Buyers Access Solutions
Navigating the "pre-NTV" & turnkey process, together!: Renewal Series Part 2
by Christin D. on 6/18/2020 1:13:00 PM
Renewal Series: Part 2 – Navigating the “Turnkey” process together
Restructuring the process
In part 1 of this special renewal series, we examined how to forecast as accurately as possible for upcoming turns to begin scheduling and sourcing supplies. Though the industry has seen a decline in resident turnover, turns will still be inevitable. Some suggestions below can help you navigate current turn-key procedures and provide support and solutions for some pandemic imposed challenges.
Notice to vacate walks (or lack thereof)
Upon receiving a resident’s “Notice to Vacate” (NTV), an industry best practice is to notice the resident of entry for their “pre-Notice to Vacate” inspection, explaining it’s just to set expectations. These inspections usually are done anywhere 14-45 days prior to move-out. Under current conditions, access has become much more restricted, so how should you proceed scheduling upcoming turns?
The recent Pandemic has made access more difficult, but there are options if you are unable to walk the unit for condition and scheduling. By looking at workorder history, length of residency, and asking residents if they have any questions for their move out inspection, you may be able to field some solid scheduling needs. Urgency in scheduling a contractor for needed turnkey activities with a potential back up plan is key navigating the current landscape. You don’t want to assume that one contractor will always be available, especially with any existing furloughs or reduced staffing practices currently in place with key contractors.
The “turn-key” process as we know it, knew it, and how to navigate it
To help navigate the turn process, below is a guide for each action and potential resources through Buyers Access or industry suppliers:
The “Standard”, “Challenge”, and “New Needs”:
1- Pre NTV-walk:
Standard: Typically done 14-45 days in advance of move-out with resident to inspect for repairs needed, and once again after current resident(s) vacate.
Challenge: unable to enter due to pandemic restrictions
New Needs: Social distancing protocols, PPE, ordering supplies in advance, scheduling back up for contractors in case they are unavailable due to pandemic shifts in labor and health.
2- Move out inspection:
Standard: conducted with or without the resident taking photos to generate Final Account Statement. Lock change is completed at this time and the maintenance and repair items identified can be scheduled with turn contractors (Paint, Clean, Carpet Cleaning or Replacement).
Challenge: Contractors may be unavailable due to pandemic impacts, so schedule back up or get basic turnkey supplies such as paint, carpet cleaning solution and minor equipment if warranted.
New Needs: Sanitization protocols recommended by CDC and other industry resources such as NAA and NMHC. Buy enough turnkey common items for a couple months in case supply chains become an issue due to substantially increased demand or extended supply challenges.
3- Lock change:
Standard: Change locks upon surrender of unit by resident, or as needed upon eviction.
Challenge: Contactless operations can impact the surrender action causing legal issues if you are not careful. Also, contactless operations pose challenge to in person surrenders and lock changes.
New Needs: RemoteLock, a Buyers Access supplier can help you with touchless and contactless lock changes. See more about RemoteLock HERE
4- Trash out:
Standard: Follow legally recommended guidelines when performing Trash Outs to minimize liability risks.
Challenge: Evictions in bulk, limited PPE available, extenuating circumstances exist, grey areas to consider in evictions, and potential adjustments to local laws that are abnormal restricting landlord activities.
New Needs: Consult your legal counsel before proceeding with a Trash Out where surrendered possession is in question.
Standard: NTV walks revealed much of what would be needed in the past but without the ability to enter units in some areas, plus potential for shortages in supplies, ordering further in advance or more than typical may be prudent. If you have problems sourcing products, or would like to better understand advance purchasing needs Buyers Access can help. Contact us HERE.
Challenge: Supply chain issues, ambiguity in forecast accuracy.
New Needs: Buyers Access has helped our members throughout the pandemic to source high demand items, and to get ahead of the curve. If you need someone to help execute a smooth transition between all turnkey and operational purchasing activities, Buyers Access is a good place to start. Contact us for a free analysis, or a call to discuss how we can help.
6- Paint, Clean, and Carpet Cleaning:
Standard: Schedule vendors for each activity upon pre-NTV walk.
Challenge: Availability of qualified resources to perform turns, and Pandemic imposed changes.
New Needs: Buyers Access members have access to a network of supplier partners and vendor resources, as well as access to some in house solutions to the standard turn key contractor process. Suppliers within our network provided educational materials and training to operate new equipment to paint, clean, etc. If you need help with this, contact Buyers Access.
7- Final Walk and Lock Change, unit is complete!
Industry best practices continue to evolve over time within the multifamily industry. Pandemic and other emergencies that are unpredictable can often create the need develop shifts in approach, or changes in practices to continue to serve our residents and teams. Prior to approaching the “Pre-NTV” walks, step back and weigh the options.
Buyers Access Solutions
Communicating in socially distant times featuring Courtesy Connection
by Christin D. on 5/4/2020 6:44:00 PM
Social distancing has become a familiar concept as the recent pandemic threat continues to effect communities world-wide. Defined by the CDC as, “keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home”, the 6-foot recommendation is strongly encouraged to prevent further spread of illness. This and other health and safety recommendations have created an immediate need to adjust operational protocols to ensure the safety of residents and team members, while continuing property operations. But how do you continue to operate without being able to physically connect with prospects and residents on-site?
