Author Topic: Good deal for a side business? Doing my friend's laundry for $150 a month  (Read 1598 times)

Redstone5

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Hi All,

I'd like input into this agreement I'm considering for a little money on the side.

Situation: My friend runs a waxing business and is looking for someone to help her out with the laundry side of it. She's asked if I'm interested in doing about 6-9 loads of laundry (towels and sheets) per week in exchange for her buying me a secondhand washer and dryer for my apartment, free waxing (about $50 per month), and $150 in cash. She will also supply the washing soap, bleach, etc. I would need to pick it up and drop it off once or twice per week.

 Pros:
-$150 in cash per month
-I can stop paying $40 a month to use the machines in my building
-a free washer and dryer (secondhand refurbished, about $500 +taxes)
-free waxing (I can do my own but she does a much better and fast job for me)
-I can run the laundry while I'm home studying and fold it when I watch a movie in the evening

Cons:
-I have to take the time to do 6-9 loads of laundry per week
-I pay for the extra electricity to run the machines (water is free and included in my rent)
-30 minute round trip to pick up and drop off the laundry (however I do usually go into town once a week anyway already and could pick up at the same time)
-I'd be committed to it for a length of time which would make it tough to just quit if it got annoying, might make it hard to go out of town if I wanted to, or on weeks when I'm super busy out of the house.
-possible repairs or replacement of the machines if they break (we haven't sorted out those details yet)

Have I missed anything else I should consider? It seems like a good deal for me, once we work out the details together.

Note: I have an electric car so the commute doesn't cost me gas, and I would have to fold all the laundry as well.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 09:26:09 AM by Redstone5 »

Blue Skies

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Is it a simple, throw the stuff in the washer with soap and bleach on a hot cycle, dry, fold, done?  Or do you need to worry about stains, pretreating, watching for tears/holes?   When I put sheets in the dryer they inevitably get tangled and don't fully dry on the first cycle.  I have to either stop it half way through to untangle them, or I forget and have to untangle at the end and throw them back in for longer which raises the electric usage.

I would guess you will be out $15-$20/mo in electricity to run the dryer.  That will depend on how efficient the dryer is and how much you pay per kwh for electricity.

Make an estimate of how long this will take you and figure out an hourly rate.  I don't think it will be much above minimum wage, but if you don't mind folding and you have the time, why not?

Personally I don't mind doing laundry, but that much extra every week might kill my indifference.  That seems like a huge time suck.

SimpleCycle

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So you'll get about $240/month in benefits, minus expenses.  This calculator (https://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html) calculates the cost of a top loading load with an electric hot water heater and electric dryer to be about $1/load for a mix of warm and hot wash temps.  So let's say 30 loads of laundry a month costs you an additional $30 in electricity.  You are netting $210 in benefits, so it takes about 3 months just to pay back the laundry machines.  So over the first year, you'll make about $1900 for doing 7.5 loads of laundry a week.  So it all depends how long you think that will take you.

At 7 hours of work a week, you're making $5/hour.
At 5 hours of work a week, you're making $7/hour.
At 3 hours of work a week, you're making $12/hour.

Seems to me that it's a pretty low paying side hustle, but it could be worth it if it fits into your lifestyle easily.

erutio

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-30 minute round trip to pick up and drop off the laundry

This alone would make me say now.

Redstone5

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Is it a simple, throw the stuff in the washer with soap and bleach on a hot cycle, dry, fold, done?  Or do you need to worry about stains, pretreating, watching for tears/holes?   When I put sheets in the dryer they inevitably get tangled and don't fully dry on the first cycle.  I have to either stop it half way through to untangle them, or I forget and have to untangle at the end and throw them back in for longer which raises the electric usage.

I would guess you will be out $15-$20/mo in electricity to run the dryer.  That will depend on how efficient the dryer is and how much you pay per kwh for electricity.

Make an estimate of how long this will take you and figure out an hourly rate.  I don't think it will be much above minimum wage, but if you don't mind folding and you have the time, why not?

Personally I don't mind doing laundry, but that much extra every week might kill my indifference.  That seems like a huge time suck.

These are good points. We pay between $0.0945 and $0.1417 kwh (CDN) here which I think is slightly lower than average for power usage and I would definitely look for the most energy conserving dryer I can afford.

I think it's only the washing and folding, not pre-treating etc, but I will make sure to check with my friend first.

I enjoy folding laundry and I like the idea of not having to go out anywhere to make extra money and having it on my own schedule too. But yes, I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon lol.

