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!
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
A Holiday Call to Action - Shelters to Shutters
by Christin D. on 11/27/2019 2:36:00 PM
There is so much to be grateful for as we head into the Holiday Season, and this year we are asking for your support to lend a helping hand to a lifechanging organization, Shelters to Shutters (S2S).As a strong supporter of S2S , Buyers Access is happy to announce that ALL contributions made during November and December 2019 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Stand Together Foundation.
Holidays from another angle
The holidays are a significant time for many all over the world. Celebrations of “Friendsgiving” events, family gatherings, “White Elephant”gift
exchanges, and loads of shopping take place this time of year. Our calendars fill with joy, and the spirit of the season fills our hearts as we spend quality time with those we love. But what about those we don’t have what we do? The harsh reality is that there are numerous disabled veterans struggling to get by on the streets, families without shelter that are separated, people roaming the streets due to job loss or medical situations leaving them homeless. These conditions are hard to look at, not pretty, and impossible to ignore.
What can you do?
These unfortunate situations that many can find themselves in are heartbreaking, and many are stigmatized as a result. Homelessness can be due to many things resulting from bad choices or bad circumstances, but many “situationally homeless” individuals have skillsets and work ethics that the multifamily industry could benefit from. But how do you get a job without an address, and how do you keep an address if you don’t have a job?
Shelters to Shutters is born
In 2014, Chris Finlay who is an owner and operator of a multifamily real estate company noticed the never-ending need for multifamily management companies to fill entry level positions. Finlay connected the staffing challenges of multifamily owners and operators with the employment needs of the “situational homeless”. Instead of solely relying on the public sector to remedy the homeless situation in the United States, Finlay had another idea. He started a pilot program where stable employment was offered to qualified individuals along with benefits such as housing discounts, training and development, team atmosphere, and most importantly a helping hand. This idea has evolved into what we know today to be Shelters to Shutters.
Industry leader support
Andy Helmer, current CEO of Shelters to Shutters, reinforces the realities that surround the homelessness dilemma most U.S. cities face stating that their program finds, “high-quality, motivated candidates for our property management partners” and exposes the fact many of them will be overlooked due to stigma. Helmer has found that the 70% of situationally homeless unemployed individuals “want to work and return to a life of self- sufficiency”. And the result? Click here
to look at 10 success stories resulting from the Shelters to Shutters initiative. The organization continues to touch the lives of many across the country with the help of supporters like you and Buyers Access.
A lifechanging “Call-to-Action”
The multifamily industry has collectively stepped up and helped aid in Shelters to Shutters mission. This holiday season, we encourage you to join Buyers Access, and many others, by visiting the S2S website and learning how you can GET INVOLVED
. There are a variety of ways to help on an individual and an organizational level and we hope you will join us. Every individual S2S moves out of homelessness not only changes a life forever but saves a local community $35,578 in estimated expenses creating healthier, more stable neighborhoods. Together we can make a difference.
Double the contribution!
This November and December, Buyers Access is happy to announce that ALL contributions made to Shelters to Shutters with Buyers Access will be matched by the Stand Together Foundation!
Help us reach our goal of $10,000!!!
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.
Cold, Flu, and You: Promote Wellness this Season
by Christin D. on 11/5/2019 4:00:00 PM
Flu Season and You
Flu Season is upon us and protecting yourself against contracting a cold or the flu is a high priority this time of year. From consistent hand-washing, to guzzling vitamin C, most of us do whatever we can to prevent ourselves from contracting the influenza virus. As multi-family industry professionals, we should consider the action items and steps that we can personally take to protect ourselves and others in the community. Below we will discuss some statistics of flu season, steps to take personally and professionally to prevent contraction and spreading of the flu virus, and ideas you can take to implement prevention.
Statistics on flu and cold season
Each year, cold and flu season is responsible for 44 million “sick-days” in the United States called, in by 11 million employed adults spread throughout the country. This statistically accounts for about a $9.5 billion-dollar financial burden on businesses, and even considers that 39% of the workforce will still report to work even when ill. Aside from work being the 3rd most likely place for individuals who have the cold or flu virus to frequent, according to the CDC, other locations that are highly frequented by sick individuals include local drug stores and grocery stores.
Where germs live
The flu and common cold are most contagious during the early onset. Unfortunately, this is also when people still may not realize there is anything wrong. They still feel well enough to go out in public and therefore can spread the virus without realizing the severity. As multi-family industry professionals, we work and operate where “home” is for many of these 11 million adults who do call in sick. This increases our exposure to their germs even when the resident opts to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Since our place of work is their home, we must take extra caution to avoid getting sick. Below are some common places to consider taking extra precaution around when trying to avoid contracting the flu and common cold:
- Building entryways- including elevator buttons, handrails in stairwells and access points, door handles to common spaces in a community.
