So we're a high end car washing service or average wash is $40. So we're definitely we're definitely not the normal car wash or we do phones here exterior on every watch. It's all about convenience, high quality with our clients that are driving BMWs, Mercedes, really, really nice cars. And so that's kind of our demographic, and with being in the buildings that we are that we're at, there are a lot of those people so it works out pretty well for them.
So then, it is this So, the advantage is obviously they don't have to drive to a car wash, they could just there at work the cars, the parking garage, bam, all they know is that, you know, you come by once a month, couple times a month and they just keep a really clean car and it's all taken care of their need to worry about
a monthly club that they can jump on to save money. But every wash we did into your exterior so we're doing the vacuuming we're doing. We're doing basically it's like a mini detail. People call it a little detail of the carpeting, which stays perfect and they come every month to us and so for you know, 30, 40 bucks a month not having a dirty car. You know, it's it's really good. It's, it's something that's great for your brain just to get into something and knowing that it's clean, it's uptight.
So it wasn't enough then to stop there because obviously you had a pretty good book of business incomes rolling in. I would imagine you're probably pretty keen defined move from the couch. Oh yeah.
Yeah, definitely. So what happened was I was working six days a week at my Verizon job, I was making maybe a couple thousand dollars a month. Yeah, it is, is really, really a bad situation. So I went from that to working one day a week making a couple thousand dollars a month at a high rise building. So if you can imagine the contrast there for me, I got all my time back, I was making just as much money. And not only that, but because the service was so enjoyable for that they did the networking in the growth forum, which is very odd for me, because they came to me and said, Hey, I have another building that wants your service. Which is amazing. Okay, imagine just going and I would just go have a go bring coffee to the property management and be nice to them. And then, you know, yeah, I was talking to some other our associates in different buildings. And, you know, we want we want the service of this building. So then we watch that building and then two, three months later, they were like, Hey, you know, we had this has been doing really, really well. We want this service in this building. And so I gained five or six locations within the first year by doing stating one, the service did itself in and you know that like referrals. Word of mouth is the most powerful in business.
Yeah, for sure. So, talk about growth and scale then.
Yeah, so one of the difficulties in business and I'm sure you know, all the listeners and you yourself know that burnout in business is very real. And it's a common thing. And I think every entrepreneur that is successful, will go through this burnout stage. So I'll talk about my burnout specifically. When I was starting, you know, my wife, she just got pregnant, like, literally pregnant right when we got so, so that caused a lot of family struggles for me, you know, like figuring out okay, and I was pregnant. This is very challenging. And then I have a booming business, trying to figure out how to have employees, you know, how to pay employees how to structure everything. This guy gave me a business, literally the same day that he left the country. Right to go back to like I met my wife, right. And then I was running a business and I had really no support at all. So I made a lot of mistakes during the process. And one of the mistakes was just like going the employee model in this business, and hiring Bad, bad people that are not going to get good service having to babysit them. And my growth didn't stop. So, you know, I was having to retrain a new person every three months, you know, how frustrating is every three months? Yeah,
your boy, I would imagine took Tell me about your turnover. I mean,
about three, four months, I would have a new employee come in. Yeah, we work with a useful youth homeless organization that was trying to keep my expenses as low as possible. So I bring these youth homeless kids in and you know, they are obviously not the top notch individuals because they're kind of like going through the same difficulties that a lot of times I went through, yeah, I related to them. But, you know, through that whole experience, I could never really get ahead can ever get locations running by themselves. So because of that, you know, we end up losing locations along the Know you, you grow. And if you're really successful, you keep growing if you don't have a good structure in place and good systems in place, and you end up dropping balls, right, and that can really can kill a business many times if you drop enough balls, so that was what was happening. And in the process of growing and trying to get all these locations stable, I was really trying to figure out how to duplicate myself and get another me into a building that can grow and maintain the building and scale it and make it incredibly successful. And that's when I met Ty Lopez on the beach in La Jolla.
That's amazing. So this was definitely and boy, we're running out of time here. And so let's just sum up, just sum up really quickly, the tai lopez experience and what that did for us. Amazing.
So I met Tai Lopez, and then he recommended the event. The event really showed me how to duplicate my business. Yeah, and showed me how to systematize it all these different things from that point on About years later, I created the partnership program. And the partnership program essentially is taking someone that has no experience in business, no history, no nothing and giving them a successful business model, giving them all the training, everything that they need to run their own locations to run their own successful business from within 30 days. And so what happened was, I was in the process of creating this whole thing after meeting him and reading the email where it talks about, you know, 90% of businesses fail within the first five years, but yeah, 90% of successful franchises succeed, created the whole franchise model. And then we launched it to Tai Lopez's network about years later, and then from there, we expanded throughout the entire nation, and it's been doing really well
so so you have a franchise and your franchise fee is only $1,000. And obviously, you know, if you're investing $1,000 it's still in it. investment for someone who might be just treating this as a side hustle, but what do they get when they invest? $1,000?
Yeah, so one of the biggest barriers to starting a business isn't really a person's drive or ability or talent or any of those things. Really, it's just direction, having a lack of direction, a lack of purpose and where to go. So what we do is we take people that are, you know, maybe just looking to create a passive income or looking to create and activate them, and we help guide them day by day to start a business. So we provide all the tools for BAE Systems, we have an Uber for car wash application that they can use to expand the business. All the all the training associated to get from I have no clue. You know how to run this car wash to in 30 days gaining towers, gaining different high rise buildings and creating stable, consistent, predictable income in their business. And you could do it basically that a passive way or you could activewear basically, if you want to wash the cars or you're just wanting to get people to wash the cars for you,
and how many iSmart Wash, independent professionals have you started?
So we have about 18 and 18. So far this year, and we're continuing to expand. We're, we're, we're waiting more and more every single month
because of Charlotte. Low cost to get it.
Yeah, no kidding. Well, and what a great kind of second stage business for you with this. This is great.
Yeah, no, it's really well, it's really phenomenal because I'm starting to see the same results that I had. When I started the business. When someone starts on board. And within the first couple weeks, they're letting a high rise to see these people and their responses and how excited they are to have a business and to see it be successful, is really the most encouraging part.
Yeah. Well, Tom Rogers, you're the founder of iSmart Wash, and you're on the web at iSmartWash.com How does well I guess look at this right here, you can click right at the top, it says become a partner. And that's how they kind of get into that that environment right there. I so kind of looking at the service now I'm like, Well, I'm in. I'm in East Orlando. Yeah. I wonder if I have a service provider in my area? And if not, we will in an East Orlando get on this. Come on. This is a great business.
We have we're just starting into 2020. We're going to be in Florida. We do. We are interested in expanding there. So if there's anyone in that area that wants to grow it out, and you could take care of Josh thus far.
Yeah. I love free car washes.
Thank you Good actions.
Tom Rogers, thank you so much. Again, iSmartWash.com. Thank you for joining us.
Yeah, thank you so much.
Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit UpMyInfluence.com/guest that we've got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or postit on the socials. If you do that tag us with the hashtag UpMyInfluence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media. Now what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now. Can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now. Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. While you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow? That's right. seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing at UpMyInfluence.com. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.