Onsite teams immediately responded to new restrictions imposed by the pandemic, coming up with ways to still connect with communities despite absence of physical presence. Smartphone and video conferencing technologies have allowed teams to create new virtual solutions helping to continue “business as usual”, when it is anything but. Eager to support these efforts, multifamily suppliers have quickly launched changes to create streamlined operations and efficient practices, pandemic or not. Below are some new innovative ways to address social distancing and keep residents engaged in socially distanced times.
Courtesy Connection launches the ultimate solution to off-site phone follow up and there's an "app"!
On-site multifamily teams have traditionally reported in person to their respective communities daily and have been a consistent presence residents and prospects could rely on. The phone and ability to “call the office” has always been a vital part of on-site operations, and when calls go unanswered service and resident retention can suffer. With many teams and personnel repositioned off-site after the Covid-19 outbreak, Courtesy Connection, developed a new remote-friendly call solution to help bridge the gap. Now available via app on both iOS and Android devices, Courtesy Connection can provide owners and operators with a “call-masking” platform that allows remote telecommunications without revealing staff phone numbers. This new solution is fully integrated with most property management software systems and all calls are recorded and reported for record keeping and increased visibility. Ryan Nigro, the owner of Courtesy Connection introduced us to this new innovative solution and commented:
“When I was putting together Courtesy Connection's 2020 feature roadmap, a worldwide pandemic was not a contingency for which I had planned. When it started to become apparent that Coronavirus would dramatically change how we do business, we immediately changed course so we could focus on helping our clients remain effective, safe, and productive during this challenging time”.
This is one of many, brilliant solutions Courtesy Connection offers which are fully able to integrate with multifamily management software. For more information about Courtesy Connection visit www.courtesyconnection.com or contact Buyers Access for more information.
Mobile Doorman: your socially distanced "sense of community"
Mobile Doorman is a multifamily communication tool that makes it easier for property management teams to share messages with their residents. This software solution has an app available for residents to download on both iOS and Android devices. The app offers easy access to a variety of conveniences and activities, and improved communications with the property staff. Work orders can be submitted by residents, and management personnel can send messages, post announcements communicate more effectively with residents via the app. A win-win for everyone.
But the benefits don’t stop at the management team or business to consumer levels. Residents can also communicate with each other via the “virtual bulletin” feature, while staying sheltered in place. Reaching even further is the ability to support local providers through the Mobile Doorman Marketplace, where businesses can advertise specials in the area viewable to Mobile Doorman users. Who doesn’t want to support restaurants and grab a to-go order? Additionally, with many amenities closed, virtual resident events are gaining popularity. Mobile Doorman has an invitation and RSVP feature to schedule events, provide details and encourage participation. Work orders, amenity rentals, and other features exist, and the system is updated automatically through integration available with most major property management software platforms. For more information on Mobile Doorman visit www.mobiledoorman.com and email our friend Mikel Persky for more information at email@example.com.
Please share your pandemic new and innovative strategies with us!
Service and communication are at the core of multifamily community success. Without it, the sense of purpose and belonging is difficult to maintain. The multifamily industry, whether owner, operator or supplier, have all had to dramatically adjust to “socially distancing” times. Innovative solutions at all levels have not only made operating under new challenges easier but offer new efficiencies long-term. Buyers Access has over 50 supplier partners and leverages over 750K units, helping companies and properties to optimize purchasing, forecasting, best practices, processes and technology solutions. Please feel free to ask how we can help you! For more information visit www.buyersaccess.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buyers Access Solutions
Smart purchasing practices can save BIG money! As featured in Colorado Real Estate Journal's Q1 Multifmaily Properties Quarterly edition
by Christin D. on 4/21/2020 11:03:48 AM
Buyers Access Solutions
Rent Growth VS. Expense Optimization - How do you measure up?
by Christin D. on 1/7/2020 4:50:00 PM
Another great way to drive NOI – rent growth alone is so 2019!
Pushing rent increases to drive NOI and relying on income alone sooner or later will take a back seat, and expense optimization will again prevail as the industry cycle moves towards economic slowdown. Multifamily management firms that stay ahead understand that NOI through expense optimization can be achieved easily by partnering with a Purchasing and Procurement Service Organization.
While intelligent expense management is always a common goal among companies, the opportunities to maximize this area of your business are on a different plane. Purchasing optimization as a strategy to drive NOI requires resources and expertise at a different caliber than one can do alone, which is why you need a specialized Purchasing Optimization Organization to partner with like Buyers Access.
Purchasing Quiz: Your purchasing defined
Activity: Select the number of each statement that your company currently has in place for purchasing and procurement activities.
- Onsite teams have the necessary tools to complete purchasing activities effectively through our company resources and systems.
- Our current payables process eliminates pricing and invoicing discrepancies.
- We have the best pricing negotiated with multifamily industry MRO suppliers such as Home Depot Pro Multifamily, HD Supply, Maintenance Supply Headquarters, and like organizations.
