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Ways for a Property Manager to Save $$$$

Ways for a Property Manager to Save $$$$

  Perhaps the most crucial challenge facing a property manager is finding ways to cut cost and turn a profit.  The conscientious property managers are constantly looking for ways to meet this goal so, in preparing for this article, I reached out to a few clients and vendors who graciously shared their money saving ideas and experiences.

One idea I found particularly interesting is to brainstorm with other property managers about common needs such as pest control, pool maintenance, trash collction, landscaping, etc. on how to reduce cost.  This economic approach is suggested by CCA Global Partners who created INNOVIA, a community management cooperative that provides members with opportunities to improve profitability.   "The purpose of INNOVIA is to bring together property management firms from across the United States so the services can be achieved at a greater discount than by going it on your own."   (Justin Gargiolo-senior VP of Corporate Management for Great North Property Management, 2013)  This method is designed to be an effective approach to cutting cost while maintaining quality services for residents. 

Additional cost cutting ideas?  Start at the office by reducing  staff or closing on days when business is normally slow leaving the residents with an emergency maintenance number contact number.  Another office cost cutting idea is to "go green". This approach not only saves money but is good for the environment! Florida Power and Light (FPL) recommends switching from conventional light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) which will save as much as 75% on your energy cost and CFL bulbs last an estimated 10 times longer than conventional bulbs. (www.fpl.com). FPL energy experts say, "don't set the thermostat and forget it" instead install a programmable thermostat setting the air conditioner to 78 in the summer and 68 in colder weather.  Instruct your staff, or put post-a-notes around the office, reminding them to turn off lights and equipment when not in use or after hours.  By the way, FPL offers discounts and rebates to energy efficient customers..does your power company? You won't know unless you ask. 

 A small problem left unattended, will become a big one so says Compass Management of Kennesaw, Georgia in their March 2015 blog.  Repairs are normally made in response to a complaint or a tenant moves out, but what about long term tenants unaware of a problem or chooses to ignore it? The solution recommended is to conduct inspections every 6 months, preferably in the spring and fall. These inspections should include seasonal damage to roofs, gutters, leaking pipes, caulking, heating HVAC units,etc.  During the inspections change out the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors-don't rely on your residents to do this. 

HVACs are expensive and will become dangerous if filters are allowed to become dirty or clogged.  A representative of a Palm Coast, Fl. A/C and heating company explained HVAC units need the proper amount of airflow across the coils or heat exchange to operate properly- makes sense.  When the filter is dirty or clogged the unit has to work harder to provide the right amount of air resulting in wasted energy and, ultimately, the unit could be damaged requiring costly repairs, replacement, or (worse case scenario) a spark ignite the dust, pet hair, or lent causing a fire. How often should the filters be replaced?  Engerystar.gov recommends changing filters in each unit every 3 months a the least.

Pools!  The luxury of a pool is a must for many, especially for us Floridians! The key to avoiding unnecessary expenses is staying current with maintenance ( sound familiar?) The pump and filter system need regular cleaning and maintenance otherwise you could face costly repairs, replacement, and angry residents who can't use the pool!  Pool Pricer suggest replacing a conventional pool pump with an energy efficient pump which will not only save money but may make you eligible for a rebate, depending on where you live. (www.poolpricer.com)  If possible have your maintenance staff receive training on pool service and health requirements instead of hiring a pool cleaning service. Lowes (www.lowes.com/projects/other-activities/swimming-pool-maintenance/project) Home Depot  (www.homedepot.com) or Pinch a Penny (www.pinchapenny) are a few who offer tutorial classes on proper pool maintenance, how to use test kits, and the chemicals need to keep your pool sparkling clean and healthy. 

Hidden credit card and checking fees can really add up! A recent blog "About Money" listed the fees associated with credit cards for example: teaser fees, balance transfer fees, minimum balance fees, annual or membership fees (www.financialp;an.about.com) If that weren't bad enough financial expert, Quentin Fottrell, explains in his article "Hidden Fees Eating Your Bank Balance" posted on Market Watch explains there may be as many as 30 hidden fees attached to your checking account (www.marketwatch.com/story).  Many banks don't post a list of these charges before the customer submits an online application thus he/she has no idea!  While much is being done to increase the transparency of bank fees, it is a good idea to read the very fine print or go over your statements with you banker...ask about the fees and how to avoid paying them,  

Evictions are not only unpleasant but expensive!  I researched the cost to evict a tenant in various Florida counties and found the average filling fee is $185.00 add other fees (process serving, attorney, etc.) and the cost of one eviction can reach over $600.00.  The obvious way to avoid this unnecessary expense, and hassle, is to have a consumer reporting agency that is Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant conduct your background checks.  Online background checks, with no hands-on investigation, may result in mistaken identity or miss facts about the applicant found in court records or the opinion of prior landlords and employers. The cost varies from $35.00 to $50.00 and it may take a couple hours to get a report back, but clearly, worth it!

These are a few cost saving ideas...perhaps you have a few to share.



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