Every apartment laundry room needs an upgrade eventually. If you chose your last machines wisely, they lasted a very long time. That means the newer machines may have new and unfamiliar features that you're not sure you need -- and you might not be sure if your tenants want them, either. Instead of guessing and buying machines that your tenants aren't happy with, look for a distributor that offers a rental program. With short-term rental equipment, you can experiment and see which machines your tenants prefer.
Rent a Mixture of Styles
Don't assume your tenants will want one style or another and don't buy a particular style because it seems like the in-thing to do. For example, front-loading washers seem like they are the machine that everyone is buying, but they're not the machine that everyone is using — many tenants still prefer top-loading washers. Rent a mix of styles; for example two top-loaders and two front-loaders. You can monitor use over the life of the contract to see which styles people want to use more.
Track Repair Calls
Rental programs typically offer a repair contract where the distributor will provide repairs for no additional cost (assuming you and your tenants didn't treat the machines so badly that they broke down). Track the repair calls over the life of the contract (even short-term rental contracts) to see if one style required more repairs or more cleaning than the other styles you've rented. That repair record will likely continue once you buy the machines, so you want models that need as little repair or deep cleaning as possible.
Toward the end of the rental term, survey the residents to see what they thought of the new machines. Find out if they would have preferred certain features; for example, maybe the new water-wise washers didn't offer a full rinse cycle (some top-loader models spray the laundry to rinse it instead of filling the tub with water) and tenants felt their laundry wasn't as clean. Or maybe you tried front-loader washers only to find that residents started taking their laundry to a local laundromat that still offered top-loading machines.
Once you've gotten a better idea of which machines your tenants will use and how to take care of them, you can switch from renting to buying. A laundry distributor may offer separate repair service contracts once you purchase the equipment, making your new machines an even better buy.