Open Forum

Apartment Laudromat Route

  • 1.  Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-04-2019 13:42
    My laundromat is surrounded by apartments.  They are my biggest competition, not the nearby laundromats.  Managing the laundry rooms in apartments seems like a logical growth strategy for my business.  I've run some number in my head and it appears to very profitable.

    Are any of you guys managing the laundry rooms in nearby apartments?  If so, can you share your experiences? 

    I talked to two friends who live in apartments.  One said that the landlord removed the laundry equipment from the laundry room so now everyone must visit a laundromat.  The other said that the laundry room was so filthy that he dreaded doing his laundry there. He did nevertheless.

    If the above stories are typical, it seems like a successful laundromat owner who knows how to keep machines working and a laundry room clean would be able to expand his business.

    Thank you,

    Joe C.
    Store Owner
    Happy Bubbles Laundromat
    North Hollywood, CA

  • 2.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-04-2019 15:34
    Unfortunately the route operators (folks who put washers in apartments) are the rich Uncles of the laundry business. They pay considerable upfront fees for apartment owners to sign long term contracts on the profitable locations. Average price was $100.00 per apartment paid upfront per apartment door in my days as a small route operator.

    Route operators are skilled and knowledgeable owners with attorneys always available. Contracts are solid and often automatically renew. In the old days they had to buy their washers from distributors, but now they buy at factory direct prices and frequently prices lower than Laundromat distributors pay.

    Problems you will face include:
    1) Cost of the new equipment often demanded by the apartment owners before agreeing to a contract.
    2) Upfront fees to pay to the apartment owners.
    3) Immediate repair capability often demanded and provided by route operators.
    4) Obtaining an insurance policy for protection against liability claims. Not a normal policy offered by many insurance carriers.
    5) Vandalism and frequently damaged coin box housing as these isolated machines are attacked; more often than in your Laundromat.
    6) More involved techniques used to gain free wash and dry. Remember, no remote cameras are normally installed.
    7) Cancellation of your contract and a need to remove and store your washers.

    At one time there were over 700 route operators in California (and numerous small ones) which is now reduced to 100 or less. The "Rich Uncles" have won this war for these locations.

    Larry Larsen
    Anaheim, CA
    Distributor - Insurance - Consulting
    Cell: (714) 390-9969

  • 3.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-05-2019 11:44
    It's very time consuming running a rout. Let the appartment laundry's be. As stated they are usually run very poorly. How do you know they are your main competitors? Instead of spreading yourself out further with a rout invest the money on another location.

    Denise Rubenstein
    Laundermagic of Patchogue
    Bayport NY

  • 4.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-05-2019 13:02
    Edited by Matthew Simmons 02-05-2019 13:06

    Dan Faller of the Apartment Owners Association warns apartment owners about the laundry leases, as Larry very well described.  A lot of them are predatory, and the owners don't realize they are giving up 'ownership' of that part of their building and are often very hard to break the laundry leases as they automatically renew and have a lot of stipulations.

    There's a lot of unknowns in that business too, that would take time to learn about.  For example, how many units and what type of unit mix do you need to make it a worthwhile to add to your route?  What about utilities?  Chances are the laundry room is not separately metered.

    Right now, you have all of your machines in one place.  It's a much different dynamic when you have your machines spread out in terms of maintenance, repairs, and a much lower # of turns.

    Another factor to consider​ is value.  Surprisingly, a lot of of people who live in apartments consider a laundromat to be MORE convenient than doing their laundry at their apartment.  Yes, they have to drive or walk their laundry over, but they can do all of their laundry at once and get it done and they have room to fold their clothes.

    Matthew Simmons
    Laundry Operator and
    Wash & Fold Software Consultant
    (562) 533-0053

  • 5.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-05-2019 19:19
    It seems that statistics will show that fewer assaults occur in laundromats with a steady flow of business than within apartment house & trailer court laundy rooms.

    Michael Walsh
    King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
    Bismarck ND

  • 6.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-05-2019 17:38

    Here are some photos of apartment laundry rooms in my town.

    ROY JACOBS Person
    Rolla MO

  • 7.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-06-2019 10:10
    I do a apartment building with 20 units. Not a bad deal. It pays for my time and equipment. I just collect on my regular route. I have had a lot of calls for other locations but they are smaller number of units. Not interested unless they have 20 or more. One tip i have is they do better if the renters don't have to walk outside to get to them.

    Chris Mirisciotta
    Canon Coin Laundry
    Canonsburg PA

  • 8.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-06-2019 11:26
    Thank you Chris for sharing your route experience.

    Based on the posts above, apartment routes are profitable.  I would expect the large apartment complexes to be serviced by the large route operators since they are even more profitable.

    A 20 unit apartment may not be worth the effort for a large route operator.  I estimate $800 to $1,000 per month of revenue generated from a unit this size.  That's probably nothing for the big dogs but it's a big deal for me.  If I can get 10 of these apartments near my laundromat, then it's a really big deal for me.

    Access to apartment laundry rooms allows me to market the services of my laundromat, for example wash & fold, and large machines for blankets.

    Chris, what kind of agreement do you have with the landlord?  Contract, revenue sharing, cleaning?


    Joe C.
    Store Owner
    Happy Bubbles Laundromat
    North Hollywood, CA

  • 9.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-07-2019 09:12
    As an owner of an apartment building, I understand the value of having a clean, onsite laundry room. I keep mine clean with ample machines not only for my tenants but for those in neighboring buildings. Due to the convenience, cleanliness and safe surroundings I keep them from having to travel to the neighborhood laundromat. This allows me to charge a bit more per cycle which increases profits. My machines are seldom idle.

    I have been approached by many route owners and after comparing numbers, they walk away knowing that they can't compete.

    Antelope Valley, CA

  • 10.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-07-2019 09:58
    Joe, I supply the machines and repairs for 50 percent of the take. I keep a liability policy.

    Chris Mirisciotta
    Canon Coin Laundry
    Canonsburg PA

  • 11.  RE: Apartment Laudromat Route

    Posted 02-07-2019 14:37
    ​CLA Insurance does have a carrier that will insure route locations if anyone does have trouble finding coverage.

    Jason Rehor
    Account Executive
    CLA Insurance
    Rolling Meadows, IL