- Public restrooms in the gym or other common areas
- Hospitality and snack areas, such as a coffee bar or resident appreciation event gathering
- Common areas such as the local game room/tv lounge, business center, or conference room
- On-site fitness centers, weight rooms, or spin/yoga studios
How to protect your community
As multi-family professionals, we have a responsibility to create an atmosphere of safety and cleanliness when possible. Though we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of our efforts, it is part of our responsibility. There are a few recommendations that property teams can do to help protect the visitors and dwellers of a community, and by directly making a few adjustments on-site during this time of year:
- Supply paper towels instead of air dryers in common area restrooms to help reduce the number of bacteria left on hands after washing thoroughly with soap and water.
- Install hand sanitizer stations at entrances, stairwells, common areas, and restrooms to make sanitation easier for residents and team members on the go.
- Make microfiber cleaning cloths and sanitation wipes available to staff members so they can wipe down surfaces regularly with minimal additional effort.
In addition to the above recommendations, there are also other easy and fun ways to communicate and educate residents about flu season’s best practices. They may even create a heightened sense of resident satisfaction as you demonstrate your commitment to their community. Here are some ideas that may help spice up flu-prevention at your property:
- Host a pre-flu season event. Invite a local flu-shot vendor or offer flu-shot passes with an incentive to residents. The incentive can be small and often stores will partner and provide a “perk” to those residents that show up and get the shot! Think a discount on “Emergen-C” or “Airborne”.
- Include education in the monthly news letter for residents to read prior to the start of flu season. You could even announce the above pre-flu season event in the publication at the same time.
- Have resident care packages in the office or distribute them in an appropriate fashion for your specific community. Vendor partners and Buyers Access team members can offer great ideas and resources to do this if you have a tight resident-appreciation budget to work with.
What to do if you get sick
Even taking all the right preventative steps, you can sometimes still wind up sick. Once contracting a virus, it’s time to look at measures that can be taken to protect yourself and others while it runs its course. Remember, the flu virus is stronger in the beginning stages and can spread easier during this time. Staying home from work may be a good idea to have minimal contact with others. If you must report to work or engage in regular activities on some level, follow the below recommendations to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
- Wash your hands
- Invest in a protective dust-mask to wear outside of your individual space to avoid airborne germs from spreading
- Wipe down everything you touch with an antibacterial spray or wipe and allow it to dry naturally so it has ample time to kill bacteria and germs.
- Drink plenty of fluid and use paper cups or personal drinkware that won’t be washed and re-used in the office or public area.
- Rest more than you think you need to. Your immune system is already weakened substantially once you do get sick so this extra TLC can speed up recovery. If you reported to work and start to feel worse, re-evaluate your attendance and communicate any concerns to your workplace supervisor.
Getting sick is no fun and nobody ever wants to get sick. It’s important to remember the seriousness of the flu virus and consider that even mild strains can cause serious complications. Spreading bouts of sickness around the office or community can be decreased by following some of the above suggestions and preparing for the flu season accordingly. Buyers Access, and our supplier partners, are always available to help equip your team with the supplies needed to create an uninviting environment for germs associated with the flu virus and other bacteria. One of the best parts about being a part of the Buyers Access program is that you have an abundance of additional resources and extra sets of hands to call on when you need them. Contact our sales department at BASales@buyersaccess.com to get this support. If you are already a member, your account manager and the member services team can quickly help you get prepared by sourcing the best products and lower prices with additional savings on mass quantities when needed. Email email@example.com to reach out to your team of support and make your property safe this flu season!
October is Fire Safety Month in Multi-family
by Christin D. on 10/14/2019 5:34:31 PM
Welcome to Fire Safety Month
The month of October brings about some of the Fall seasons best comforts, as the leaves turn and the temperature drops. This can mean more pumpkin spice latte’s, or s’mores nights, social gatherings over delicious home cooked meals, and maybe throwing a few logs on the fire place. With the increase in heating and cooking during this time of the year there also comes the increased risk of fire. Because of this, October is known as Fire Safety Month. Whether you are a service provider, CEO, or on-site team member, as multi-family professionals, we all play a critical role in the area of fire prevention, precaution, and safety. So, what are some of the industry’s best practices in terms of fire safety?
Causes of Fire in Multi-family
Residential fires made up 29.1% of total fires by property type in some of the most recent data available, making it the second most common fire type behind outdoor fires. Closer living quarters and adjoining walls in multi-family structures increase the risk of fire. Fire in these structures can also impact more people and cause damage on a larger scale at a more rapid pace due to the co-existence of many in a single building.
