Author Topic: Fair offer for use of laundry  (Read 9537 times)

abbrown

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Fair offer for use of laundry
« on: June 25, 2012, 10:49:40 AM »
Hi MMMers!
I am about to move into a new rental apartment with my boyfriend in the Boston area.  We may only be there for a year.  The place has a hook up for washer and dry, but we have to supply our own.  The landlord has pleaded that we get a water-efficient model, which of course we would be down with, except, they are expensive!  We will only be there for a year! 

My first idea is to talk to the family that lives downstairs (young couple with an infant).  They have a nice looking set, and it seems silly to have two sets of machines for such a small number of people.  I'm thinking of offering them some amount to share their machines for the year.  We would work out how to share the schedule of washing -- since I work from home, I can be flexible about when our wash goes in. 

My question for the forum is, what would be a fair price?  I don't know the precise model, but we have to factor in the electricity for 3-4 loads a week, plus a fair contribution for the use of the machines for one year.  How should we think about the calculation? 

I'd love to hang laundry to dry, and I am going to check into installing a line in the back yard, but between the Boston winters, and potential landlord/neighbor dislike of the idea, I can't count on that being a major part of the solution. 

If we can't work out a share, any recommendations on how to pick the next best option?  Should we buy expensive, efficient machines (hopefully used) and resell when we move?  Should we get a pair of clunkers for $100-200 off of craigslist, landlord's water bill be damned?

madgeylou

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 11:54:46 AM »
if the landlord wants you to have appliances that save him money, then he should provide them -- it's not up to you to save him money by spending your own.

so, i'd get the cheapest ones i could get off of craigslist, or make a deal with the downstairs folks (offer them laundromat prices?), or just go to a laundromat. or talk to the landlord and see if he'd be willing to buy the machines provided they stay with the apartment when you leave.

tannybrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 12:16:18 PM »
Given the short time frame I wouldn't buy any washer & dryer unless you're pretty confident you're going to take them with you and use them at your next place.  Renting, that's pretty hard to predict though, and buying and selling w/in a year seems like a PITA.

For less than a year, I'd just see what the neighbors could do or, absent that, stick with the laundromat. 

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 01:12:42 PM »
Whether you buy a washer or negotiate to use the neighbor's, you might want to consider purchasing a drying rack.  I have one that looks similar to

I live in an area prone to pop-up showers so what I like is that I can set up the rack on the deck, then grab it if need be.  Do you have a porch that might accommodate a drying rack?

Also, you can add some humidity to your apartment in the winter by the using a drying rack.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 04:25:36 PM by Worsted Skeins »

velocistar237

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 01:58:26 PM »
You could go extreme and wash and dry your clothes without a washer and dryer like No Impact Man.

Be sure to check out the Drying clothing thread.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 02:53:23 PM »
There may be places to rent a washer/dryer and for a year it may be a good value, anything longer then not likely.  Best way is probably to buy used on CL. 

sol

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 03:46:07 PM »
You could go extreme and wash and dry your clothes without a washer and dryer like No Impact Man.

Be sure to check out the Drying clothing thread.

For the record, no impact man said that the washing machine was the single appliance that made his life crappier during his experiment by its absence. Manually washing clothes for his family was apparently a huge PITA.

Chris

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 04:10:39 PM »
A fair price per load would be near the price the local laundromat charges.

You can also run that clothesline inside the apartment; no one can complain about that (except for you!).

velocistar237

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 04:16:03 PM »
For the record, no impact man said that the washing machine was the single appliance that made his life crappier during his experiment by its absence. Manually washing clothes for his family was apparently a huge PITA.

Good to know. From here:

Quote from: No Impact Man
As for the laundry machine's 10 rating, we hated washing our laundry by hand. It was long, hard work. Maybe if we had had different equipment it would have been ok. Trying to squeeze it dry particular bugged us.

Some different equipment: I've heard of people using this and a big bucket for washing. A spin dryer would take care of the squeezing even better than a washer spin cycle. Watching a few Youtube videos might give you an idea of how difficult it would be and how much time it takes.

abbrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 04:35:41 PM »
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the replies so far.  I don't think we are willing to go the hand washing route.  I'm definitely in the camp that thinks the washing machine is one of the most valuable labor-saving devices invented.  The value of my time is pretty high, and I'm just not going there. 

