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Name: Sam Binns 

Name of Business: The Ironing Man 

What does your business do? Laundry, Dry Cleaning and Ironing 


Please provide a short summary of where you went to school and what jobs you did before setting up your business 

I went to Hurworth Secondary School and Queen Elizabeth Sixth form college. I have never been the most academic or intelligent in school, however I learnt a lot which started me on journey to running my own business. I chose Business Studies at GCSE and A- level as an option and it is where I learned the basics of setting up and running a business. Whilst in college I worked in retail and we were paid on commission, I learned basic sales techniques which I’ve further developed and is one of my strongest skills. After college along with my job in retail I also became a bar tender, regular face to face interactions with customers allowed me to unlock some useful customer service experience which is another very useful string to my bow.  

I found part time jobs really helped me on my path to success, not everyone is the most academic in school and your intelligence doesn’t define you. School and college helped me develop many good social skills and learn what I was really interested in but working in different enviroments opened me up to what I was really good at.  

What inspired you to set up your own business? 

My first business I didn’t set up myself, I purchased. I was working in the bar at 18 and I was looking for a car so I didn’t have to get the bus. On viewing and test driving a car I had a small feeling something wasn’t right and I didn’t want it, but I also didn’t want to keep getting the bus. I decided to leave it for a couple days and have a think. I decided I didn’t want a car, I wanted a van. I knew a van was an investment, cars loose value very quickly and a van is a way of making money.  

A friend of a friend had a van for sale which included a very small ironing business with 1 member of staff, Ironing around 50kg of laundry a week. I decided to buy it! 8 years later we have 11 members of staff and are doing 800kg of ironing a week now with lots of other exciting contracts too.  

Although my story wasn’t based on inspiration, my work ethic was installed by my single mother who raised me alone and still inspires me to this day.  

What do you enjoy most about running your own business and what don’t you enjoy? 

Running your own business is the hardest but most rewarding lifestyle you can have. The hardest part is when you come home from your day at work you don’t drop anything, you can’t clock out like a normal job and you will bring work problems home with you. This can mean many sleepless nights thinking about work. It takes really hard work, determination and concentration.  

However because of all this hard work and everything you put in, any sign of success, small steps forward feel so good. Take everything you can as a small win and eventually the work pays off. You are in charge of your own freedom and that allows you to live your life in a healthy balance with work and personal things.

What are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? 

Trust – trust your staff, the people around you, customers and everyone you meet. Its hard to make it alone without them people. 

Honesty – never lie, be honest with everyone and whatever decision you make for a good reason that might upset people if you are honest they can see your reasoning. 

Consistency – turn up every day, its not easy to make a living on your own, but repeating business and turning up is 90% of the battle. 

What advice would you give young people who are thinking of setting up their own business? 

Do it! Make the first steps, book that course! Design that logo! Order the stock! Invest time and what you can into it, back yourself and enjoy the journey.