Dollars & Sense Trimming Your Building's Operational Costs

When most people think of fat, they think of unsightly rolls on out-of-shape bodies, but the truth is, buildings can be over-padded, too. Given the stagnant economy, boards can't afford to let their buildings just wallow in fiscal waste. It's time to seriously trim the pork from your building budget. I'm not talking about mortgages and finance; that's not my department. Increased property taxes, insurance premiums, and utilities are facts of life in New York City, and while complaining may feel better in the short term, there are decisive steps you can take to lower the day-to-day expenses in your building - and avoid paying the price for waste.

Payroll

When looking for where to save money on your building's payroll, the place to begin is overtime. I am not suggesting you eliminate overtime altogether, but there are times when overtime may not have been necessary - like when a repair could have waited till the next day. By the same token, if an employee calls in sick, ask yourself if this position could have been filled without using overtime hours?

Also consider other ways to compensate staff besides automatic overtime - what about swapping overtime for time off? There are those employees that would prefer to have time off rather then be paid for overtime.

Also examine your building's needs during the holidays. On holidays, your building staff should be bare minimum. This saves thousands in overtime pay.

Man Power

Make more efficient use of your building's manpower. In the early "˜60s, there was a new breed of professional called an "efficiency expert" - sometimes referred to as the "hatchet man" - who specialized in cutting costs and boosting the productivity of a corporation or a business. Make yourself into your building's own private hatchet man. For example, most plumbers send out two men - a plumber, and the plumber's helper - yet a third of the time, only one man is really needed. If two men are needed, why not use your building's handyman or superintendent to help out instead of paying for the plumber's helper? The difference is about $30 to $40 per hour.

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