Redstone5

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So you'll get about $240/month in benefits, minus expenses.  This calculator (https://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html) calculates the cost of a top loading load with an electric hot water heater and electric dryer to be about $1/load for a mix of warm and hot wash temps.  So let's say 30 loads of laundry a month costs you an additional $30 in electricity.  You are netting $210 in benefits, so it takes about 3 months just to pay back the laundry machines.  So over the first year, you'll make about $1900 for doing 7.5 loads of laundry a week.  So it all depends how long you think that will take you.

At 7 hours of work a week, you're making $5/hour.
At 5 hours of work a week, you're making $7/hour.
At 3 hours of work a week, you're making $12/hour.

Seems to me that it's a pretty low paying side hustle, but it could be worth it if it fits into your lifestyle easily.

My friend is actually buying the machines for me, I'm not working to pay her back for them, so it would actually be the benefit of $210 per month plus $500 and taxes this year for the value of the machines. So, $575 + $2520 = $3095 for this first year, and $2520 for future years.

So if I take 10 minutes to start and flip the laundry per load, and 10 minutes to fold (so 20 minutes of time per load), and 30 minutes per week to pick up and drop off the laundry, I would make approx. $25.79/hour for the first year (at 6 loads a week), and $18.42/hr (at 9 loads a week).

And then for future years I would make between $21/hr (at 6 loads per week), and $15/hr (at 9 loads per week).

I think the appealing thing for me is that I can fit it around my schedule so much easier than practically any other side gig. It would be in my house and I could put a load on in the morning before work, flip it when I come home, put in one more load before bed, flip it over the next morning, and so on. The only issue would be when I want to go away, but I have no vacations planned for at least the next two years anyway.

Thanks so much for helping me walk through this stuff!

MonkeyJenga

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How much would you make after taxes? Are you factoring in the time needed to do your own laundry too? What if you got paid by load and not by week? Normally I would say give it a shot, but since your friend will be investing in the machines, it won't be that easy to back out if you end up not wanting to continue.

Redstone5

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How much would you make after taxes? Are you factoring in the time needed to do your own laundry too? What if you got paid by load and not by week? Normally I would say give it a shot, but since your friend will be investing in the machines, it won't be that easy to back out if you end up not wanting to continue.

I pay about 20% in taxes, so it would still be better than minimum wage (which I think is about $13/hr here), even at the lowest hourly rate for 9 loads a week.

The reason I'm not suggesting per load is because I haven't got the machines yet and I'm not sure how much capacity would be, also I would like to avoid debate about how much can go in each load etc.

That's what I'm concerned about, and I would hate to lose a friendship over a business arrangement. I'm going to brainstorm a bunch of potential issues with her and discuss how we would handle each one and then put it into writing before moving forward.

Redstone5

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How much would you make after taxes? Are you factoring in the time needed to do your own laundry too? What if you got paid by load and not by week? Normally I would say give it a shot, but since your friend will be investing in the machines, it won't be that easy to back out if you end up not wanting to continue.

I pay about 20% in taxes, so it would still be better than minimum wage (which I think is about $13/hr here), even at the lowest hourly rate for 9 loads a week.

The reason I'm not suggesting per load is because I haven't got the machines yet and I'm not sure how much capacity would be, also I would like to avoid debate about how much can go in each load etc.

That's what I'm concerned about, and I would hate to lose a friendship over a business arrangement. I'm going to brainstorm a bunch of potential issues with her and discuss how we would handle each one and then put it into writing before moving forward.

Yes, I should make sure to leave time for my own laundry too. I do about one load a week for myself, one for my guinea pigs bedding, and two for my boys.

Omy

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Doing 10-13 loads of laundry every week would drive me crazy.

A couple of thoughts: Who pays to repair the machines when they break? What happens if you (or the machines) are not available for a week?

MonkeyJenga

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How did you calculate 6-9 loads per week if you don't know what capacity will be? I assumed that range was based on different quantities needed from your friend's end.

Redstone5

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How did you calculate 6-9 loads per week if you don't know what capacity will be? I assumed that range was based on different quantities needed from your friend's end.

Well, yes, but that's her estimate of the volume. I don't know if the machine she's been using is the exact same as the machine I will purchase. Maybe she's using industrial size machines and I'm using a an apt model.

Redstone5

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Doing 10-13 loads of laundry every week would drive me crazy.

A couple of thoughts: Who pays to repair the machines when they break? What happens if you (or the machines) are not available for a week?

