4 Successful Strategies for Laundry Rooms
With the housing market on fire these days, homeowners are taking advantage of the seller’s market and moving into rentals. And, while some property amenities including pools and gyms are nice to have and may be used by some residents, there is one amenity that is an absolute necessity that will be used by ALL residents… the laundry room.
When people think of public laundry rooms, visions of dark basements and out-of-the-way rooms come to mind. And they don’t make people feel safe. Clearly, that’s not what you want.
You want to create a laundry facility that’s worth bragging about! Done well, your building’s laundry room is not only an amenity that will attract new residents to your property, but it will be a steady income stream for you… with very little effort on your part.
How can you get the most out of your laundry room? Read on.
#1 - Design a Space That’s Functional, Bright and Inviting
Typically laundry rooms don’t get the same care and attention in their design as other common areas might in an apartment building might. Yet, the laundry room gets the most usage by tenants.
Whether you’re remodeling an existing laundry room or creating a new one, there are some important factors to consider, as you design and plan.
• Follow local fire and safety codes - Dryers should be on outside walls for most efficient venting.
• Improve flow - Cluster or bank washers and dryers to maximize floor space
• Provide folding areas - Depending on how many units are in the building, one or more clothes folding areas are needed.
• Add a utility sink - Advise residents to pre-rinse heavily soiled items before placing them in the washing machine.
• Keep it uncluttered - Machines should be easy to walk around, with enough clearance for service techs to access easily.
• Install good lighting - Especially important for basement laundry rooms with no natural light and for those tenants who do their laundry in the evening hours.
- Keep it clean! Of course, it’s critically important that the laundry room stay tidy. Spills happen. Sweep, mop and wipe machines and all surfaces regularly.
#2 - Provide a Laundry Room That’s Clean and Safe
As we mentioned above, having a laundry room could turn into a nice revenue stream for your building’s management company. But, in order for that to happen, your residents need to choose your laundry room to do their wash, rather than opting for the laundromat down the street. How can you keep them on property and using your laundry facilities? Here are a few tips.
• Secure your laundry room - Make sure the space is accessible only to residents by installing key code or some other electronic security device to gain entry.
• Install a Panic Button or Emergency Call Box - If your laundry room is in a basement location, cellular service may be compromised. Be sure to have some way for residents to sound the alarm, should there be an emergency situation.
• Clean, clean, clean - It bears repeating! Depending on traffic, your maintenance crew should service the laundry area at least once or twice a day, and maybe even more often on weekends, when the laundry room gets more use.
• Use glass or clear plexiglass wall panels - Design the space to maximize visibility and increase safety. Don’t provide a way for people to lurk about.
• Provide disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer - Use signage to encourage residents to wipe machine surfaces that they touch, before and after use, as they would with gym equipment.
#3 - Choose High-End, Energy-Efficient Washers and Dryers
When it comes down to it, after security, the most important feature of your laundry room is your equipment. Tenants want washers and dryers that are easy to use, effective and efficient. No one wants to pay for a second dryer cycle because their clothes are still damp!
It’s decision time: Should you lease or purchase your washers and dryers? It may seem like buying new machines is the smarter decision, with the expectation that new machines will need little attention as far as repairs and maintenance go. However, it’s important to understand that warranties for new washers and dryers typically only cover parts, not labor. Therefore, if something breaks, you will still need to pay someone to do the repair. If your maintenance crew can do this, you are golden!
Many property managers find that leasing washers and dryers and retaining the services of a route operator, is the smarter financial decision. Once you consider the hidden costs of ownership, like depreciation, wear-and-tear and maintenance and repairs, leasing makes a lot of sense.
Now that you’ve made the decision to buy or lease, what should you look for in your equipment?
Buying Equipment for Your Laundry Room: Washers & Dryers
• Look for ENERGY-STAR-certified machines to keep your water and electricity costs as low as possible.
• Choose commercial models from name brands like Speed Queen, Maytag and Whirlpool because these models are designed for heavy use.
• Select a variety of washers with different capacities; your residents might need to wash a blanket or comforter, from time to time.
• Consider high-efficiency washers that use less water during the cycle and extract more water from clothes. This shortens drying time.
• Provide an adequate number of washers and dryers for the number of units/residents in your building. Generally speaking, one washer and dryer for every 10 units is a good starting point.
#4 - Make money with coinless operators
We’ve mentioned making a side stream of income in this article. You can easily make extra cash by installing the cashless ShinePay payment system to each washer and dryer. Note that we have no affiliate with ShinePay but love their model.
The process is quite simple. Your residents download the free ShinePay app onto their smartphones and register their account with a credit card of their choice. On laundry day, rather than having to search for change, the resident simply opens the ShinePay app on their phone, scans the QR code on the machine, and the cycle starts!
ShinePay is a win-win-win for landlords and residents.
Win No. 1: No collecting quarters for wash day. Who carries change these days anyway?
Win No. 2: You or your maintenance crew doesn’t ever have to deal with jammed coin boxes.
Win No 3: A cashless laundry room doesn’t offer anything for would-be thieves, making it much safer for residents!
And, here is an extra win for you: You download ShinePay and have 24/7 access to the dashboard where you can virtually “collect” payments and deposit into your own accounts (to pay for electricity and water and to make some extra money!).
Providing a safe, clean and efficient laundry room for your residents is smart business. Your investment today in a well-equipped laundry room means happy tenants and, thanks to coinless operators, considerable income for years to come.