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September 21, 2014

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Hooked on entrepreneurship

Owner-operator of dry-cleaning service finally has his piece of the pie

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Leila Navidi

Jerry Anderson, 51, gave up his job as a plumbing supply salesman to open his own business — he’ll come to your workplace and pick up your clothing for dry cleaning.

Who among us hasn’t fantasized about stuffing our company jobs in favor of entrepreneurial independence, the opportunity to be your own boss, limited only by your own energy and smarts?

Jerry Anderson took the plunge. When he stopped enjoying the sales desk of a plumbing supply warehouse, he went shopping on the Internet for small-business opportunities.

Anderson considered getting into the sandwich shop business, but investing in those brand names was too expensive, not even counting the cost of kitchen equipment and marketing support. He also thought the business would require too much time.

Then he found what looked like the perfect business. He would take people to the cleaners. Or, at least, their clothes.

With the blessing of his wife, Liliana, Anderson invested $24,900 for a small-business franchise in which he goes into workplaces and picks up employees’ laundry for dry cleaning.

He started it 15 months ago and so far, so good. He has recovered his initial investment, is now paying just 6 percent in royalties to the company, and says that without even working full time, he’s making about three-quarters of the income he made as a plumbing supplies salesman. If he gets more customers to fill his day, he says, he’ll be making more money than he did at his sales job.

Anderson, 51, estimates that about 25 percent of the businesses he approaches agree to let him pick up workers’ dry cleaning.

It’s a one-man business, which can prove troublesome when he’s sick and can’t get out. That’s only happened once. He enlisted his teenage son to help with the route that day.

Some other business opportunities caught his eye, Anderson said. But one held no attraction for him.

“You could do it from your home or from your garage. You’d be in the business of sharpening and repairing and cleaning dental tools.”

BzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

He passed. “I don’t even like going to the dentist.”

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