Should I install a coin-operated washer-dryer in 2-family?

22 Replies

Hi all,

I’m currently in contract for a 2-family in Jersey City (newly renovated in B/C area). There are no washer/dryer in either unit, and the closest laundromat is 0.5 miles away. I’m considering installing a set of coin-operated washer/dryer machines in the basement common area, 1) to make the units more appealing to renters, and 2) to make a tiny little bit of side money from the machines. Do you think the machines would be a worthwhile investment?

@Monica Chan if the 2 unit is in a nicer area you might just install laundry machines, not coin operated ones. My experience thus far with coin operated machines is that they are very expensive up front, and break down at a similar rate as other machines. I can buy a used washer or dryer for $100-150, but a coin operated machine costs $300-400 used. I have machines in my Berwyn 9 unit, and we only bring in around $150 per month. I also have machines in a C class 20 unit building, and we bring in a measly $120 per month. I do not consider this worth the effort to upkeep the laundry machines!

@Monica Chan I would definitely advise against installing coin operated laundry. You won't make any money to justify the cost of install, upkeep, etc. When you run the numbers on this you will come to the same conclusion.

I would just put 2 w/d hookups in the basement and let the tenants decide if they want to install their own.

@Monica Chan I don’t think coin operated is the way to go on 2 unit building. I would just buy a regular set and offer it to the tenants as an amenity. If it helps you get rented faster or for your asking price you’ll recoup your investment a lot faster than by trying to do so one quarter at a time.
Originally posted by @John Warren :

@Monica Chan if the 2 unit is in a nicer area you might just install laundry machines, not coin operated ones. My experience thus far with coin operated machines is that they are very expensive up front, and break down at a similar rate as other machines. I can buy a used washer or dryer for $100-150, but a coin operated machine costs $300-400 used. I have machines in my Berwyn 9 unit, and we only bring in around $150 per month. I also have machines in a C class 20 unit building, and we bring in a measly $120 per month. I do not consider this worth the effort to upkeep the laundry machines!

 Are there not companies that install the washers and just get a percentage of the profits

Hi Monica, 

You may want to just buy a used set either for each unit or install in a common area in the basement.  The cost of coin operated laundry and the time to go and collect the funds would outweigh the benefit IMO.  If you have onsite laundry for the tenants its a way to increase the monthly rent you are charging or added value to entice a tenant to stay long term.

Depends on your utilities. If your water is municipal and expensive then go coin op. They will appreciate the feature and you won't have to worry about outside laundry and you'll have a little coin to offset. You will never make a profit but you will provide an amenity to them. If you think it will not have a significant affect on your utilities then install free machines.

My tenants in a nice neighborhood love our new laundry room and they don't bat an eye at $2 a wash and $2 a dry. I think too many of us landlords see things through our optics- coin-op is a great thing for tenants.

On vacancy think about doing en suite and jacking the rent.

Have you priced the coin op that is .5 miles away?  When my washer broke, and I had to hit a laundromat until I could buy new, it was $4-6 a wash load and that nonsense of .25 cents for a dryer, if you look, gets you 7 minutes.  I felt like it was highway robbery.  Look to see if you can make the numbers work, for less than the laundromat.  

I own a laundry mat and I can double what others are saying
They cost a lot
Your return will be horrible
They may work great for a year or so then you’ll have problems just from wear and tear
In a 2 family that they are renting you should just put them there to get people to rent your place maybe even a little more because you have them.

@Monica Chan You won't make side money , but you will gain a headache. What can u buy a coin op laundry setup for? Around me its $1k. Or I can just buy a cheap combo for $300 and have happy tenants. But it's based of your area, and I'd say I have property's in the nicer areas of town. So the added expense to me is worth having happy tenants that want to stay where they are.

I have had some success with providing a washer and dryer for a flat monthly fee in one of my duplexes. It is something I will offer to good tenants as an added amenity and to make a little extra money at the same time.

I have one unit that I installed a used set of machines for a cost of $250 for the set and have been collecting $36/month for the last 15 months. $540 collected so far has paid for the machines and added a few extra dollars to my cash flow.

I have considered offering a similar arrangement for window AC units but doubt it would be worthwhile due to the seasonal nature and added labor cost for installation and removal each year.

I think that offering a washer and dryer is a nice amenity and can make a little money in the right situation (either from a laundry fee or as additional rent) but I doubt that the added cost and maintenance of coin operated machines would make it worthwhile in a 2 unit building. I consider it more of an amenity than an income generator.

I charge $36/month and I am in an inexpensive market. Im sure your market would tolerate a higher charge. They are regular machines and the water cost  is negligible for me. If you decide to try it, I recommend getting inexpensive machines that are in decent shape. Any potential profit will be killed if you have to replace a machine within the first couple years.

You may want to ask the coin operated laundry machine provider if they offer a revenue share agreement, granted for a two family it wouldn't be a lot, but it could help drive down the up front cost. Just a thought as we do this with our large development projects.

I just purchased 86 doors... mostly multi units. Some of the triplexes and 4plexes just have washers and dryers provided. The units with 13 to 15 apartments have coin operated washer and dryers in less than 1 month of owning them 2 units have had their washer broken into 2x.... I'm done. I am not a laundromat. I dont have time to collect $130 in laundry money a month and have my water bill increase and have to pay for breakdowns. I want to collect thousands in rents I have thought about renting washer and dryers in my single family dwellings to tenants. Same with air units.

@Monica Chan as others have said, they can be expensive to repair. We purchased a 9 unit in Berwyn near where I live last year. My partner and I opted to go with used machines to avoid the initial capital outlay for 2 washers and 2 dryers. We are now having to replace a motor on one of them within the first 18 months of ownership. The motor is $275 and then we need to pay labor. 

I also purchased used machines for my 20 unit at the same time. Within the first year of ownership we had to do a major repair on one of the dryers which cost as much as the dryer had been worth ($300). 

The issue with coin operated machines is you are way over paying for the functionality of the coin setup. A used washer or dryer can be had for so little. If one of them dies, you can literally have a used appliance guy get you a gently used machine for less than a repair. 

When you offer coin-op laundry, you will not only make money on the coins but also save water because tenants won't waste as much.  I've had tenants who would wash a "load" of one outfit.   I have 4 buildings with coin-op laundry.  Yes, we regularly have to replace parts and get a few extra service calls when they do silly things like unplug it before the cycle ends or use foreign coins, but have only had to replace one machine in the last 10 years.