- The procurement department handles purchasing activities at our company. For larger projects and renovations, we have regional maintenance and construction project managers that ensure efficiencies.
- Our company has reporting metrics that track product spend, pricing, contractor scopes, and uncovers opportunities for further optimization.
- We have less than 1000 units and don’t need a purchasing service.
Now that you have your numbers match them with the numeric category below and unlock insight into how to better drive NOI through expense optimization.
Don’t skip anything!
"Our site teams oversee our purchasing operations and have a (weekly) report they turn in showing the efficiency."
Operating efficiency is becoming harder to achieve and the reliance on site teams to a level that drives NOI is sadly unrealistic. Staffing challenges plague the multifamily industry, especially in maintenance. Residents also are now expecting an “On-Demand” lifestyle now that services like “Amazon-Prime” and others are able to deliver faster than ever. The expectation as created the same “On-Demand” expectations for residents and site-teams have to work fast! We can’t overlook it or balk on adopting it, we must keep up with innovation and deliver. Residents are the number one revenue driver in the multifamily industry so taking care of them to exceed their expectations is important and takes priority. Take care of your teams and your residents and place purchasing optimization in the hands of an inclusive purchasing organization specializing in the multifamily industry, such as Buyers Access.
"Our site managers oversee our payables and are always catching duplicate invoices and price discrepancies right when they happen."
That is a good start, but your manager has so much more on their plate, such as monthly renewals, aggressive rent increase rates challenging retention efforts, overseeing maintenance, etc. The leasing teams, can they help? Where is maintenance? The leasing teams are fighting for their life to get leases and keep the property stabilized while growing GPR (Gross Potential Rent) in a highly competitive market. Maintenance is short-staffed and over-worked, your lender inspection is next week. Let us be the solution. Buyers Access gives on-site teams additional bench-strength through people who support daily purchasing activities, reporting, and contractor sourcing on-demand.
"We have contract pricing with our suppliers already, and we get bulk discounts as it is."
Activity: Test your consistancy-
Let’s validate the price on one item by answering a simple question. You can do this on your own to see if this solution is performing at its highest potential.
- Were you charged the same price on every faucet of the same item number from the same supplier in 2019 company or portfolio-wide?
- If not, how many different prices were you charged for that same faucet from the same supplier in 2019?
"Our procurement department already standardized the company product selection and negotiates these deals."
Having a procurement department is wonderful! Can your procurement department offer "On-Demand" support to your on-site maintenance and office teams to help with things like emergency contractor sourcing, returning incorrect items received, etc.? Do they offer an all-in-one eCommerce site to minimize the risk of pricing errors, save time through automation, or work to source and select "top-item" lists? Buyers Access' model is inclusive and will provide both managers and leadership visibility through customized reporting in real-time, approval controls, and other innovative solutions and strategies.
Are you still trying to figure out the answer to the faucet question in category 3?
- Let’s talk reporting.
The visibility you gain through operating data-driven purchasing activities makes answering this question easy. You may be struggling, and that is okay. Line item analysis and segregating products in GL code reports by supplier and item type can take a lot of time, time you may not have or can be better spent focusing on resident retention. Once you do find these metrics, the second part is cross referencing to ensure that agreed upon or "contractor" negotiated pricing between you and your supplier pricing was used 100% of the time, company-wide.
You do want the same low prices each time, correct? Of course you do! And why work harder when you can work smarter?
And finally.... Scenario 5
"We have less than 1000 units and don't need any purchasing optimization."
If you are under 1000 units and don’t think that this is applicable, think again! We have a special Small Units Program that leverages resources to get them the same deals realized by larger organizations when buying maintenance and repair supplies. Click here to learn about our Small Units Program now.
AND....Back to the Faucet activity in Scenario 3 ... Did you find the answer?
My final proposal for you is this:
Buyers Access will answer your faucet question AND will uncover the total savings opportunities based on your companies personal puchasing behavior for 2019. That takes care of time savings through finding the answer to the faucet exercise (and future pricing verifications) faster, and money saved through leveraged resources and strategy.
CLICK TO GET ACCESS- to begin the process.
We want you to make an informed decision about the fate of your NOI and we can show you your data, not a hypothetical example. We want you to have all the information to support your taking the next step and saving 10-20% on purchasing without sacrificing quality or quantity.
Thanks for playing and don't forget...
Rent growth as a strategy alone is SO 2019 and it's 2020!
Buyers Access Solutions
Behind every successful property: Account Managers of Buyers Access
by Christin D. on 12/13/2019 2:46:00 PM
Behind Every Successful Property: Buyers Access Account Management Inside Edition
On-site property management teams face insurmountable challenges that are highly unpredictable at times. Every day, opportunity to overcome multiple obstacles exists. With the best intentions, purchasing activities frequently cannot be managed by on-site teams without additional support. That is where Buyers Access and the Account Management team come into play and can add extensive supplemental resources to aid in the domination of purchasing and procurement activities. Your company on-site teams will not fully execute and optimize purchasing by working just a bit harder or longer. They need expert resources and support, they need a Buyers Access Account Manager.