We will also do a fair bit of air drying, one way or another.  Both of us have a lot of experience with hanging laundry, so we are no ninnypants here!  I'd love to do all of it on the line, though my experiences with line drying exclusively were in Sydney, so dealing with the winter is a little daunting.  I hate the stiffness that comes from drying clothes inside. 

The help I'd like from y'all though is how to calculate a fair offer to our neighbors.  Over how many years should we assume amortizing the cost of the machine?  How do we go about calculating the cost per load (assuming wash and dry)? 

Failing that, does anyone have any experience with the resale value of high quality, high efficiency machines?  We can deal with the PITA of putting it in and taking it out.  Losing hundreds of dollars, not so much. 

Thanks!

madgeylou

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 05:59:00 PM »
why not just pay them what you'd pay at the laundromat, as many people have suggested?

tannybrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 06:25:30 PM »
Here's how I'd get to the figures:

$1 per load (wash + dry) x 4 loads per week x 52 weeks per year = $208

However, this is what we purchased our used washer and dryer for on craigslist.  Plus, there's a hidden cost for your neighbors in opening their home on a regular basis.  If your neighbors are aligned with the 'use-less' ideology I'd say go for it, but it's tough sell.
 
I'd buy used machines for $100 - $300, with the idea that you can sell them for almost that amount on the back end.  If you don't want to bother with that, then the laundromat awaits!

As for the landlord, my take is that if he wants a specific model, he'll have to buy them and leave them there.  If you have to buy them, it's your call.

abbrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 06:44:58 PM »
Oh, I should have said: the neighbors' laundry is in a shared basement area.  Our hook-ups are next to theirs.  It really is silly to have two machines down there.  I haven't checked what laundromat prices are in the neighborhood, but my memory from the last time I've done laundry at a 'mat is that they can run as much as $4.00 a load (wash + dry).  They do make a profit over there!

tannybrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 06:54:14 PM »
From a pure negotiation, you could ask them how much they paid for the washer/dryer (e.g. - $1000), what the useful life is (say, 10 years), and say that you'll just pay them for the straightline depreciation of the machines (in this case $100 for the year).

If they're charging that much at the laundromat, the order goes:

-neighbor's machines
-buying your own
-laundromat

Daley

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 10:23:01 PM »
You could go extreme and wash and dry your clothes without a washer and dryer like No Impact Man.

Be sure to check out the Drying clothing thread.

For the record, no impact man said that the washing machine was the single appliance that made his life crappier during his experiment by its absence. Manually washing clothes for his family was apparently a huge PITA.

Sounds about right, and reminds me of a TED talk a couple years ago on the subject of washing machines being the single most transformative technology in the world that came out of the entire industrial revolution.

catalana

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 01:57:09 AM »
Oh, I should have said: the neighbors' laundry is in a shared basement area.  Our hook-ups are next to theirs.  It really is silly to have two machines down there.  I haven't checked what laundromat prices are in the neighborhood, but my memory from the last time I've done laundry at a 'mat is that they can run as much as $4.00 a load (wash + dry).  They do make a profit over there!
This makes me think it is is goer.  Offer them a proportion of laundromat charges - $2 or $3 a load?  I'm sure they will happily accept without needing to get into depreciation calculations.

I know laundromat charges look high, but we rented a machine one year as students, and I reckon after water and electricity costs we weren't far off those charges.  The main benefit was not having to go to the laundromat!

CG

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 06:18:44 AM »
The block of flats where I live has a largish top-load communal washing-machine (shared between 8 flats). It takes A$3* coins in the slot for a cold wash. I think there is some way to use hot water via one's own electricity meter but I've never worked it out, as I'm happy using cold and would rather keep the cost down.

There's no communal dryer, so just about everyone dries on the lines out the back of the building, or else on drying racks indoors or even on the balconies for short periods.

The body corporate pays for any repairs but I'm sure they make a profit, so $3 per load should cover depreciation and perhaps hot water too, although that could be negotiable.

* A$ and US$ are just about at parity right now.


James

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2012, 06:41:40 AM »
I would just express to your neighbors that you have no idea what the fair value is but that you are interested in some sort of deal to make it work.  If they don't have any idea, then I would probably just offer a couple bucks per load.