Yes, those are things we'll have to discuss together.

erutio

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I'd be curious why your friend asked you versus just doing it herself?

Redstone5

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I'd be curious why your friend asked you versus just doing it herself?

She doesn't have hook-up for a washer and dryer in her apartment so she can't do it herself at her own place. She has to take it out to the laundromat or do it at her work studio and she's been looking for someone to pay to do it instead since she's already paying for the machines.

When I was telling her I'm cutting my expenses so I can't have her do my waxes anymore, she suggested we trade work instead of money. When I said it was too bad I don't have my own machines to help her out with the laundry issue, she suggested buying me a set and working out a deal together.

cchrissyy

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"My friend is actually buying the machines for me, "

Or is she buying them herself, as business property, and loaning them to you?  If you quit this gig after a few months, she would want them back. Right?

Redstone5

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"My friend is actually buying the machines for me, "

Or is she buying them herself, as business property, and loaning them to you?  If you quit this gig after a few months, she would want them back. Right?

That's the part we need to clarify. She doesn't have anywhere to use or store the machines if I quit so in her mind she's buying the machines for me to keep as part of the deal, but obviously for sure if I want to quiet after a month what happens to the machines she bought me. Do I pay her out for them? Give them back to her? Sell them? We'll need to discuss it.

socaso

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I used to work front desk at a salon and I have folded hundreds of loads of those salon towels. If her towels are the standard white ones most salons use they fold up quick. I can fold a big load in less than 30 min. If I were in your situation I'd probably do the job. Based on my own experiences do this work I estimate you'll be getting paid about $5 an hour to do this but having a side hustle you can do in your home on your own schedule is pretty awesome and getting the added benefit of having a washer and dryer in your home is pretty amazing. Just make sure you get the most energy efficient model you can.

You also want to work out who pays for repairs before you agree to this. Our shop washer was constantly breaking down due to the amount of usage. They were industrial machines, too. We probably did 5-7 loads per day in the shop.

Redstone5

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I used to work front desk at a salon and I have folded hundreds of loads of those salon towels. If her towels are the standard white ones most salons use they fold up quick. I can fold a big load in less than 30 min. If I were in your situation I'd probably do the job. Based on my own experiences do this work I estimate you'll be getting paid about $5 an hour to do this but having a side hustle you can do in your home on your own schedule is pretty awesome and getting the added benefit of having a washer and dryer in your home is pretty amazing. Just make sure you get the most energy efficient model you can.

You also want to work out who pays for repairs before you agree to this. Our shop washer was constantly breaking down due to the amount of usage. They were industrial machines, too. We probably did 5-7 loads per day in the shop.

Thanks, yes, I was estimating how long it would take me to fold up a big load of tea towels, so I'm assuming her salon towels are similar, with the sheets taking a little more time to wrangle.

And yes I will clarify the issue about the repairs. It would be a secondhand model with a very limited warranty that would be purchased, so that's the part I'm most concerned with, what happens when it breaks down.

MilesTeg

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If you are doing commercial laundry activities out of your residential apartment (with 'free' water) you are almost certainly breaking the terms of your lease and possibly breaking the law. Whether or not anyone will notice or care can't really be said, but you are exposing yourself to potential eviction and maybe some financial liability.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 11:48:28 AM by MilesTeg »

MayDay

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Hauling 6-9 loads of laundry a week in and out of her shop and your apartment sounds like a huge pain. How far will you have to haul it?

It seems like you are saving her a lot of time and hassle. I think she is underpaying you. Look up the cost of laundry services in your area for comparison. You should be cheaper than them, but not drastically cheaper.


Redstone5

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If you are doing commercial laundry activities out of your residential apartment (with 'free' water) you are almost certainly breaking the terms of your lease and possibly breaking the law. Whether or not anyone will notice or care can't really be said, but you are exposing yourself to potential eviction and maybe some financial liability.

That's a very good point :( I'm so happy with my new place, I'd hate to risk it.

MayDay

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I googled and found a service in my area- they charge 2.60/lb and do pick up and deliver in that price.

Google says an average medium load is 8 lbs.

So for her to send it out, assuming 6 loads a week and 4 weeks a month, it would cost her 500$ a month.

So I think she is ripping you off even with a free washer and dryer.

I'd propose that she either pay you a lot more, or you buy the W/D, and require her to pick up/drop off, and still charge her more. But at least then you can quit when it gets old.

