How to Budget in Multifamily: 5 Changes To Reduce Costs
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How to Budget in Multifamily: 5 Changes To Reduce Operational Costs

Posted on July 20, 2023 by Grace Hill

How to Budget in Multifamily: 5 Changes To Reduce Operational Costs

As a multifamily manager, you are under constant pressure to reduce operational costs, but that doesn’t mean the budget has to suffer. In fact, with just a few simple changes to the budget, you can improve the bottom line while maintaining efficiency. To do that, let’s look at five budget changes multifamily managers can make to save money without sacrificing quality. With these strategies, you’ll be able to manage your budget better and ensure your business stays profitable.

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Evaluate the Current Budget and Identify Areas for Improvement

In order to budget better and reduce operational costs, the first step is to evaluate the current budget and identify areas for improvement. Start by examining the financial statements and reports for your multifamily property, taking note of any recurring expenses that seem excessive or unnecessary. Look for areas where you may be overspending, such as utilities, maintenance, or marketing expenses. 

One of the most powerful evaluation tools at your disposal is the Year-over-Year (YOY) comparison. By analyzing your property’s financial performance over a specific period, such as the past year, you can identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. However, it’s not enough to look at your own data; you need to benchmark against industry standards to understand where you truly stand. Industry benchmarks provide a holistic view of how well you’re performing compared to your competitors, allowing you to identify opportunities for growth and optimization.

Which performance metrics should you focus on? While there are numerous metrics to consider, some key ones include vacancy rates, turnover costs, maintenance expenses, and marketing effectiveness. By carefully monitoring and analyzing these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that will help you reduce operational costs, increase ROI, and ultimately improve the overall performance of your multifamily property.

It’s also essential to recognize hidden cost-saving opportunities, such as outdated training programs or inefficient processes eating into your budget. Look at the policies and procedures your property management team has in place to determine if any changes can be made to reduce waste and increase efficiency. By continuously evaluating your current budget and identifying areas for improvement, you can ensure that your multifamily property remains fiscally responsible and continues to thrive.

Streamline Operations To Save Time and Money

In the fast-paced world of multifamily management, finding ways to save time and money is essential to running a successful and fiscally responsible operation. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by streamlining your operations.

First and foremost, closely examine your current processes and identify areas that can be streamlined or automated. For example, consider implementing a property management software system to automate rent collection, maintenance requests, and lease renewals. Automating these processes can free up valuable time for your staff to focus on more critical tasks.

Next, look for opportunities to consolidate tasks and eliminate redundancies. For example, if you have multiple apartment communities, consider centralizing certain functions, such as maintenance, to reduce overhead costs. By consolidating tasks, you can reduce the staff needed and minimize the time spent on repetitive tasks.

Additionally, consider implementing a preventative maintenance program to identify and address potential issues before they become costly repairs. By conducting regular inspections and performing routine maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of equipment and reduce the need for expensive repairs.

Finally, prioritize staff training and development to ensure your team has the necessary skills to perform their roles efficiently. Investing in solutions like Grace Hill’s training increases productivity, reduces errors, and ultimately saves money in the long run.

Assess Your Policies and Training To Reduce Waste

To effectively reduce operational costs, it’s vital for multifamily managers to assess their current policies and training procedures. Often, inefficiencies and waste can be found in these areas, resulting in unnecessary expenses. 

Start by reviewing your existing policies and procedures. Look for any areas that may be causing wasteful practices or redundancies. For example, are there unnecessary steps in your maintenance request process? Are you using outdated systems or software that could be streamlined or replaced? Identifying and addressing these issues can eliminate waste and improve efficiency.

Additionally, consider the training provided to your staff. Are they adequately trained on cost-saving practices and procedures? Are they aware of the importance of conserving resources? Do you have an LMS that allows you to build and assign custom training like Grace Hill’s Training LMS? Investing in proper training can go a long way toward reducing waste and lowering operational costs.

Furthermore, it’s important to regularly communicate and reinforce policies and expectations to your team. Solutions like Grace Hill’s Policy solution help you centralize your policies in one location so that everyone on the team can access them anytime and on any device. 

Ensure that everyone is aware of the cost-saving initiatives and encourage them to contribute ideas for improvement. You can foster a culture of accountability and responsibility by involving your staff in the process.

Five Ideas To Reduce Operational Expenses


  1. Sustainable Landscaping: Utilizing sustainable landscaping practices, such as planting drought-resistant plants and using water-efficient irrigation systems, can save money on water bills and reduce maintenance costs. Request a meeting with your landscaping supplier to discuss a timeline and options for your region that will help you achieve your goals.
  2. Employee Training on Energy and Water Conservation: Educating employees on energy and water conservation practices can reduce utility costs and contribute to a more environmentally-friendly community. This can include turning off lights and appliances when not in use and reporting any leaks or malfunctions in plumbing systems. Grace Hill’s Training LMS allows you to upload and build custom training courses to educate employees on special procedures.
  3. Inefficient Office and Maintenance Processes: Analyzing and improving office procedures and maintenance processes can increase efficiency and reduce labor costs. In practice, this might include utilizing technology to streamline communication and task management and ensuring equipment is maintained correctly to minimize downtime and repair costs.
  4. Reduce Staff Turnover With Better Onboarding: High staff turnover rates can be costly in terms of recruitment and training expenses. Improving the onboarding process and offering opportunities for professional development can increase employee retention rates and save money in the long term. By combining Grace Hill‘s Training and Policy solutions, you can ensure new employees are adequately trained to be productive and succeed at their job.
  5. Create a Preventative Maintenance Schedule: Developing a preventative maintenance schedule can help identify and address issues before they become significant problems, reducing repair costs and downtime. Regular inspections and maintenance of HVAC systems, plumbing, and appliances can extend their lifespan and save money on replacement costs.

Cut, Innovate, and Improve

In today’s economic climate, cutting costs and maximizing efficiency are crucial for multifamily managers. However, finding areas to reduce expenses can be a challenge. Successful managers understand that it’s not just about cutting line items from the budget but also about improving systems and processes to increase overall efficiency.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to add expenses, investing in new systems or tools to better onboard teams or communicate policies can realize huge savings down the road — often with better results than simply cutting line items!

While reducing operational expenses may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. By evaluating the current budget and identifying areas for improvement, multifamily managers can uncover hidden savings opportunities. Streamlining operations is another effective way to save time and money, allowing managers to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Assessing policies and training programs can also help identify areas where waste can be reduced. Managers can eliminate unnecessary expenses and improve overall performance by implementing targeted training and enforcing stricter policies.

Reducing operational expenses is not just about cutting costs but also about finding innovative solutions and improving processes. Multifamily managers who embrace this mindset and make strategic budget changes will not only save money but also improve overall efficiency and quality of service.

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

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