The Pros & Cons of Offering On-Site Laundry Facilities
Apartment building owners will inevitably need to answer the question: “Do I offer on-site laundry facilities?”
There are many pros and cons to providing apartment laundry facilities on site, but how can you be sure that you’re making the right choice for your tenants… and your profits? Providing on-site laundry facilities can be a huge perk for renters. It’s an attractive amenity that makes your apartments more desirable to potential renters, saving them time and money while providing convenience.
The costs associated with on-site laundry facilities can be built into the pricing structure for monthly rent, allowing you to help offset the expenses of on-site laundry facilities. Unfortunately, offering on-site laundry also means extra work for cleaning and maintenance personnel, landlords, and building managers.
Not offering on-site laundry facilities might save you a few maintenance and upkeep headaches, but your apartment building(s) are going to be overlooked by renters who want this amenity—which includes a lot of people. It also makes it harder to justify higher rent, and value-focused renters who are looking for the cheapest rental fees may not be the audience you’re after.
If you’re planning to build or update your apartment building site(s), offering on-site laundry facilities should be considered.
If you are considering investing in on-site communal laundry facilities, then you should recognize that the main benefits are:
- Your apartments become much more attractive to (most) potential renters.
- You will be able to charge a premium for rent.
- The added convenience helps encourage renters to become long-term renters.
Offering on-site laundry facilities is considered a perk, and it is of great value to any and all potential tenants. Not many people actually want to go to a laundromat—it’s costly, requires a large time commitment, and forces people to haul their dirty (and heavy!) laundry to and from the house. It’s simply not convenient and given the choice, most would choose an on-site laundry option, if available.
On the other hand, if you do offer an on-site option, it demands a monetary investment. Making sure you have the space, maintenance and regular service of your machines, establishing and enforcing a code of conduct and machine operation, as well as making sure your tenants adhere to your rules, are among a few concerns.
Regardless of what direction you choose to go, it’s important to make an informed decision based on accurate information to help you decide if the benefits are worth investing in on-site laundry upgrades, or if the challenges simply don’t make sense.
If you already have on-site laundry facilities, here’s what you should know to make communal laundry work. And if you don’t offer apartment laundry facilities, here’s what you should consider moving forward.
To Offer or Not to Offer—The Pros and Cons of On-Site Laundry Facilities
On-site laundry facilities are a great feature to offer. It provides renters with convenience, ease of access, and saves them a significant amount of time. For many renters, they won’t even consider living in a building that doesn’t offer some form of laundry solution.
However, offering apartment laundry facilities has its associated challenges. Do you offer in-unit machines or just the hook-ups? Do you have space for a common area laundry room and if not, are you able to find or create the space? How are you offsetting the costs of cleaning, machine maintenance, energy, and water usage, and how much of this are your tenants responsible for? How do you even enforce a code of conduct that will ensure a longer life for your machines while keeping your costs down?
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of providing on-site laundry facilities.
PROS — Community Laundry Room
Providing a shared common area laundry room is a great solution for multi-unit apartment buildings. In many cases, one communal laundry room per building is enough, but for bigger apartment buildings and apartment communities, you may need more than one laundry room.
Maybe you want a separate, dedicated building located in a high-traffic area that is easily accessible by all your residents. Perhaps your on-site laundry facility is next to the workout center, or on the way to the pool. Clever owners can even advertise and promote the relationship between their on-site laundry facilities and gym as an excellent incentive for residents to establish a routine of exercise while waiting for their laundry!
Wherever your on-site laundry facility is located, keep in mind that this area also becomes a social setting, where neighbors become acquainted and foster a sense of community. New and long-term renters can easily get to know their neighbors while crossing paths in the laundry room. For those new to a city, the apartment laundry facilities can be an excellent way to meet other people and learn more about their new hometown.
On-site laundry facilities tend to cost less than individual in-unit laundry solutions, simply because they require less machines. A handful of laundry machines can be far more efficient than private machines in every unit when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and energy and water consumption.
