I've just recently added a coin-op washer and dryer to a 4 unit. The first month went well, and being a little OCD, I counted the coins in each box. The usage of the two machines matched 100%.
I just emptied out month 2's bins, and found that the coins in the washer represented only 1/10 of the usage of what was found in the dryer. The usage of the dryer was on pace with what was used last week, but the washer was used far less.
Inherently, this doesn't seem probable. There was no sign that the machine had been tampered with or jimmied open... and if it were, why wouldn't they have taken from both machines? I can's imagine a situation where all 4 tenants have elected to hand wash their clothes and use the dryer (there is no utility sink in the laundry room).
Can you think of any reasons why the dryer would be used that much more/washer used that much less?... or am I just being naïve, and somebody figured out a way into the cashbox.
Maybe they got into the washer's cash box and cleaned it out, then someone came in to use the machines, interrupting them before they got into the dryer's. So the thief slips away, and someone uses both machines. That would explain why there were a few coins in the washer and 10x as many in the dryer.
@Britt Abbey perhaps the dryer is not functioning properly and so has to be used 10x more than washer. Not likely.
Maybe some of the tenant acquired their own washers and are using them for cleaning but your dryer for drying.
Get a security camera and mount it in the area and post signs saying the same. See what next month looks like.
Do people other than tenants in the building have access to the area? You might have someone coming in from the outside and drying cloths because they have an in unit washer that is free.
Maybe they are like me and hate ironing clothes, so they throw them in the dryer for a few minutes haha.
Well, you can buy little portable washing machines that hook up to your sink- not unlike those freestanding dishwashers. It's possible that your tenants are using something like that and then bringing the stuff down to dry it. Or someone went camping and got rained out and had to put everything in the dryer when they got home.
There are some really cheap motion sensing cameras these days- it might be worth setting that up. But if it's just this one week you might wait and see how it goes for the next week or two.
Jean Bolger, 33 Zen Lane | http://www.solidrealestateadvice.com
Thanks for the possible scenarios... I've been in each unit within the last week so we can rule out the portable washing machine.
After hunting season (insert "you might be a redneck" joke here), I'll move one of my trail cameras into the laundry if the problem persists. I guess my only other option is to add padlocks onto the cash boxes on top of the regular keyed entry.
I was told by a friend that his dad who runs an appliance business has "keys to every type of washer/dryer coin box". Meaning the keys were generic to each unit and could be stolen without sign of breaking in. This could be occurring in your case, or not.
I've never been to a pay laundry that didn't take twice as much drying as washing but not 10 times. Blankets and quilts people might dry but not wash in your machine (take them somewhere and think they are dry and have to throw them in again when they get home). The other thing I can think of that they can do is use those in the dryer dry cleaning kits but not sure if you have the kind of tenants that might do that either with work clothes or drapes. That would explain more drying then washing.
Britt, I've had coin operated washers and dryers in my rental complex for 8 years and they are very easy to cheat the mechanism with a common household item. I will not explain here but I can email the details, if you would like to know. Is the washer price set higher then the local laundromat and are the dryers priced lower? I'm often surprised by the things tenants due to save a quarter.
@Scott C. I'm curious if you'd feel comfortable PMing me how your tenants do it and if there's simple deterrents. My parents are considering coin-op units at their rentals and I would love to spare them some headache.
The washer is priced higher than the dryer by 0.50$, but still both are lower than the local laundromat. Why cheat one machine but not the other? Both upset the same mechanisms (same brand, matching models).
The camera option may be the best bet. It may also deter other bad behavior.
@Scott C. PM me that info also. We have a coin op laundry in the basement of our apartment building. I don't count the quarters, but the overall monthly dollar volume seems to fluctuate quite a bit.
Faith in humanity temporarily restored...
Faith in Whirlpool appliances at a new low.It turns out the machine was allowing free washes, and with a replacement part should be back up and running. Unfortunately, even though it's only been used for 2 months, the warranty has already expired (90 days for commercial appliances).
Can you PM the tricks they can do?
I found some nickles instead of quarters inside of the coin box today.
You must be a BiggerPockets member to post on the forums
Join the world's largest, most open Real Estate Investing Community online, 100% free forever!