Account Managers at Buyers Access are what your company needs to outperform the average competitor in today’s market. Our Account Management group is responsible for optimizing the purchasing of 600,000+ units across the nation, and we have been doing it for 35+ years. In addition, a full Member Services department exists to support the daily expense optimization at your properties, and act as an extension of your site teams by doing administrative legwork.
So, what is this mysterious species, a Buyers Access Account Manager?
Buyers Access Account Manager (n.):
1. Heroic purchasing optimization warriors who save property management companies from wasting time and money. 2. A secret weapon who requires a diet of wasted time, money, and frivolous spend. 3. Obsessive, over caring, sometimes crazed, forward thinkers.
Sometimes the full impact of the many challenges experienced at the on-site level are hard to realize in full capacity if the observer is not in the trenches. The Account Management team at Buyers Access is nothing short of a dynamic group of people, but how can they impact your business.
Below are a few examples of the many successes that took place in 2019.
- Over 500 toilets were purchased and installed, generating a total savings of $70,000! Strategic sourcing and negotiation combined with a streamlined, all-in-one solution created this huge savings. Through the help of a Buyers Access Account Manager, when this project was rebid under an all-in-one philosophy, the new quote was $20K less than the best quote previously obtained.
- A medium-sized, established, customer elected to have in-person training for over 50 of their on-site team members. Closing out 2019, the results were an increased NOI through an overall reduction in purchasing expenditures. The team reported that the training helped them a great deal and they feel they operate more efficiently through using the Buyers Access resources at their full capacity.
- 15 consecutive renovations executed within one year were accomplished by an owner with the support of a Buyers Access Account Manager. The Account Manager worked together with the owner to plan, track, standardize, install, audit, and execute all 15 projects, and acted as the de-facto Project Manager. Products with higher durability replaced less expensive options, however this member paid less! Credits and additional rebates were found that the company qualified for, pricing consistency checks and balances were established, and savings/rebates were substantial. This made investor calls a breeze for leadership!
2019 strategy won't make 2020's NOI
Multifamily management companies have weathered significant changes in regulations in 2019. New laws ranging from rent control implementation in some states to extension of the “notice-to-cure” period on evictions in others, to revenue from ancillary income being more heavily regulated by some local jurisdictions . All these new challenges have made not only the 2020 budget process more difficult, but also day to day operations. Buyers Access members hold a distinct advantage for many of these challenges through their connection to our program. They have Account Managers negotiating on their behalf often uncovering saving opportunities, standardizing product lists yielding competitive and consistent pricing, and uncovering potential rebates by aggregating sourcing from suppliers.
The bar is set high and it raises daily. Through brilliant strategy, firm negotiations, and endless support, companies win, and so do we for them! Most Buyers Access team members have been on site and know first- hand the challenges that exist, they have lived it. Strategic planning on budgets with Buyers Access vs. those without are like night and day due to the support, resources, and saving strategies Account Managers help implement.
I asked one Account Manager to tell me about an experience where she impacted the lives of others through the mastery of her craft, and here’s what she said.
"I would have to say that happens daily. Having been on-site, I know how much we do daily to help managers and maintenance staffs, and they do too. Sometimes it is as simple as telling them which dishwasher they usually order. We are always here to lean on. That's a big deal."
What is stopping you from gaining “access” with the Buyers Access program at your organization?
Contact Buyers Access
Buyers Access Solutions
National Recycling Day - State of Recycling and Multifamily Real Estate
by Christin D. on 11/12/2019 11:32:00 AM
National Recycling Day is November 15th!
This year, National Recycling Day (America Recycles Day) falls on Thursday, November 15th, and encourages communities and their members to spread the word about recycling. America Recycles Day is a “Keep America Beautiful” campaign program focused on educating, motivating, and encouraging recycling, with the goal of engaging and promoting participation in practices to reduce the amount of non-recycled waste. To that extent, many multifamily communities have been hosting events and educating residents about recycling, and best practices to help reduce the environmental impact caused by waste produced at their community. In addition, multifamily I recycling initiatives have evolved substantially since the early days. Below we will take an inside look at multi-family waste management practices, recycling initiatives, and additional benefits created through best practices.
2001: EPA multifamily specific study
In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) embarked on a study focused primarily on the discovery of the extent to which the multifamily industry was employing recycling programs across the nation. Prior to the EPA study, multifamily did not have a clear definition of recycling practices due to falling under a commercial real estate classification. The EPA study sampled 40 communities across the nation and compared single family to multifamily community recycling practices, and their success and shortfalls. The EPA then defined what a successful recycling program should look like in the multifamily business, and how this was accomplished in what was called the “Multifamily and High-Rise Recycling Assessment”. The results of the 2001 survey brought about significant adjustments in multifamily recycling requirements to various jurisdictions throughout the country.
2016: State of curbside report study
In 2016, the State of Recycling report was published by The Recycling Partnership, which analyzed single family and multifamily best practices and effectiveness for recycling. The findings yielded some of the original challenges the EPA uncovered in the 2001 study, primarily due to a large portion of local governments not defining multifamily outside of the commercial sector. In the 2016 study, 465 communities comprising about 36 million residential units (Single family homes and multifamily units) were considered, and the study found that only 25 million units were eligible for curbside collection including recycling as an option. This means that 11 million units of multifamily were still not included as a part of curbside recycling program. Since that point in time, many local jurisdictions have started to require mandatory recycling in multifamily.