If you go the route of coin-operated machines, your on-site laundry facilities become a source of passive income that can not only cover all upkeep and maintenance costs but may also be a significant revenue stream.
CONS — Community Laundry Room
If you don’t already have an on-site laundry facility, your initial startup costs can be significant. This decision is a long-term investment, so you’ll want to be sure that you’ve considered all of the costs associated and be sure to adjust your rental and property management fees accordingly.
It should come as no surprise that these communal laundry machines will see frequent usage, therefore requiring frequent and regular maintenance.
These community spaces will also need to be cleaned regularly. Your residents will only go so far when it comes to cleaning up after themselves, and in a room that sees a lot of liquid detergent usage, spills are bound to happen. Floors, walls, tabletops, and other surfaces—including the machines themselves—will demand regular attention. This means that cleaning the room is ultimately up to your cleaning service and/or staff.
Additionally, you will need to establish a code of conduct for your residents and be sure that your property managers regularly monitor the laundry room. Ensuring that your residents are sharing the space responsibly and considerately is a critical component to providing a clean, safe, and friendly environment that can be comfortably used by all your tenants.
PROS — In-Unit Laundry
Perhaps the biggest benefit of offering in-unit laundry solutions is the privacy and supreme convenience it provides your tenants. This is a major perk to potential renters and can help justify charging a premium in rent due to this in-unit amenity.
In-unit machines (or in-unit hookups) are considered a luxury feature and will attract renters who can afford to pay for premium features. This can help you to both advertise and attract the kind of potential tenants you may be seeking to rent to. High-end luxury apartments will almost certainly offer in-unit laundry solutions.
In-unit machines will receive far less use than those in communal areas, thus, maintenance and upkeep costs will be lower than with on-site community laundry facilities. Tenants will also not have to pay extra (as with coin-operated machines) to use their in-unit laundry machines. This can significantly increase your apartment building’s property value, as this feature is a highly prized amenity.
Ultimately, offering in-unit laundry solutions is a great feature for your tenants and potential renters, but it also demands more from your property and building management teams.
CONS— In-Unit Laundry
Offering in-unit laundry solutions is an awesome feature but may also be considered as unnecessary—even prohibitive—to many potential renters, therefore leading to longer vacancies and fewer tenants overall.
This can be especially true if you don’t provide in-unit machines but instead, offer in-unit laundry hookups. There are many renters who don’t own their own laundry machines, and those who do may not have the same type of unit hook up cables/adapters. This means that for every renter who brings in their own machine, you’re likely to be calling a local service provider, plumber, and/or electrician to get their machines online.
Speaking of water and electric, there will be far more building maintenance required when each individual unit has its own laundry machines. Hot water heaters will be used far more frequently and for longer durations than in buildings that don’t offer in-unit laundry solutions. This creates a unique challenge that should be discussed with water heating professionals.
By offering a communal, on-site laundry facility, you can invest in industrial grade hot water solutions that are designed for heavy laundry use. But if you instead offer in-unit laundry solutions, you won’t have the same access to the convenience of industrial grade water heating solutions, and ultimately, you’ll end up spending more.
The Best of Both?
If you offer either on-site laundry facilities or in-unit laundry solutions, you may also want to consider renting your water heating equipment. You already have a relationship established with your professional water heating equipment service provider and renting instead of buying carries significant benefits with it.
Renting your equipment will help to keep your maintenance and service costs steady, while ensuring that your machines are regularly—and accurately—serviced. Units that need replacing are quickly identified and replaced with little downtime, greatly reducing stress on your tenants and property managers.
No matter what you decide, offering on-site laundry facilities is an excellent decision and a great way to attract and keep reliable tenants. You can help to build a friendly apartment community, increase property value, and generate an additional stream of passive income.
If you want to learn more about on-site laundry facilities, hot water equipment solutions, or get more useful tips and ideas for your apartment building management success, see what Reliable Water Services can do for your properties!
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