Sean O’Byrne runs an executive search firm and a laundry

USA, February 9, 2014 - While the businesses might seem like an odd pair, it makes sense for O’Byrne, whose family has been in the laundry business since the 1980s. Also, a laundry is a fairly recession-proof business that offers about a 30 percent annual return on the investment, according to industry figures. O’Byrne converted a former car wash in Milwaukee into a 2,400-square-foot self-serve laundry with more than 50 Speed Queen machines.

The Suds Your Duds laundry has a wireless control system that allows O’Byrne to monitor the machines’ usage and cash flow via the Internet. He also can keep an eye on the premises with a video camera and his laptop computer. “Generally speaking, the problems are small, like a coin jam or a water heater not firing but every once in a while you’re going to get some knuckleheads who aren’t there for the right reasons,” O’Byrne said of running a laundry. He is the type of owner that Speed Queen, based in Ripon, Wis., wants to attract: an experienced businessperson who pays attention to the day-to-day operations of the laundry, even if it’s not staffed much of the week and the business isn’t his primary occupation. “You can’t just turn the lights on, go away and expect to make money,” said Dan Bowe, national sales manager for Speed Queen. Read more here

Sean O'Byrne uses the coin laundry's management system that controls all the washing machines and dryer, Jan. 29, 2014 at his laundromat, Suds Your Duds in Milwaukee, Wis. O'Byrne runs an executive search firm and, on the side, he runs the laundromat. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)  

Photo's: Mark Hoffman