Re: Coin- or card- operated laundry machines
From: Ann Lehman (
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:08:41 -0800 (PST)
PDX Commons just started in August 2018.  I believe we have a lease which
covers repairs.  We currently do not pay for use or detergent.

Ann Lehman
Governance and Gender Consultant
Zimmerman Lehman*forging futures for nonprofits
** <>
*510.755.5701 (Mobile)

ENEWS Subscribe to our free e-newsletter,ZimNotes
<> or find us on:


On Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 1:56 PM, Susan Coberly <susandgeorge [at]>

> At first move-in in fall 2008, we had people's donated machines in the
> laundry room. They began to break down and coho was paying for the repairs
> to keep the donated machines going. In 2009-2010, I believe, we leased 2 HE
> stackable sets.  Now we have 4 HE stackable sets. The lease cost includes
> maintenance and repair. Around the time we began to lease machines, we
> instituted a charge. I cannot remember whether it was at the same exact
> time. To institute a charge required a consensus decision by the community.
> As I recall there was at least one upset household since when forming and
> building and adding new members we had thought the use would be "free".
> I estimate that currently about 1/2 of the 28 household community uses the
> machines regularly. Others use the machines sporadically, because home
> machines break down; sometimes it rains and wet clothes cannot be hung out
> if one does not have a dryer.  Additionally the machines are used for
> Common House use, e.g., common meal linens, guest room linens (these uses
> also accrue the same charge per wash and dry load, billed to the coho).
> We charge 25 cents per wash load and the same per dry load. Currently that
> includes HE detergent (non scented) and dryer sheets (ditto), as well as
> water, electricity, gas. We request that 2, marked, sets of stacked units
> be for people with pet allergies (dander and hair).  We have not raised the
> rate although that could occur down the line.
> We use an honor system.
> I am currently the laundry tally person and it takes a little over hour per
> month to make sure the record sheets are on the clipboard, retrieve the
> full ones, and tally and email results to Residents list and the Treasurer
> and Finance team. Laundry use costs are billed quarterly, as are common
> meals. The Treasurer took pity on me about a year ago and created an excel
> spreadsheet so I don't have to use a hand calculator and a Word document.
> The honor system has its pitfalls - yes, sometimes people forget to "jot
> down" their use; yes, sometimes people mark down the # of washes and forget
> the # of drys.  When a wash but not dry (or vice versa) is recorded, I
> email that resident to confirm their use.  We may lose a very small amount
> of money by people not recording their use, but ...
> Tokens or change would also have their pitfalls. someone would have to
> empty and bank the coins, provide and empty tokens if used, the token/coin
> slot could get jammed, etc. etc. And I am not sure whether it would or
> could happen here, but someone in another city recently said the police
> found numerous broken-open coin operated machines when investigating a
> burglary ring - the miscreants had carted off whole machines in order later
> to pry open the coin slots at their warehouse. This seems like an extremely
> labor intensive way to get quarters, but most everywhere the charge is $2 a
> load.....
> Having this function in the common house is a great way to check in with a
> neighbor or three while using the machines! It is one of many great ways to
> make sure the most expensive piece of cohousing - the common house - is
> used!
> Further, I agree with the folks who've written that this cohousing-borne
> expense is no different, really, than commonly-operated bike storage,
> children's play room, the common lawn, etc.... our needs and desires will
> fluctuate over time in the community. We do have a small per load charge,
> so the laundry use is not completely coho-subsidized.
> Best, Susan Coberly (who does not have her own machines)
> LaQuerencia aka Fresno Cohousing, Fresno California
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.