Community Property Management: Saving Money on Common Area Maintenance
The common areas of an HOA community contribute to its aesthetic and recreational opportunities. The peace and quiet of a private park in spring; a sparsely populated community swimming pool in the heat of summer; walking trails that weave in and out of autumnal scenery – these are some of the benefits that make a managed community worth living in, but they also require lots of upkeep. When an HOA needs to trim maintenance costs, decreasing funding for the management of common areas is a common cost-cutting measure. Is there a way to economize on common areas without the areas suffering decline?
When they decide to get creative with cost cutting ideas, most communities find ways to save money on community management services without compromising the appearance of common areas. Below are some great ways to make common area maintenance less costly.
Organize a Volunteer Gardening Group
For many people, gardening is more of a pleasure than a chore. Organizing a volunteer gardening group allows green thumbs to perform a pleasurable activity while giving back to the community. The group can focus on light work such as maintaining flowerbeds while heavier work such as tree trimming continues to be outsourced to a landscaping contractor.
Switch Vendors Wisely
Hiring new, less expensive vendors will save money, but remember, the goal is to receive the same level of service for a lower price, not a lower level of service for a lower price. If the board feels current vendors are too costly, it should request the assistance of its community management company to help replace them with new ones.
Water Grounds Based on Weather Conditions
Most irrigation systems are programmed to water grounds at set intervals, regardless of the weather. If grounds are watered during a stretch of rainy days, utility water is wasted. Using the irrigation system based on weather conditions requires more attention from community management services workers, but depending on the climate of the community, instituting the practice could save thousands of dollars annually.
Plant Perennials Instead of Annuals
Annual flowers such as marigolds, begonias, daisies, fan flowers, and snapdragons make great landscaping accents, but so do the perennial blossoms of catmint, Peruvian lilies, coneflowers, and roses. If the community has numerous flower beds, filling them with flowers that bloom year after year can save more dollars than an English rose garden has petals.
Hire Contractors Instead of Employees
If a community needs to hire maintenance workers, it can save money by hiring independent contractors instead of employees. Independent contractors do not receive benefits and pay their own taxes. A community can save thousands of dollars a year by hiring an independent contractor instead of an employee.
In the current economy, managed communities need to be creative about cutting community management costs for common areas. The ideas above are some of the measures communities take to cut maintenance costs without disrupting community management services, or causing common areas to decline.