These two businessmen are cleaning up
Clean Guys laundry service, founded by two Sellinger students, is thriving
December 4, 2012
It didn’t take Davis Butts, ’13, long to realize he didn’t enjoy doing laundry on campus.
“You would put something in the washer, and go back, and it’s just lying on the table, wet,” he said.
When Butts visited a friend at the University of Massachusetts and learned they had a laundry service for students, he decided he wanted to start one at Loyola. But he needed a business partner to help him.
At the beginning of his sophomore year, he was sharing the idea with a friend, who was rooming with Adam Angibeau, ’13, when Angibeau overheard the conversation.
“My roommate shot it down,” said Angibeau, a Waterbury, Conn., resident who transferred to Loyola for his sophomore year, partly because he wanted to study at Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business and Management. “I was a new kid, and Davis seemed like a pretty good guy and pretty smart.”
Butts, a business major, and Angibeau, a finance major, spent five months creating their business plan and figuring out details such as getting insured and how they would market the business. Along the way, they met with some of their Sellinger professors, and discussed their plan with Loyola administrators.
That spring, the business partners picked a business name and launched Clean Guys, using a logo Butts’ twin sister, a graphic design major at Sacred Heart University, created. Since then, the business has handled between 15,000 and 17,000 pounds of laundry, become a campus vendor, and started serving students beyond Loyola—at Towson University, Goucher University, and Johns Hopkins University.
Butts picks up the laundry at each customer’s residence hall room on Sundays between 4 and 6 p.m., and takes it to have it cleaned at an off-site Laundromat. Then Angibeau returns the laundry to the student’s room on Mondays between 4 and 6 p.m.
Last spring Clean Guys had to hire its first part-time employee. Angibeau was studying abroad in Australia and Butts, a member of the 2012 NCAA Division I Championship Men’s Lacrosse Team, was busy with lacrosse season.
“Obviously lacrosse led my path to Loyola,” said Butts, who liked the University’s feel. “Smaller schools are better. Bigger schools you can get lost.”
Butts and Angibeau are certainly not lost. They are business owners with full course loads and internships—and plans to continue as owners of Clean Guys after they graduate in May.
Because Angibeau has accepted a job as an operations analyst for Morgan Stanley in Baltimore, he will be living in the area. He and Butts are working out details to hire a student employee to operate the business on campus.
“We know we have to keep it going because it has been so successful,” Angibeau said.
They would like to see the business continue to grow, but they are pleased with how quickly the concept took off at Loyola.
How It Works
Most Clean Guys customers are first-year students and sophomores, who pay between $200 and $400 for a semester plan—which can be paid for using a student’s Evergreen card. When Clean Guys started, most of its customers were women. Now more are men, and the women who use it tend to be juniors and seniors, while the men are first-year students and sophomores.
And you don’t have to be a student to use the service. When a Campus Safety officer asked the Clean Guys owners if they would do some of his laundry, they signed him up.
“It’s actually cheaper than if you took it to a laundry place yourself,” said Butts, a Walpole, Mass., resident.
When Clean Guys saw a demand for dry cleaning services—with a quick turnaround at times in the semester when students are gearing up for formal events on campus—the business started offering next-day dry cleaning, as well.
It’s just another way for their laundry service to meet a need—and perhaps even learn something along the way.
“You can do a project in class, but you don’t actually play with real money,” Butts said. “We’re doing real-life marketing: How do you actually get people to sign up?”
When Butts told his parents he wanted to start a business, they supported him wholeheartedly. His father started a painting company when he was a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. And Butts has found that running a real business adds some excitement to his life.
“It’s not quite a rush, but the risk that’s involved makes it interesting.”