Cooking fires made up 51.6% as the leading cause of all residential fires, with heating being the second most prevalent. The kitchen and bedrooms are also statistically the most common places for fires to start in residential homes. Residential buildings that include baseboard heaters, space heaters, electric stoves, and fireplaces heighten the risk of both instances occurring. For all these reasons and many more, ongoing fire safety and preparedness is extremely important for multi-family sites during October, the colder months, and throughout the year.
Provide Information in Advance
What things can we do as multi-family professionals to decrease fire risk? One of the most important things we can do is provide residents and teams detailed and easily understood fire information for education, training, preparedness and prevention. Furthermore, property management teams should have detailed working knowledge and training on how to respond to these emergency situations. Partnering with local fire departments, or Buyers Access vendors such as Cintas, is a great source to conduct fire safety training sessions with employees and residents at community gatherings. Get everyone as knowledgeable and prepared as possible, and be proactive!
Drafting a Property Specific Fire Safety Guide
When developing a fire safety guide to provide residents and team members, include a building diagram that marks the location of fire extinguishers, evacuation routes, stairwells, and fire pulls. The diagram should also identify designated exterior meeting areas for residents, vendors, and staff when evacuating the building. Other things to include are alternate routes for evacuation, additional stair access, tips for handling various emergency conditions such as smoke, being trapped, pets, and any other property specific information that may be helpful.
Time is everything when it comes to fire. Every 30 seconds a flame can double, filling up a room in a matter of minutes and making each second crucial. Organization and confidence should be a priority when training staff members on fire protocol. There is no guarantee that the community manager or service manager will be available to guide other employees during a fire, so it’s also important to plan and train accordingly. Team members gain confidence through education, and communication, role playing, and fire drills. Working with Buyers Access account managers and vendors can assist in this training process.
Types of Fire Safety Inspections
Multifamily communities have a critical responsibility to ensure certain fire and life safety requirements are always being met. Because of this, annual inspections are often required by local officials to ensure that code requirements are being met. Inspections on building fire alarm panels, pull station operation, fire extinguisher expiration dates, fire sprinklers, and visual requirements such as clear pathways are some of the more important fire related inspection items. If a property is in violation of any of these areas, authorities can issue an “order to comply” and issue fines until repairs have been completed.
Fire Safety Every Day
There are many other things to consider when protecting a community from fire hazards, which should be considered daily. Any time any fire safety device is malfunctioning it should be addressed and remediated immediately. Preventative maintenance inspections can serve as a great time to inspect interior and exterior fire safety devices. Encouraging residents to notify management of any safety risks is also helpful in case it is overlooked or not caught immediately by property staff.
A very common fire safety issue is burnt out “Emergency Exit” signs in hallways. Changing these bulbs promptly or utilizing LED bulbs in Exit signs, can minimize this risk. Fire doors should be automatically self-closing when the alarm sounds. Paying close attention to anything blocking these doors or preventing them from self-closing should be a priority, along with ensuring ease of ingress and egress in common areas at all times. If the fire doors are always closed, make sure self-closing and latching hardware are operating correctly so they consistently close immediately behind users.
Fire safety awareness is crucial no matter what time of year, and the above recommendations are a good start to protecting your property from associated risks. We hope you will apply some of the aforementioned best-practices into your fire safety routine. Buyers Access supplier partners such as Cintas and SmartBurner, can offer members quality solutions and services associated with fire safety. If you are in need of additional support or are curious on the savings you can realize by gaining access to the Buyers Access program, contact us at 1-800-445-9169 or by email Basales@buyersaccess.com. If your already a valued customer and are in need of assistance, reach out to member services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your account manager.
2019 Empower Conference Highlights
by Christin D. on 9/20/2019 11:27:00 AM
Have you ever been to a Buyers Access Empower Conference before?
The Buyers Access team hosted another memorable conference earlier this month where members and supplier partners spent 3 days collaborating on various industry topics while having a little fun. Breakout sessions, brainstorming, a reverse trade show, and face-to-face meetings between key industry professionals made this year’s EMPOWER event both productive and insightful for attendees.
During the 3-day event industry leaders explored topics such as industry trends, optimal use of resources and purchasing power, new product insights, and how to further utilize the Buyers Access teams in ordering, reporting, and streamlining bidding processes and partnerships. You could probably feel the energy from afar as the event burst with knowledge and genius, not to mention unforgettable fun. We can’t tell you all the secrets, but below we will share some highlights from the recent event and exciting new features to come.
