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Wishy washy prices: Laundry cost comparison

Sophomore Matt Avery waits patiently to see if one dry cycle did the job, or if he'll have to pay extra for another spin.

Photo by Tyler Rigg

By Sara Guglielmo, For The Miami Student

One load of laundry at Miami University costs $3.50. It costs $1.75 to wash one load and $1.75 to dry one load. Each extra spin cycle is $.50. For on-campus Miami students, this is merely the status quo, but few understand how these prices are determined.

Matt Frerick, the director for auxiliary planning and facilities at Miami, provided some insight.

"We review our historical rates as well as compare them to the Oxford markets/rates based at local laundromats," Frerick said. "In summer of 2014, we adjusted our laundry rates for the first time since 2012, in part due to analysis that compared Miami to three other laundromats."

But compared to some Oxford laundromats, Miami teeters somewhere in between.

Suds City, a laundromat located on East Chestnut Street, charges $1.75 to $5 for one washer. The price varies depending on the size of the load.

They charge 25 cents for every five minutes in the dryer, which is equivalent to $13.75 for an hour - drastically more expensive than Miami's on-campus laundry options.

Another local laundromat, Locust Laundry on South Locust Street, charges between $1.50 and $4.50 for one washer, the price again dependent on the size of the load.

For one dryer, Locust Laundry charges between 75 cents and a dollar. Its prices for drying and laundry services are cheaper than Miami's laundry prices.

However, the price difference is likely due to the additional services Miami offers, Frerick said.

"Included in Miami University's cost is also our administrative and system/app costs, including the ability for residents to be notified via their smartphone when a washing machine [or] dryer is available, when it is done with its cycle, etc.," Frerick said. "Local laundromats do not offer this time saving feature."

When compared to other regional universities, however, the price of Miami's laundry services is a bit steep.

Ohio State University (OSU) charges $1.50 for the use of a washer and $1 for a dry cycle, or a total of $2.50 for one load of laundry. Ohio University charges $1.75 for one washer and 75 cents for one dryer, which totals to $2.50 as well.

Bowling Green State University instead charges a $50 laundry fee for students to wash and dry their clothes for the whole semester. If a Bowling Green student washes one load of laundry each week, they would be paying about $3.33 for each load.

Miami University's laundry prices are above all three of these other universities.

Frerick said Miami does not compare its laundry prices to other universities because those universities are not in the local market and do not make for equitable comparison.

Miami has a contract with ASI Campus Laundry Solutions that was re-negotiated in the spring of 2012 for an additional six years, Frerick said.

ASI charges the university a flat rate each month for each washer and dryer, totaling about 450 machines. ASI works with over 1000 universities nationwide, including other regional universities like OSU, University of Cincinnati and University of Kentucky.

Frerick said there are many benefits to working with ASI. He mentioned that all university machines were upgraded to new ones in the summer of 2012 and that ASI is very responsive.

He said they perform routine preventative maintenance, and when a concern arises with one of the machines it is addressed by ASI within 24 to 48 hours.

Executive Vice President of ASI Campus Laundry Solutions and Miami alumnus David Drake said his company is preferable because they assume all the responsibilities.

"The benefit of working with us is that we take care of everything," Drake said. "We provide the equipment. We have a person who goes proactively to every laundry room on campus without a call. We are searching out the problems before the students identify the problem."