Benefits of recycling
Why does our country donate so much time into supporting recycling as an initiative on so many different levels? A plethora of benefits are realized when communities choose to recycle rather than toss waste into landfills. The practice of recycling conserves natural resources such as water, saves energy, prevents pollution, and increases economic security, including the development and creation of jobs available in the manufacturing and recycling industries in the United States. The Recycling Economic Study done in 2016 revealed that 1.57 jobs and $76,000 in wages were generated per 1,000 tons of materials recycled. Recycling also saves the number of trees that need to be cut down to make new paper products when paper is recycled by households. A 2015 survey discovered that 25% of municipal solid waste is due to paper products alone, while plastics accounted for 35 million tons and glass 11.5 million tons of waste. Reducing the amount of waste from these 3 materials alone would have a substantial impact on the environment if more households practiced recycling as a regular activity, especially those in the multifamily sector.
Challenges in Multifamily recycling
As previously stated, multifamily recycling programs have been ambiguous and difficult to measure due to data captured. This is due to multifamily properties being defined as commercial property in many local municipalities, although that is not the only challenged faced. Multifamily communities have little control over what type of waste is thrown into community trash compactors, and the addition of a recycling receptacles beside waste containers and compactors has created confusion for residents. Recycled materials often wind up contaminated by those who don’t know how to recycle properly, or by utilizing inappropriate containers with or without realizing it. Another challenge faced is the practice of encouraging multifamily households to designate a separate container to just recycled materials, often in smaller living spaces. The monitoring of any of these challenges is difficult, and multifamily communities often end up spending more on recycling without seeing high success.
Challenges in U.S. recycling
Until recently, the United States had been sending most recyclable materials to China to be manufactured into goods such as plastics, clothing, and other products. In late 2018, China began restricting recycling imports of certain types, including paper and most plastics, two of the largest recyclable materials in the United States. Unfortunately, waste management companies are now being forced to raise rates, and municipal governments are faced with either paying the higher rates or throwing the recycling away as waste instead. This has left many communities without a choice. As a result, carbon emissions and methane released by recycling decomposing in landfills, and plastic being burned is having a large negative environmental impact on the ozone layer, propelling the environment into an even further undesirable direction.
What is the solution?
It seems like recycling is a thing of the past after researching and realizing the restrictions and costs now imposed on municipalities and consumers. So how can we do our part and continue to recycle? The first step is to be more conscious of the waste we are producing in the first place. Shopping bags, straws, and water bottles are 3 easy items to stop supporting, and by adopting re-usable options instead. Be more conscious of what is going into the recycling bin! Aluminum cans, foil, steel and tin cans, corrugated cardboard, office paper, and #1 and #2 plastics such as water, juice, and salad dressing containers are still encouraged if they must be used. The second part is to be more conscious of how the goods are when thrown into the bin. Cleaning recyclables of all debris and waste such as food residue is key in the expense of processing recyclables, making it a requirement for consideration.
Though there are many who are pessimistic about recycling and take and all or nothing approach, educating yourself and others on the facts is key to continuing any progress in our recycling initiatives, whether it be in a business or multifamily community environment.
Published by: Christin Daniels for Buyers Access® residential multifamily purchasing experts. To connect with Buyers Access and obtain a complimentary purchasing analysis, visit us at www.buyersaccess.com or email us at BASales@buyersaccess.com.
EPA (November 2001). Multifamily Recycling: A National Study. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (EPA530-r-01-018). Retrieved from https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/10000OV5.PDF?Dockey=10000OV5.PDFGreenblatt, Alan (Dec. 2018) Under China’s New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers. Governing: The States and Localities. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html
EPA.gov. How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html.
Buyers Access Solutions
Refuse and Paint Expenses- Budget Edition!
by Christin D. on 8/9/2019 9:42:00 AM
This edition of the Buyers Access® budgeting series takes a look at two of the largest recurring expenses a property realizes in monthly operations; waste disposal services and property painting requirements. Here we will review some of the most complicated issues faced by management companies within these two categories and explore solutions that Buyers Access® can offer access to from vendors within our strategic partnerships network.
About waste, recycling, and valet services
Waste services are not a glamorous, value added benefit that can be seen in day to day operations on a property by residents or prospects. On the other hand, we can guarantee that the waste services (or lack thereof) will be immediately noticed when it goes awry. Receptacle overflows, jammed compactors, nasty smells, and bulk items sitting at the curb take away from a property’s curb appeal, and make for some unhappy residents in no time. Nothing is worse than conducting a weekend leasing tour, and the trash receptacle areas create a detraction to the property. Waste and recycling services may seem like an easy thing to manage from a resident’s perspective, but the behind the scenes “plan” can be a bit more complex.
