Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
A rise in inflation has everyone thinking about lowering their costs wherever possible. For property Managers, the challenge of keeping overhead expenses low and tenant morale remains high a top priority regardless of the current financial climate. Property management Companies are always looking for smart ways to keep costs down, from utilities to building maintenance and all of the other bills in between.
So what does that mean for your property and managing those costs with an eye on your bottom line? Consider the following solutions and think about how they may be able to help you lower the operating expenses at your rental property.
1. Conserve water
Sounds easy, right? Monitor your use and you can keep those water bills under control. Unfortunately, many owners and managers aren’t even aware of how much water is being wasted at their properties.
- Undetected leaks have the capacity of increasing your water consumption by nearly one-third of regular usage rates. Watch your water meter closely; If you notice that any of your properties are demonstrating a sharp uptick in water use, you may need to diagnose the problem by searching for any leaks in the plumbing. That leak can be anywhere and it’s likely a small one, drip drip dripping your profits down the drain. If it’s a leak you can see, you can repair it. On the other hand, if the source of the water remains a mystery, you may have a potentially bigger — and more costly — problem on your hands. A leak that you can’t find could be located somewhere deep within the bowels of the property, and it may be causing significant water damage as a result.
- Reduce the rate of use. Rental properties have begun to incorporate special features designed to improve the tenant experience while also making the costs of daily operation more affordable. More management companies are installing highly-efficient alternatives for plumbing fixtures. These include dual-flush toilets, which reduce water use by up to three gallons per flush, and water-efficient showerheads that boast a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) — half the rate of output from traditional showerheads. Since we’re talking about saving money, the idea of swapping out all the showerheads and toilets in your properties can be an expensive proposition. However, there is another option: Instead of going with entirely new fixtures, think about buying aerators and installing those on your faucets and showerheads. They are far more efficient by comparison, even if they don’t offer the same conservation rates as entire fixtures.
2. Replace your landscaping
Think of all the ways you use water at your property. You might be surprised to learn that your choice of landscaping can be a tremendous strain on your resources. Swapping out your bushes, trees and grass for less water-dependent options can save you a ton of green when you’re not spending it on your green thumb. Paving over grassy areas for more inviting common areas that your tenants can enjoy without the need for costly sprinklers and irrigation systems can help water to lower your costs.
3. Switching over to green energy
Property managers have started to realize how affordable it can be to go green as they install more energy-efficient options into their rental units. A reduction in your building’s energy consumption could play as important a role as a reduction in your building’s water usage. Converting to green energy incorporates a variety of measures aimed at reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on your energy bills in the bargain.
Smart thermostats have become more popular as consumers can program these devices to turn the air conditioning on and off automatically — even when they’re away from home The type of lighting you choose to install in common areas and outdoors will also help save money. LED is the way to go now; incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past. You might even consider installing energy-efficient washers and dryers for tenants to use. If you supply the appliances in your units, look for refrigerators that come highly rated for energy efficiency. Taking the time to evaluate the electricity bill in your properties can also give you a clearer picture as to how much energy you could be conserving.
4. Routine maintenance
You know the old saying: “Never put off tomorrow what you can accomplish today.” I wish more property owners and managers would start repeating this like a mantra, because I’ve known too many who have failed to practice even the most basic maintenance on their properties and paid the price later. Perhaps the most costly repair on any property is the roof — and eight times out of 10, the reason for that costly repair was due to a roof that wasn’t regularly cleaned. Branches, leaves and other various debris can collect on the roof of a house or an apartment building and cause serious damage if left unchecked. A damaged roof is a leaky one, and that can get very expensive to repair.
If you aren’t cleaning the roof of your property at a rate of every 18 to 24 months, you’re just asking for higher repair bills down the line. Let me assure you that the cost of having your roof cleaned by a professional is far less expensive than having it repaired by that same professional. Today’s building materials are built to last, but when they are neglected, they will degrade much quicker than you may anticipate.
All of these ways to reduce costs do require some modicum of financial investment. But spending a little now can make sure you pay a lot less later on. A responsibly-maintained rental property continues to generate revenue because tenants want to live there. Always keep that in mind.