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Guests taking advantage of laundry

Hi friends. Has anyone experienced their guests taking advantage of, or overusing their laundry privilages? My wife and I (hosts of 4 years) rent out the basement of our home, where our washer/dryer are located. Lately, we’ve had a rash of short-term guests taking it upon themselves to use several loads of laundry, often without asking or paying (sometimes starting loads before even meeting them on a 1 night stay). Although this is disrespectful and uncourteous behavior, we clearly state in our listing that guests staying for 3 nights or longer are welcome to use the machines as needed, otherwise, we charge $3 per load. Needless to say, guests rarely actually read the listing (let alone instructions on how to access our residence). We do not ask for a separate cleaning fee, as it is already incorporated into our total booking rate. We have verbally communicated the laundry fee to guests in the past in the midst of their wash cycle, and it always becomes an awkward conversation for such a nominal fee (while the large expense of the water and electricity getting used adds up for us), detracting from an otherwise pleasant stay. I’d love to install a ‘card reader’ or coin operated device, but I don’t think they’re available for non-commercial use. Any effective suggestions (signs, tip-jar, laundry locks) are much appreciated, as this is becoming a frustrating situation from this host’s perspective. Thank you!

I would assume that a washer and dryer on the guest’s level would be free to use.

If it were on a different level where they had to enter your private quarters, then I would imagine it would possible that the usage time/amount might be a bit more restricted.

It is my guess that they assume these are specifically for their use, not shared items.

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If you can lock the room, do so. Remove doing laundry as a perk of staying with you. Then if you want to extend the offer to people staying several nights you can do so. Under promise and over deliver.

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Good advice above from Felix and K9. Ours is a separate apartment and I find that very few people want to do laundry. It’s fine if they do because our washer and dryer are coin operated. But I can only think of two sets of guests this year who have used them.

Once again, it just goes to show the huge variety of Airbnb guests!

It’s an amenity!
Be hospitable about it.
What’s your gigantic cost??
We have an owl jar sitting by the laundry with a printed note above it (you can’t miss it) declaring washer $1.00 and dryer $1.00 Honor type system.
If they skip paying, so be it … Karma will make sure that a car will speed through a puddle, as they walk on a sidewalk with their pretty “clean” clothes …

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Our washer & dryer are in the open commons area downstairs (there is no room for them in our living quarters upstairs). I’ve stayed in over 25 Airbnb locations while traveling, and have never assumed that any laundry unit (or other appliance) is for my use unless specifically offered or instructed. I certainly wouldn’t just start using another host’s washing machine without asking first.

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I’ve thought about this issue too, since I’m planning to add washers and dryers myself, and water scarcity is a real issue here.

Having some kind of coin operated device would probably be the best way. If the guests have direct access to the washer/dryer, as in your case it does seem difficult to otherwise restrict access. Having said that, I would just charge a flat fee per load. Personally I’d forget about the 3 day stay thing.

Sorry, this isn’t really helpful - just thinking aloud.

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We have a set specifically for our guests, but even still, only maybe 10% actually use them.

Is laundry marked as an amenity on your listing?

Are you listed as a private room or whole house/apartment?

Mines free to use. I only charge £21 a night. No ones even used it yet.

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This would bug me if people were taking advantage. It almost seems like some are booking rooms JUST to do laundry?

Ideas… Signs ON the appliances. "Complimentary use with 3-day stay. Otherwise, $3 per load."
Add to house rules so they can’t miss it.
Hit the breakers (!) from another location on the short stays! If they complain, say, Oh… laundry only available to 3-night minimum; otherwise $3 per load.

You are not being petty! Guests take advantage if given the chance! Head it off with clear boundaries since it keeps happening.

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I have a similar setup as the @atomicpups My washer and dryer is smack in the middle of guests private bathroom. I have it in my house rules that the washer and dryer is off limits and it is known when they make a reservation. I have had people ask to use it and I just politely tell them know and the location of the neighborhood laundromat.

@atomicpups I think you should eliminate the more than 3 days free laundry option. It leaves an opening to negotiate. Either make it off limits or raise your nightly rate to compensate for the abusers and let everyone use it.

Good luck!

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Amen! This is so correct! It’s so much more appreciated if you give something that is not expected and it’s never missed if you don’t!

They actually make coin-operated outlets for these machines. It’s much cheaper than buying a commercial washer/dryer.

What is the cost to a host if they are running a load of laundry? Is it the money or the inconvenience of not being able to do a load when they are?

Its probably between 15-50p per load maybe more depending on machine energy efficiency and setting and cost of gel/powder and softener used and if you use prewash or other additions.

I do everything on short cycle eco mode (1 hr) and buy cheapo gel (£4.50 for 50 washes) and fabric softener (50p for 45 washes)

Or you could do like we teachers do in the pre school room. Use a sheet to cover interesting things that you don’t want them to get into. :smile:

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it can be quite a cost if laundry is used every single day few times. If the room is dirt cheap as it is, guests need to pay for laundry. Renting room in a house doesnt mean you can use EVERY single amenity in a house.
This is what rules are for. EVen if amenity is allowed to use, guests still need to ask, its only polite. Its not a common laundry in a hallway of a hotel.

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I had a one lawyer staying with me who was really addicted to doing laundry. At that time i had no rules about it. The guy did his laundry almost every night, and every night it was full, i checked. ANd it was not just one load. Doors slam, slam, going back and forh through the kitchen all nite long.
After him i put a rule:5 days minimum stay, 2 loads per week.
Noone really does laundry. Its very rare when its a longer stay. Now, i rented both rooms for 1 months each. And right away i repeat again my rules.

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How does it work now when a guest is honest and does pay? Do they approach you and say “Hi, I would like to do some laundry, how much do I owe you”? - Do you provide all the detergent, etc. and they just pay per load? And do you know how many loads they actually do, or is it just the honor system?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with charging especially if the guest rented a hotel room, and had to pay to do the laundry. Plus, the guest has the convenience of not worrying about sitting at the laundromat, or having someone swipe his laundry in a hotel laundromat.

If you provide the laundry detergent, can your washer take the detergent pods? That way whenever you have a 1 or 2 night stay, you can ask the guest if they plan to do laundry so you can leave the correct amount of pods. Then you can keep track. But if you keep your own laundry detergent in the area, will guests just help themselves and continue to do laundry?

I would just be upfront during the booking process and ask guest to acknowledge they understand that the washer/dryer is available for use; however, guests staying less than 3 nights pay such and such per load.

If you are on instant book then leave the pre-book message they see before hitting submit:

“Please note the cost per load of laundry is $3 per load for 1 and 2 night reservations. Reservations for 3 nights or longer do not need to pay for using the washer/dryer.”

Really if anyone has a problem with this then they can go rent a hotel and sit at the laundromat. Not sure what your price is but just threw in $3 rate.

I have a washer and dryer in the amenities, but not for free.

Also I do not want guests to operate my machines, they are professional machines, and I do not anyone to fiddle around with them. My business depends on them, and I can not have them breaking down because of a guest.

Also I want to know what goes in, some stuff I do not want in my machines, like a dog blanket full of black hair…
Imagine how the next load of white sheets would come out!

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I charge 5$ per load. One girl who stayed 2 days gave me 5$ the first day, but next day she did laundry again, i know while i was not home and never paid me. I said nothing but when she called me in a week wanting to rent again and pay me cash i refused her.
Since that lawyer who stayed in September, 2015, only 2 guests did laundry who stayed less.than 5 days
Chris is right, one guest put his sneakers into washer and may be because they were old they shredded, and that fake leather was all over my machine. Now i tell them not to put shoes in there.

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