Buyers Access Suppliers
Buyers Access partners with some of the industry’s best and most reputable suppliers to ensure we have the most relevant product offerings and selections available to members. With approximately 50 of the most well-known supplier partners on board, Buyers Access optimizes these relationships to leverage opportunities for members in purchasing, training, capital projects, standardization, and reporting, to name a few.
This year, Buyers Access suppliers from the below companies were able to work together with the Buyers Access team and members to present some of the newest innovative ideas and solutions for multi-family.
Suppliers in attendance included:
- The Home Depot PRO (formerly Wilmar)
- Ancillary Services Management
- HD Supply
- Bidders Access
- Energy Link
- Courtesy Connection
- Maintenance Supply Headquarters
- National Exemption Service
- BBC Lighting
If you are not currently a Buyers Access member but already purchase from any of the above, our team can easily integrate the Buyers Access advantages into your existing purchasing process. Our members get exclusive resources that add time back in their day, along with insights relating to multi-family MRO rollouts, and ongoing support to meet the new regulations and consumer trends.
Breakout Session Highlights
This year’s Empower 2019 breakout sessions were hosted by Home Depot Pro, Sherwin Williams, Staples, HD Supply, and Cintas. The sessions addressed many aspects relevant to keeping Buyers Access members ahead of the curve and at the forefront of competition in the multi-family arena. Innovation, optimization, standardization, and selection were common topics throughout the conference, which were more specifically addressed during these sessions.
Staples and Sherwin Williams provided innovative solutions to common challenges through service and product offerings, introducing and expanding on a variety of new additions to their product offerings. HD Supply and Cintas put a large emphasis on the many changing regulations and safety requirements directly related to multifamily properties. HVAC regulation changes, exclusive warranty programs, and other life-safety updates were discussed in detail. Home Depot Pro, formerly known as Wilmar, unveiled a Buyers Access member advantage program which addresses innovative technological offerings, product standardization, and maintenance optimization.
Brainstorming and the Reverse Trade Show
In addition to the informative workshops hosted by the leading national vendors listed above, Buyers Access members had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with suppliers and account managers during the legendary reverse trade show. During the event, teams were able to collaborate and strategize avenues for implementation of key topics covered at previous sessions. The trade show was fully equipped with a DJ, great music, an electrifying atmosphere, chocolate covered popcorn, and plenty of laughter.
The final day of the conference everyone gathered together over refreshments and coffee to discuss hot topics that were hand selected by conference attendees prior to the event. During this session attendees shared ideas, strategies, and gained new perspective on various industry topics. Maintenance and time saving technology was a popular area of choice among the group, and where Buyers Access account managers shared insight into standardization and the creation of product lists to promote savings and efficiency.The brainstorming session and breakouts were enticing, and everyone left with something new to apply and a team of support to execute for them on a variety of levels.
Until next time!
The Buyers Access program has proven to be of high value to any management companies looking to optimize performance, purchasing, and increase their bottom line. With industry changes constantly affecting the multi-family industry, creativity and innovation continue to stay at the forefront of our minds when providing value to our members. If you want to be a part of this “family” of thought leaders and become a member, contact us now and we will do a free purchasing analysis with no strings attached. We can be reached at BASales@buyersaccess.com or by calling 1-800-445-9169.
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.
Renovations and Amenity Upgrades- Budget Edition
by Christin D. on 7/22/2019 3:22:20 PM
To renovate or not to renovate, that is a common question quite often pondered by operators and investors in the multi-family arena. Many attractive benefits can exist when contemplating an interior or exterior renovation, and amenity upgrades. Renovations may yield higher returns, improve aesthetic appeal, facilitate resident retention, and freshen up aging communities to better compete with modern trends. If you are planning on renovating, analysis of the local market, testing the product, and calculating costs vs. returns are all recommended steps to help forecast potential returns. Amenity upgrades should be comparable to the competition and allow a community to closely compete with surrounding properties. Below we will look at types of renovations, steps to take before the process begins, and what amenity upgrades have prospects and residents interested today.
Before you Start Renovating
According to Darren Williams of Portico Property Management, testing your product against current market conditions and projected future trends is key prior to starting any renovation project. Understanding the demographic nature of your property, along with local consumer tastes and preferences is imperative when choosing design and scope. Surveying current residents on the improvements and their additional expense toleration is critical in deciding on potential upgrades. Renovating and pricing a project’s needed return not based on current market conditions is not recommended. Taking these initial steps are important to anyone trying to achieve superior returns, and to avoid vacancies due to over inflated rents. Investors typically can realize a return of 10%-30% in rent growth post-renovations.