Waste service needs are unique from property to property. One asset can contain multiple contracts and invoices to process and monitor depending on things like: property location, vendor selection, equipment needs, local ordinances, bulk item disposal needs. and valet recycling and doorstep valet waste services. All-encompassing waste services are sometimes hard to find depending on vendor offerings in the area, requiring management teams to keep track of separate contracts for each of the services. Everything from the hauling of half empty containers to “contaminated” recycling bins that the recycling company can’t haul, causing extra charges and fees for additional services outside of traditional scopes defined.
Buyers Access® and Refuse Specialists work together to offer Buyers Access® members a simple solution to their waste disposal services. Refuse Specialists is a team of waste consultants who analyze, renegotiate, and monitor invoices for property management companies. Their services have no upfront costs, and the savings Refuse Specialists realizes is passed on to customers, saving them 20%-40% on waste expenses without sacrificing services.
Refuse Specialists - 4 Step Solution
- Refuse Specialists contacts each waste company you are currently contracted with and renegotiates the contract keeping it to a minimum of a 5-year term to avoid annual expense increases.
- A waste analysis is conducted on the current waste activities which includes evaluating equipment on site, haul frequencies, and other aspects of the waste health of a property.
- Once the contracts are negotiated based on the analysis of the current health, the contracts are delivered directly to the property management team to review and sign off on when appropriate.
- After execution of the contract(s), Refuse Specialists continues to monitor every invoice that is received for waste and related waste services, extra charges, fees, inefficiencies, and other inaccuracies, saving you time and money!
All about paint
Budgeting for recurring and non-recurring paint expenses
Paint frequently accounts for a large portion of a property budget. Buyers Access®, provides members a competitive advantage through access to national supplier partners; PPG and Sherwin Williams. Members have access to lower pricing, additional design resources, and industry leading expertise through account management by both Buyers Access® and the chosen paint supplier. Through the Buyers Access® program, properties can effectively create a practical strategy to manage all painted surfaces and lower prices, while increasing quality and useful life.
Matching Existing Paint
Paint can vary immensely and create many challenges for properties when it comes to painting surfaces on the interior or exterior of the buildings. Newer properties with freshly painted walls at construction may be difficult to touch up when that first resident moves out because of the commonality of primer not being used when the fresh surface was painted at construction. Paint touch up becomes challenging with varying sheen and primer practices. Paint types must be evaluated considering such things as type of property, average length of resident stay, and even geographical location. Working with the paint suppliers in our program and Buyers Access® simplifies the development of paint programs for a property/company and aids in streamlining paint operations.
Varying Surfaces and Paint Selection
Exterior paint surfaces are diverse and require various textures, qualities, and finishes in order to last on surfaces for the expected life of the paint project. For example, using the incorrect type of paint for a site-wide front door painting project could be detrimental if the paint easily chips when residents enter and exit their homes. Not only do these peeling doors create an eye-sore, they can also cost the property even more money than originally intended if they all must be re-painted due to the improper paint being used originally. Both PPG and Sherwin Williams have a complete exterior paint program that includes such things surveying the exterior needs and photo imaging services. Keeping the exterior of your buildings looking fresh is an investment that can help attract and keep your residents!
Another example of potential shortcomings involved with improper paint selection can come in the form of increased risk and liability. It is common for properties to treat stairs and pathways in and outside the structures with paint as a surface, especially on concrete stairs and pathways. If the concrete is a smooth surface and the paint used is not porous enough or durable enough to withstand being on the floor, the property has increased its exposure to slips, trips, and falls along with the paint possibly peeling in an unreasonably short about of time. This can potentially cost the property money and time directly through re-touches or re-done paint projects, as well as liability issues.
Our team can help
Partnering with Buyers Access® eases the budgeting and decision-making process in waste and paint expenses. Buyers Access has key supplier partners: Refuse Specialists, Sherwin Williams, and PPG, who can aid in the budgeting process for these larger recurring expense categories. Not only do members have access to a full member services department and account management department within Buyers Access®, but they also have additional resources from industry leading experts specializing in streamlining paint and waste activities for multi-family communities. Contact our sales department today at email@example.com to learn how we can help your team through a successful budget season. If you are a current Buyers Access® customer, reach out to your account manager for more information regarding the programs and how you can get started.
Buyers Access Solutions
All About Ancillary Income - Budget Edition
by Christin D. on 7/5/2019 1:58:21 PM
Ancillary income, as it relates to multi-family housing, is revenue generated from necessities and value-added services offered to residents. This income category is designed to increase opportunities and can range in diversity across markets. Ancillary income should be accounted for when projecting budget numbers for the next fiscal period, typically year over year. Below we will take a closer look at the top sources of ancillary income often analyzed during budget season.
It is not uncommon for telecommunication services to be a part of ancillary income in multi-family communities. Opportunities for additional income can come from wireless internet, cable, or satellite services being billed back to resident for both common area and/or private usage. If a flat fee is charged based on occupancy for either value, it’s important to forecast occupancy and inflate the service cost by an average of 3% to adjust for inflation. Communities can also opt to bill back common area expenses realized through community televisions, internet services, and office operations. Once the total dollar amount adjusted for inflation for common area expenses is generated, divide the total by average projected occupancy in units to get the per unit projected income opportunity.
