When you look at the success of people who are well-known in their industry, it’s easy to believe that they knew their path from an early age.
Actually, most people who find success in their respective fields happened upon it by accident, then found a niche and stayed the course. Daniel Cruz, CEO of Washbnb is no exception to this.
Washbnb is a wash and laundry service for Airbnb hosts who find themselves overloaded by too many guests and the laundry demands that come with it. On the surface, the idea seems obvious but Daniel Cruz found that there was nothing like it out there.
After a winding path and much trial and error, Daniel Cruz is finally on his way to startup success.
Like many others, Daniel found his way into the hospitality industry through chance. At one time, he was an unlikely candidate for a business like Washbnb.
Growing up, Daniel was shy despite playing quarterback for his high school football team. Eventually, he got pulled out of his shell by serving tables at a restaurant and small-talking with the restaurant’s various customers. He saw the impact of communication on his daily earnings and it’s a lesson that ended up sticking with him throughout his career.
The importance of personableness in business was further reinforced to him by reading Daniel Meyer’s compelling book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.
At the time, Cruz was working for a beer distributor and approached his company to implement the principles in the book. They declined.
Not too long after, he found his way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and decided to rent out his place in San Francisco on Airbnb because he wasn’t living there full-time. In his first year, he made over $100,000 in revenue. A practical way to save money turned into a lucrative stream of income.
Tied by a Common Problem
While Daniel may have had uncommon income, he had a common problem: doing massive volumes of laundry produced by his short-term rental unit. “I was doing it in unit and trying to keep up...but your home washing machine isn’t meant to do that”, Daniel says.
Quickly, his side hustle became another job just because of the sheer volume of laundry he was doing on a daily basis.
After looking high and low for answers, Daniel found none that satisfied him. After linking up with owners who had the same pains, he decided to create Washbnb...a couple of weeks before the pandemic hit the United States.
Pivoting during COVID to cater to people who couldn’t go to the laundromat themselves, Daniel’s ingenuity pushed Washbnb through the early days of the pandemic up until the reopening of short-term rentals in late July/early August 2020.
Bringing Value to Everyone, All the Time
Daniel emphasizes the spirit of hospitality throughout every touchpoint of Washbnb. Using Setting the Table as a model, Daniel views hospitality as extending to all stakeholders that interact with the company. Washbnb’s stakeholders are its employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. Virtually everyone who interacts with the product at some level is a stakeholder. Therefore, Washbnb feels a huge responsibility to deliver tangible value to everyone at all interaction points.
Daniel states: “there’s always going to be a need for a physical space. Washbnb is our ability to access those physical spaces, it’s our big opportunity...whatever Washbnb becomes people will be a meaningful part of that and people deliver hospitality”.
By focusing on long-term value and the importance of getting everyone involved, Washbnb is quickly on its way to becoming a staple in the short-term rental industry. Summing it up, Daniel says: “there are all these things we can help our customers do better. To me, that’s the spirit of hospitality and what we want to do as a company.”