2021 has come to an end, and now it’s time to think ahead for the New Year. For BTR and PBSA operators, that means arranging your facilities management budget plans for the next 12 months.
However, the BTR market in the UK is still young, so even the best operators can’t pinpoint where all the best savings are yet. And while the PBSA sector is more established, it never hurts to have another set of eyes look over the numbers to see if better solutions are available.
With decades worth of experience in the American and UK markets, Fjeld Consulting has uncovered several ways to save thousands of pounds across the residential sector.
And as a new year presents us with an opportunity for reflection, we’ve listed tried and tested ways to help with your budgets, which should make 2022 one of the best years financially for your development.
When budgeting for the year ahead, there’s a tendency to only look at one piece of data. For example, if you are looking to create a budget for your lift maintenance, you might only look at how much a call-out costs.
However, you should always try to track two pieces of data to get a much broader picture. For lift repair and maintenance, we’d look at the number of call-outs made per year and the average cost of each call-out. For utility services, we would look at usage across the board and the rates paid.
By tracking multiple data points, you can pinpoint where overages are and find reasonable explanations for them. And once you have that information you can look to improve services (and budgets) year over year.
Insource Your Facilities Maintenance
If you outsource your maintenance requirements, you could be paying over the odds for a service that doesn’t fully meet the needs of you and your residents.
Maintenance teams coordinate their efforts in a way that works for them, which spreads crew members across multiple sites and requires work to be carried out on a ticket basis. They don’t take full ownership of a problem; they just look for the easiest solution, and that quick-fix could end up costing you much more down the line.
Bringing maintenance in-house means you have a team who can quickly assemble to amend any issues, and it will help with your facilities management budget planning for this year and beyond.
Here’s how one of our clients benefitted from insourcing:
We were tasked with bringing a 950-bed PBSA’s expense ratio from 35% down to the industry-standard of 25% while also improving their service reputation.
The property didn’t hold an asset register or copies of its service agreements, which caused many issues when tendering for new agreements.
To ensure our client had greater control going forward, Fjeld Consulting:
- Built comprehensive asset registers
- Created a standard service level agreement for the company
- Updated job descriptions and employee scopes of work
- Utilised SFG20 to create standardised scopes of work
- Carried out tender exercises for specialised planned preventative maintenance and reactive services
- Established contract, key performance indicator and budgetary tracking systems
- Added ancillary income programmes
While we were executing the procurement processes, the property’s operators recruited a reliable in-house facilities management team to take leadership of maintenance.
There were some concerns over the complete removal of the old outsourced management company, so we offered the company’s specialised sub-contractors an opportunity to bid on the agreements.
Fjeld Consulting delivered £400,000 of facilities maintenance savings per year and a new sub-20% expense-to-rent ratio. With a more responsive team to hand and a great deal of improvements, the reputation of the development increased significantly.
Negotiate a New Internet Agreement
With hundreds of residents in your building, you need a high quality and reliable internet service. Your staff will also greatly benefit from improved speeds and stable connections.
But with facilities management budget planning in mind, the costs have to be an improvement on what you’re paying now. For one of our clients, we didn’t just save them money, we brought in additional revenue equal to £50,000 a year.
Here’s how we did it:
We created a tender document so potential providers for our client would give us prices for three options:
- A non-exclusive marketing agreement that allowed multiple providers to service the building’s internet needs with referral fees and revenue shares being paid to the owner
- An exclusive marketing agreement, giving one provider the key position of full partner on the building’s internet with referral fees and revenue shares being paid to the owner
- An inclusive bulk internet service at 100MB billed to residents as a technology fee. Residents would then be given upgrade options of 300MB and 1000MB for appropriate costs and referral fees back to the owner
We negotiated and carried out a non-exclusive agreement that resulted in more than 40% revenue share to the owner. The internet speeds for the development could be advertised as ‘up to 1000MB’, and free wifi was included for communal areas and the building’s office.
Let Fjeld Consulting Help With Your Facilities Management Budget Planning
2022 could be one of the most financially successful years your development has ever seen. And it doesn’t even require expanding your services or renting out more units. The key is to streamline spending and make decisions that will continually reduce costs over the months.
If facilities management budget planning is causing unnecessary stress, reach out to the Fjeld Consulting team, and let us find the best savings for you.