Laundry and Vending Services
Laundry and vending services also can create opportunity for additional income. Vending services commonly selected by multi-family properties are drink machines, snack machines, and machines that house healthy meal options. Laundry services commonly utilized are laundry rooms, dry cleaning services, and wash and fold services. Laundry rooms are typically in a centralized location and residents can access them outside regular business hours. This allows a longer time window for income to be generated and adds valued convenience to the residents.
Sub-metering services, otherwise known as “RUBS” income, is a service that will read water usage for each individual unit and report it to the water billing vendor, so it prints on the rent bill each month. Another aspect of this is an administrative billing fee for this reading and service to be done. In some cases, where submetering is not present, there is an occupancy and total building usage equation that can be used. It is important to understand which method is used prior to forecasting the budget. Utility increases are typically 3-5% year over year which can be obtained from local utility companies or your submetering billing provider.
Another source of utility income can be realized through rebate programs on energy savings energy saving rebates after completing an LED retrofit project on an asset. Utility billing companies can also cross reference current occupancy in comparison with generated utility charges for electricity. This will show if a resident has the electricity set up in the landlord’s name in which the charges would be billed back to the resident. On a vacant unit the property management company would assume this bill as it is in their possession. An additional fee for these bill-backs can be applied in many cases generating a bill-back fee and an actual submeter electricity expense.
Community Rental and Service Options
Properties may offer additional value-added services such as fitness-on-demand, personal training, and dog walking, to name a few. Another area of opportunity exists in the requirement of renter’s insurance and associated penalties for lapses in coverage. Parking can also generate additional income through options such as reserved parking, covered parking, or private garages. In addition, valet services, car washing services, and additional parking spaces can generate additional income for the property.
In addition to parking, storage is an income opportunity for communities who can accommodate designated storage areas. Storage closets can be rented out and incur additional monthly income for communities. This value-added benefit offers convenience to residents and opportunity to investors. The funds realized through storage income can be forecasted by analyzing historical storage unit occupancy and multiplying it by the monthly dollar amount charged per storage space. Adjust for inflation or any forecasted increase in storage fees charged on new leases and renewals for further accuracy.
Ancillary income categories should be reflected on the income portion of the budget and forecasted each year. Analyzing year-over-year income opportunities on storage, parking, along with utility trends can help draft an accurate budget. It is important to account for any potential service expense increases the property will incur for ancillary services. Accounting for these expenses helps quantify the profitability between ancillary income and expenses.
What areas of ancillary income are applicable to your community budget this year? Are there any you would like to add? Buyers Access® can connect members with service providers in these categories to help facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships while offering competitive pricing. Contact your account manager to learn how you can add ancillary income to your budget next year. Not a member yet? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-445-9169 for information about how you can tap into the exclusive resources and opportunities so many existing Buyers Access® clients enjoy.
Buyers Access Solutions
Bidders Access and Capital Projects for Budget Season
by Christin D. on 6/19/2019 9:49:37 AM
Capital projects are typically larger expenditures planned in advance by management teams in the multi-family industry. Without needed organizational systems in place for bidding projects, along with a comprehensive understanding of scopes required to complete the repair, comparing bids from various vendors can be a painful and time-consuming task. In this edition of our focus on Budget Season, we will discuss an example of how the Bidders Access bid solicitation platform is utilized at a property for a very large elevator modernization project.
Create and Solicit Bids to Vendors
One of the elevators on “XYZ” property has gone down a couple of times throughout the year, and it is getting more challenging to find parts to bring it back into operation. Since it’s the only elevator in the building, it is important that the management company get the elevator to a more dependable level. In addition, the scopes of work given on bids must also quite often coincide with a clearly defined plan of repair set forth by a city or county inspector, or other permit requirements. This could mean replacement of the entire elevator, modernization, or continuing to repair as needed. Any which way, the owners and managers of the property will want bids, detailed pictures, and clearly defined scopes of work. They will not want to pay for anything additional that is not imperative resulting in a dependable and functioning elevator. So how can Bidders Access help?
Bids come Quickly and Easily
Within 15 minutes a Property Manager can log into the Bidders Access system, a cloud-based work flow and document management bid solicitation platform and set up a new standardized RFQ/RFP (Request for Quote/Request for proposal). Once an RFQ/RFP has been initiated by the Property Manager, vendors immediately accept or decline the opportunity to bid on the project. This allows the Property Manager to know right away whether they need to request additional bids, or not. Once accepted, all details of the bid will be available to bidders in the same format. Bidders will be required to fill in line item detailed costs, answer questions created specific to the project, and to upload any necessary documents, like pictures warranties, insurance, etc. This saves the Property Manager and vendor substantial time and effort, standardizes process, provides for document management in one location, and organizes all communications by job and vendor. Nothing gets lost!
It is an industry best practice to obtain 3 bids for capital projects or repairs more than $5,000.00. Bidders Access makes the scheduling, bidding, and communication easy, and clearly defines the awarded vendor with the click of a button. This cloud-based bid solicitation platform keeps things organized and where you need them and when you need them, so you always have your bidding information at your fingertips. It provides for email alerts between all parties for an invitation or intent to bid, for bid updates or changes and for responses to bid requests, making everyone’s job easier.
