Cost control is critical to the successful management and operation of a business’s on-premises laundry room. You may choose other components of your laundry operations based on the lowest-cost option, but when it comes to equipment, inexpensive laundry systems will cost you more down the road. Businesses that think of commercial laundry equipment as a long-term investment will experience significant cost savings over time.
What factors cause inexpensive equipment to cost more in the long-run?
Utilities are one of the main costs of operating commercial laundry equipment, affecting the monthly expenses in water, electricity, and gas. A less-expensive machine will cost more across all utilities:
Electricity / Gas
A high-quality, energy-efficient dryer can use anywhere from 25% – 40% less gas than less-expensive equipment.¹ And a laundry system, where the washers and dryers are paired to maximize energy efficiency, can reduce drying time, further reducing energy consumption.
Cost: Up to 40% higher electricity bills.
Water usage varies between different types of washing machines, and different brands as well. A recent Consumer Reports study² found that for 8 lbs of laundry, water usage among types of washers amounted to:
- Agitator top-loader: 19-26 gallons
- High-efficiency top-loader: 13 gallons
- Front-loader: 7 gallons
An agitator top-loader is the least costly type of commercial washing machine but could cost you three to four times in water usage. Moreover, a lower-cost machine may not have ‘auto-sensing’ features, where water usage is determined automatically and varies on the size and weight of the load, ensuring optimal water usage every time. Auto-sensing could save up to an estimated 50% of the water used on smaller cycles.³
Cost: 3-4x higher water bills.
Related blog: 7 Steps to Bring Commercial Laundry Systems In-House
2. Service and Repairs
Because commercial laundry services rely on functional equipment, owners and operators must give due consideration to the maintenance and repairs of laundry machines. While some maintenance may be covered by a service agreement, there is often an additional cost associated with emergency callouts, as well as evening and weekend repairs. Machine downtime will also increase costs, as third-party laundry services may be required in the meantime.
Depending on what needs to be repaired, your service contract, and the parts and labor required, repairs can cost anywhere between $120 – $500.⁴ While it is difficult to estimate the exact frequency of service that may be required for different machines, less expensive machines are generally cheaper because they use cheaper parts, and are less likely to be purpose-built for commercial use. With a high volume of laundry, these machines will require more frequent repairs, parts, and service.
Cost: Estimated $120-$500 per service call.
3. Load Capacity / Volume
The larger the capacity of your laundry systems, the greater the volume of laundry that can be processed in a shorter time. Improving the efficiency of the laundry process can save you time, as well as labor costs.
Typically, a compact washer capacity ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 cubic feet, while a large-capacity machine has a capacity of 5 cubic feet or larger. Purchasing a large capacity machine can help you process 2-3 times as many loads of laundry as a compact machine, increasing the volume of the throughput of your laundry systems.
Cost: 2-3x increase in loads to process
4. Machine Replacement
Commercial laundry equipment used far more frequently, and at a higher volume than residential machines. Most commercial laundry machines are rated to last approximately 5,000 cycles. Because usage varies it can be difficult to translate cycles to time in years. If a machine is used 2 times per day, it should last 6-7 years. More frequent use will translate to a shorter lifetime before replacement.
High-quality machines, however, can have a significantly longer lifetime. For example, Encore by Laundrylux is rated to last 15,000 cycles – three times longer than the competition. With two cycles per day, this machine provides two to three times more value than the competition.
Cost: You’ll replace the machine much sooner than necessary
Choosing inexpensive laundry equipment may seem like a good idea because of a lower up-front expense. However, when you add together increased costs of utilities, service, repair, and replacement, as well as the opportunity cost of lower-capacity machines, you will quickly spend the cash that is saved at the time of purchase.
The success of your commercial laundry service depends largely on the equipment that you choose. Ensuring access to high-quality and reliable commercial-built laundry systems is an important step in improving laundry operations, and maximizing your resources. If you are interested in equipping your business’s laundry room or upgrading your existing equipment, contact an expert at Laundrylux today.
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