HOUSTON - For most of us, weekly chores include several loads of laundry, but it's not always a favorite. Proctor & Gamble estimates that Americans spend an average 225 hours a year on laundry. To offer some relief, an app offers to hire someone for the job for those who want it.
Zumeya Sabaj is one of those people. The Spring woman is one of the top performers for SudShare, which bills itself as an 'Uber for laundry' hiring gig-workers to take care of the chore for customers willing to pay.
For Zumeya, it's the perfect job as she's a stay-at-home mom. "I love doing laundry," she says, "It's the smells, for me. I like things that smell good."
In the SudShare world, Zumeya is one of 70,000 'Sudsters': the folks who do the work for the company's estimated 80,000 customers nationwide.
The arrangement sounds simple: For a dollar a pound, customers leave their laundry in a designated place and it gets picked up, washed, dried, folded, and returned the next day.
"You have 30-minute washes, about 40 minutes to dry. In between, I do different things; move around; do the housework; take care of the kids," says Sabaj. "It's kind of broken up and not all at one time."
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SudShare CEO Mort Fertel says the idea was born from imagining an alternative to spending long hours in the laundry room.
"The care and the love that they put into people's laundry is amazing."
While other laundry services have tried and failed, Fertel argues lower overhead and more acceptance of a gig-economy gives SudShare a better chance.
"We really encourage our Sudsters to be kind and be generous and realize that this is a personal service," he says, "Our Sudsters are unbelievable at doing that."
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Zumeya Sabaj embraces that idea completely.
"As a mother, myself, I know how it is to spend that quality bonding time with your family," she says. "It makes me feel like I'm doing more than just laundry."
For some customers, the only surprise comes from learning how heavy their laundry is, but the average order is about 40 pounds. For the 'dollar-a-pound' cost, Sudsters get $0.75, plus tips. Zumeya Sabaj says it's worth about $1,000, a week before her expenses.