By standardizing the scope information requested, Bidders Access ensures that information submitted back from the vendors can be easily reviewed, and is apples to apples. When collecting bids, the scope of work is critical in supporting the decision process, and ultimately the results. Typically, scopes and pricing can largely change if not well defined. Bidders Access makes it easy for vendors to reference what areas of the project they must supply pricing and detailed information, as well as questions relative to the defined scope of work to be completed. Upon completion of the bids, the Bidders Access system provides the capability for side by side comparison of every line item, as well as all required questions, and communications.
Simplicity in Awarding
Finally, once all information is gathered for the elevator modernization project, there will be multiple bids in the system for you to consider side by side. By going through each element, one can use the seamless design of the Bidders Access platform to compare, present, weigh in, and decide on a winning bid. With the click of a button a bid can be awarded, and the other bidders notified that their bid was not selected.
Based on the above it’s easy to see that Bidders Access system can add value to every on-site management team’s bidding process. By having everything organized and in one place on a cloud-based system you are always organized, and have immediate access to all your bid information, anywhere, anytime. No longer will you have to search and access information from multiple locations, numerous email attachments or hard copies. Have everything for your capital projects easily accessible, well organized, and ready to present with the Bidders Access program.
If you are interested in learning more about Bidders Access or any other components of the Buyers Access suite of services offered, please reach out to our team by calling 303-991-5550 or email us at email@example.com. We know you will be glad you did.
Buyers Access Solutions
Budget Season is Upon Us!
by Christin D. on 6/11/2019 4:06:00 PM
The next few months in multi-family management will be the busiest time of the year for many properties. The summer months typically include an influx of residents and prospects searching for new homes, a higher number of expiring leases up for renewal, employees cycling through vacation time, increased HVAC maintenance calls, and its swimming pool season. Then, as soon as you catch your breath, the first draft of your budget is due. Whether this is your first budget or your 50th, proper preparation can make the experience and budget season a success. In this article, we will help to define and provide some tools to inspire your quest with this year’s budget season!
Unit by unit inspections
If you haven’t done so already, it is a great idea to conduct an annual or bi-annual unit-by-unit walk of your property. This is especially important for properties 10 years or older. Unit-by-unit walks can help teams plan for recurring capital replacements, renovation projects, and turn costs. For turnkey costs, click on the following highlighted words to link to our flooring and paint estimation tool for budget expense forecasting.
Collecting serial numbers and appliance information can also make life easier in many ways and is good information to have on hand. You never know when you will have that on-call emergency refrigerator or stove malfunction over a holiday weekend, and you will need to look up relevant information. Unit-by-unit inspections and inventories are great for preventative maintenance, forecasting turnkey expenses, planning large capital projects, and to identify any hazards that may not have been reported. You may even catch a few unauthorized pets or other lease violations in the process.
Pricing for vendor services
Contact current vendors and see if they are going to be keeping their rates the same or if rates will be changing in any way. The Buyers Access® Account Management team and Member Services departments can obtain the best possible pricing for all your products and help to make this a much easier process. Wouldn’t it be great to have an advocate that is constantly focused on bringing savings into your budget, and a higher NOI?
Completing unit-by-unit inspections along with an exterior and interior common area inspection is required when building your short term and long-term capital project plan. The Buyers Access® suite of services includes access to Bidders Access®, a comprehensive capital project bidding platform. For more about Bidders Access and how it can help you this budget season, please click on the following link www.biddersaccess.com, or speak with your Account Manager to get started right away.
Recurring operating expenses
Completing an audit of all contracts is also a helpful budget tool. Click on the following highlighted words to access a contract audit spreadsheet to use when conducting a contract audit. Budgeting the necessary amounts for contracts currently in place, and that will affect the upcoming budget season, is key to maintaining accuracy throughout the year on property financial statements and variance reports.
When drafting the Income portion of your budget, it is important to look at historical rental increases, fees, and other income categories. and how they have performed over the past 5 years as well as the past 12 months in detail. Pulling reports on market conditions from apartment data sites and analyzing historical and current market data will help to forecast income categories such as application, administration, and pet fees, to name a few. Also, pulling industry data for your area can help forecast projected rental increases for lease renewals and potential rent growth on turns. Historically, most properties typically see between 3-5% rental increases, but some may realize higher gains if in a high demand market, or if there are other factors such as a substantial rehab.
Other expenses and bids
Click on the following highlighted words to access a payroll expense spreadsheet, which is designed to aid in the calculation of the annual payroll expenses by a property, or by portfolio. Also included is a standard budget worksheet and a bid comparison form to aid in the overall planning of recurring and non-recurring operating and capital expenses.
The document library below is for anyone to use as a tool to aid in preparing for an annual property budget. For a full property spending analysis contact our team at 1-800-445-9169, or email Buyers Access® at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Standard Budget Worksheet
- Summary of Contracts per Property
- Capital Replacement Worksheet
- Flooring per Apartment
- How Much Paint Do You Need Per Apartment
- Payroll Spreadsheet for Budgeting
- Bid Comparison Form