Tired of doing laundry? There is a decidedly app solution.
SudShare connects people with laundry and people who will do the laundry, for a dollar or two a pound.
Lindsay Hirschfeld was really sick of walking to her apartment complex’s laundry room with piles of clothes to wash.
Not only was it a time-consuming and unwieldy chore, but the machines were small and, with a cost of $2.25 for a charge, it could add up quickly. Then count the waiting time. With just a few machines for the entire building, the process was long and tedious for the single mother of a 2-year-old.
So one day last fall, Hirschfeld turned to Google to see if there were any laundry services near her Haverhill home.
She found SudSharea company that the CEO says is “making laundry outsourcing the norm,” and it’s been a game-changer, Hirschfeld said.
SudShare is the first and only national laundry service, according to the company.
From an app, and for a dollar a pound, customers are connected with a “sudster” in their area who comes to their home and picks up their bags of laundry left at a designated location. The sudster returns the laundry the next day washed, dried and folded. For $2 a pound, a customer can get same-day service. (A phone line is also available for less tech-savvy guests.)
Launched in 2018 in Baltimore, the company says it now has a presence in more than 500 cities nationwide and has more than 150,000 customers. About 5,000 new “sudsters” join each month. According to the company, sudsters delivered more than 5 million stacks of laundry last year, and top sudsters earn more than $5,000 a month.
For Maureen Brake, a southerner in Haverhill, the ability to work from home on her own schedule was appealing – and, unlike many others, Brake really love to do the laundry.
“I find it cathartic,” she says. Growing up, Brake was one of eight children and laundry was his assigned chore.
So when she saw an ad for SudShare, Brake knew she would appreciate it and it would allow her to be home with her 4-year-old daughter. Brake can bring her daughter on pick-ups and drop-offs, and since she does a lot of washing, she can take care of what’s going on.
Since joining SudShare last summer, Brake has garnered a mix of new and repeat customers in her Merrimack Valley area. She even has an AirBnB among her clients. Brake earns enough to fund extra expenses and mini-trips. Her clients range from single professionals to families, parents with new babies and seniors. Depending on the customer, the amount of detergent varies of course.
“My clients are a wide range of single people or around 20 pounds or less [per order], to a family of six, which is usually around 60+ pounds when you include towels and/or bedding,” she said. “If I average every client I’ve had this week, the [order] is 40 pounds.
The convenience of manual work from home is appealing to many, says CEO Mort Fertel. Sudsters aren’t restricted to fixed hours or working at a desk, he said, and the face-to-face aspect of the job, unlike ride-sharing services, is comforting.
Fertel credits his wife with the idea for SudShare and says his teenage son created the initial version of the app.
Today, you can use an app to get to the airport or order groceries, but he noted times haven’t caught up when it comes to laundry.
“It’s 2023 and there have been time-saving innovations in the laundry since the invention of the washer and dryer,” Fertel said.
Customers are willing to pay for convenience, Fertel said, and pay someone to cut their hair, give a manicure or mow their lawn. Why not the laundry too?
And in addition to convenience and time saved for customers, Fertel added, the sudster is going to do it better than you. They know how to do it right and how to treat clothes. “Laundry is a craft,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a DIY task.”
When Brake became a sudster, she said she turned to YouTube to learn how to fold the dreaded fitted sheet.
“I was terrible in that,” she said. Luckily, with the help of some video tutorials, she mastered the confusing task. In their reviews, customers are quick to praise — and a little amazed — the way their sheets look.
These days, Brake said she cringes — and has to laugh — when she finds unmatched socks in piles of laundry.
For Hirschfeld, one of Brake’s customers, it was obvious from her first order that the sudster takes great pride in her work. Each load comes back neatly organized in her and her son’s pile of clothes.
“I can tell she really likes it; I couldn’t duplicate its immaculate folding if I tried,” she said with a laugh.
With the laundry in someone else’s hands, Hirschfeld can now take care of other projects around his home and get chores done faster.
“I will definitely pay for the convenience,” she said.
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