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Is it time to increase laundry prices?

Published : Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tips for a painless price increase

So you've taken a good long look at your laundry facilities, and due to increased maintenance and power charges, you're going to have to raise prices.  What can you do to make sure that tenants aren't unduly inconvenienced or annoyed by the price increases?

1.  Make sure the laundry area is spotless

Tenants will be less resistant to a price increase if they can see that you're making an effort to improve the amenity for them.  So before you raise prices, give your laundry area the white-glove treatment:  Give it a good scrub, make sure all machines are in good working order, maybe even give the walls a coat of fresh, white paint.  Consider getting a handyman or professional cleaning service to ensure all the details are perfect.

2.  Communicate with tenants in advance

Tenants will be surprisingly understanding about a rate increase if they understand that you're doing it because you've added machines, renovated the laundry area, or that it only reflects an increased utilities charge.  So send tenants a memo and post a large, friendly sign in the laundry area explaining the change and the date it takes effect.

3.  Don't make the increase too drastic all at once

These days, tenants who are on a budget aren't going to thank you when they arrive in the laundry room to discover that prices have doubled overnight.  A dryer cycle that used to cost $2 shouldn't suddenly escalate to $4 - try going to $2.50.  Remember, if you lose customers by pricing yourself out of the market, your price increase won't generate the returns you want anyway.

4.  Offer an extra amenity or easier payment methods

It's easier to raise prices when tenants feel they're getting extra value.  Maybe this means adding a pop machine, a comfortable chair, a better sorting table or a drying rack.  It could also mean offering easier payment methods, like wireless cards - it's easier to manage a price increase when it doesn't mean you have to buy extra rolls of quarters or loonies!

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