If you buy the W/D, and she delivers, 300/month seems fair. If you deliver, 400. 

I'd also want to be really clear on the schedule- you don't want to have to run there twice a week because she is low of towels. You want to be able to reliably combine it with other errands.

Redstone5

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Hauling 6-9 loads of laundry a week in and out of her shop and your apartment sounds like a huge pain. How far will you have to haul it?

It seems like you are saving her a lot of time and hassle. I think she is underpaying you. Look up the cost of laundry services in your area for comparison. You should be cheaper than them, but not drastically cheaper.

Up to the third floor but I do have an elevator.

Seems like local places are charging $1.50 a pound for full service. So if a full load is about 7-8 pounds for a front loader, that's $10.50 per load. Of course, that's including clothes which are more trouble than sheets or towels, but I'd be making between $8.75 to $5.83 per load, and not getting anything extra for pick up and delivery. So, much cheaper than local commercial rates.

Redstone5

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I googled and found a service in my area- they charge 2.60/lb and do pick up and deliver in that price.

Google says an average medium load is 8 lbs.

So for her to send it out, assuming 6 loads a week and 4 weeks a month, it would cost her 500$ a month.

So I think she is ripping you off even with a free washer and dryer.

I'd propose that she either pay you a lot more, or you buy the W/D, and require her to pick up/drop off, and still charge her more. But at least then you can quit when it gets old.

If you buy the W/D, and she delivers, 300/month seems fair. If you deliver, 400. 

I'd also want to be really clear on the schedule- you don't want to have to run there twice a week because she is low of towels. You want to be able to reliably combine it with other errands.

That would be a better deal, but I think I'm going to have to turn it down completely. As MilesTeg pointed out, I doubt it's permitted under the terms of my lease, and people are going to notice me carting 6-9 loads of laundry up the elevator each week. I'm feeling like I'm going to have to turn it down no matter how good the deal is. My apartment is fantastic and rent controlled. I don't want to risk it.

Redstone5

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A huge thank-you to everyone who helped me work this out today!

Sadly, I'm going to turn down the deal due to concerns about my lease, but just working out the numbers has been a super valuable experience!

BTDretire

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I would really question the amount of wash loads required. Remember these are sheets and towels, the heaviest and largest pieces normally washed. I would not wash more than say 3 sheets and 3 towels. (it does depend on the size of the machine) If you have bigger loads it will wear the used machine faster.
 I've never had a wax, but for a massage I hope the are washing two sheets. So let's say each load is 3 sheets and 3 towels, that 1-1/2 customers. If it is true that you will only need to do 9 loads max, that is 15 customers.  Math, 15 customers times 2 sheets and 2 towels = 30 sheets  and 3 towels. Oh that's 10 loads.
 Does she only have 15 customers a week? I don't know the right number! Is it just her or does she have other waxers? If she has other waxers, 15 customers is way to low.
 You can massage these numbers however you think needs doing, but don't short yourself.
 Maybe a per piece price would be better, in fact what happens if you find you are doing 14 loads a week, and you have the washer and dryer? Do you just give it back?

 And it looks like you are talking about $2,500 a year, can she take over if you need to go out of town, or have exams, get sick or whatever, how stuck are you for $2,500?

KentBent

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As for me, there are more pros than cons in this deal. Almost all the cons that you've listed are related to your time, but any work we do takes our time and efforts.

researcher1

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As for me, there are more pros than cons in this deal. Almost all the cons that you've listed are related to your time, but any work we do takes our time and efforts.

I don't see how the pros could outweigh the cons.

We are talking 9 loads/week or 468 loads/year.
That averages out to 39 loads/month.

She's being paid $150, plus saving $40 on the current washer/dryer usage, so $190 total.
So she's only making $4.87 per load BEFORE expenses.

Then you must subtract out the added electricity usage AND the 30 minutes of driving twice a week.
She will spend over 4 hours/month just driving back & forth with the laundry.

No way would it be worth it.

Rubes33

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No way.  Not worth it.

BlueHouse

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If you are doing commercial laundry activities out of your residential apartment (with 'free' water) you are almost certainly breaking the terms of your lease and possibly breaking the law. Whether or not anyone will notice or care can't really be said, but you are exposing yourself to potential eviction and maybe some financial liability.

Yep, I was thinking the same thing.  If my tenant did that, i wouldn't even discuss it with him.  I would throw him out for being so inconsiderate that he didn't even consider the impact and the risk to the owner and to other tenants.