But another option would be to offer them a lump sum for the full year of using their machine.  They might appreciate the idea better seeing the larger number rather than the per-load number, and that way your cost is fixed.  Maybe something like $300 or $25 per month would be easier than keeping track of individual loads and paying for them after the fact.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2012, 06:55:39 AM »
The $ per load scenario will likely not be that enticing to your neighbor partly because it will be difficult to quantify and rationalize the potential usage conflict and unless you are close they likely won't trust you to be completely honest about usage.  The lump sum is better route as it is fixed for you and may be meaninful enough for them. 

Just keep in mind that you can get a new washer and dryer for about $250 each - sure they are not high efficiency but again that is not your issue.  If the LL wants high efficiency he should install them and charge you more rent.  If neighbor doesn't want to do it go with cheapest used ones you can find that are in good working order and don't smell.

velocistar237

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2012, 07:17:12 AM »
We paid $20/month to our landlords for the use of their laundry on Mondays and Thursdays, I think. It worked out well for us.

If you bought a used washing machine on Craigslist, you could probably sell it a year later for not much less. If you move somewhere else with a hook-up, you would just take it with you.

abbrown

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2012, 07:27:38 AM »
Thanks guys, this is helpful for me thinking it all through.  I am starting to think that buy/re-sell is not such a bad option.  Does anyone have any experience with the resale value of nice front-loaders? 

arebelspy

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2012, 07:49:42 AM »
Thanks guys, this is helpful for me thinking it all through.  I am starting to think that buy/re-sell is not such a bad option.  Does anyone have any experience with the resale value of nice front-loaders?

Just watch craigslist in your area for a bit and you'll get a feel for prices.  Then nab one cheap (through desperate seller needing to move or negotiation or whatever).  Resell for the same amount in a year (list early so you aren't the desperate seller).

Just don't buy new, and then resell used.
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AJ

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2012, 12:49:52 PM »
You may want to consider offering a barter with your neighbor. Maybe trade use of the washer for babysitting or batches of cookies or something...anything other than cash. Its kinda like how you would help your friend move for pizza and beer, but you wouldn't do it for $20. Once you start quantifying things in terms of dollars and cents, the valuations change. I would try to keep the exchange in the friendly-neighbors-sharing-resources realm and stay out of the fair-market-value realm.

velocistar237

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2012, 01:27:14 PM »
Once you start quantifying things in terms of dollars and cents, the valuations change.

I read an article that listed three different remuneration relationship types:
  • No payment.
  • Owe a favor.
  • Monetary payment.
If the response someone gets is different from what they expect, it can put a damper on things, because it means they think differently about the relationship than the other person. It's interesting to see how this varies by culture and wealth level.

igthebold

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2012, 11:49:07 AM »
Some different equipment: I've heard of people using this and a big bucket for washing. A spin dryer would take care of the squeezing even better than a washer spin cycle. Watching a few Youtube videos might give you an idea of how difficult it would be and how much time it takes.

Would you use the plunger on nice dress shirts?

Also, regarding the spin dryer, I did some calculations, being very conservative. If we use only the clothesline, it would take us a year to make up the cost. If we use only the dryer with the stated savings (30 minutes off), it would take us three years.

Of course, that's conservative (dryer at 60% stated wattage, electricity cost at its current low rates ($0.11/kWh)). At its full rated wattage, it would take as little as 30 weeks to recover.

Nephi

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2012, 04:01:46 PM »
I currently am in about the same situation of looking for a used clothes washer. As it is I am using 3 5-gallon buckets and two plungers to wash and rinse, and then hanging them on a drying rack. It is a pain, but it saves money in the interim before we buy a washer. I actually think I would be just fine continuing to do my laundry this way if we had an efficient way of ringing out the laundry. Bath towels are definitely a pain to wring out... And I'd rather not pay as much for a spin dryer as I could for a used washing machine.

manchops

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2012, 01:33:52 PM »
Didn't see it suggested, but perhaps offer non-monetary compensation? Make them dinner one night a week (for a week of doing laundry). Offer to babysit for the 3 hours your laundry is in. Should be enough time for them to spend together at  restaurant or something.


I think time alone or not having to make dinner will be worth quite a bit more than $1/load to them and possibly cheaper for you!

mlipps

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Re: Fair offer for use of laundry
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2012, 08:13:05 AM »
Thanks guys, this is helpful for me thinking it all through.  I am starting to think that buy/re-sell is not such a bad option.  Does anyone have any experience with the resale value of nice front-loaders?

Unless this is a common set up in Boston apartments, can't you just sell them to the people who move in after you and save them the hassle?