Choosing Interior Renovations
Visiting submarket competitors, both new construction and renovated product can provide information as to what upgraded characteristics yield the highest returns when comparing quality, age, pricing and occupancy. “Owners report that replacing carpeting with vinyl, tile, or wood flooring promises the greatest return on their investment” says Caufield for MultifamilyExecutive.com. Upgrading interior lighting is another desirable improvement due to its ability to brighten and refresh living spaces, especially those with limited natural light. Kitchen and bath upgrades such as wrapping cabinets with new finishes, replacing hardware, as well as upgrading appliances are also remodel activities that may yield superior returns.
Choosing Amenity Additions and Upgrades
The standard amenity package offering for multifamily communities use to include a couple of grilling areas around the property, a workout center, tennis courts, and maybe a business center. It was not unusual for on-site laundry services to be offered if residents didn’t have their own machines or did not have hookups available to them. Fast forward to today, the amenity package desired by renters has shifted substantially.
Today renter wants communal space for gatherings and can inspire other social benefits. Areas where residents and their friends can watch popular sporting events and shoot pool is becoming more attractive, as the sense of community can propel itself into an amenity category all its own. Other examples of communal amenity spaces encouraging residents’ creative capacities are painting and art galleries, pottery and crafting workshops, music studios, and co-working spaces. The offerings of these creative spaces tap into a desire for a lifestyle that is appealing.
Wellness and offerings geared towards healthy lifestyles are another category ranked highly on the desired amenity lists. Offering community cooking classes, nutrition seminars, and other engaging and educational sessions allows residents to bond with one another while engaging in positive initiative to benefit their overall lifestyle. From these gatherings, residents will often form their own relationships inspiring further community building in the form of running clubs, painting and art evenings, and pet play dates. This, creates an organic, thriving community that will help attract new residents through word of mouth and retain current residents that see the value in the relationships built by these offerings.
Upgrading Dated Amenity Spaces
Taking an existing business center with basic office equipment and transforming it into a coffee bar and lounge with free Wi-Fi would likely be more attractive to today’s renter. Multifamily fitness center amenities use to include only basic cardio equipment and a multi-purpose weight machine or two. Now, upgrading the space to include a yoga studio with virtual fitness instruction is highly attractive to those seeking a healthy lifestyle. Using any additional square footage to house free weights and functional fitness equipment can help an older community stand out. Upgrades to amenity areas can allow older properties to better compete with newer assets by looking and feeling the same.
Off leash pet parks are also a common amenity being included with newer developments. If a community has extra outdoor space, converting it into an off-leash pet park or a community garden can appeal to today’s renter who wants to be able to utilize outdoor space as if it was their own backyard. Community gardens are very attractive to renters who have previously resided in single-family homes and enjoy nurturing gardens and harvesting fresh produce. Offering an option that allows residents to enjoy outdoor space in a personal way can make the community feel even more like home, and encourage further social interaction between residents.
Ready for Renovations?
Renovating and upgrading may be a realistic and economical way to generate improved returns, particularly for older communities with dated interiors and amenity spaces. Renters are leaning more towards an overall experience, personalized space, and functional offerings when deciding on their next home. To stay competitive, older communities can upgrade existing spaces allowing them to realize returns faster than a new build. For more information about how Buyers Access can help your team with interior and exterior renovations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be glad to offer you a comprehensive solution in every phase of your project using the best materials at competitive pricing.
Special Edition- Get Ready for Apartmentalize 2019!
by Christin D. on 6/21/2019 3:52:45 PM
Each year the National Apartment Association puts on an epic conference in a premier location featuring anything and everything multi-family! This year, Denver, Colorado, has been elected to host this amazing event and Buyers Access® cannot wait to see all our members, industry partners, friends, and future business partners at our booth, #1223!
If you are attending Apartmentalize for the first time, you are in for a treat! Get ready to network and interact with likeminded industry professionals and explore new potential resources at the Expo. Below is an overview of the various program elements you can partake in at NAA, and we encourage you to visit the event homepage online by clicking HERE!
Game Changer and General Sessions
Mindy Kaling, or “Kelly Kapoor” from the NBC hit show, The Office, will be kicking off Apartmentalize speaking at the opening General Session that begins at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 27th.
Other “game changer” speakers that are going to be at this year’s NAA event include Brandon Stanton, David Rendall, Judi Holler, and Alli Webb! The show starts with Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York, delivering an epic message on the power of storytelling on social platforms, on June 26th at 4:30pm. Moving into June 27th, you can check out Heather McGhee who will speak on transformative organizational change, David Rendall, the hilarious stand up leadership comedian with strong messages on empowerment, or catch Judi Holler of HOLLA productions for some defining courage insight. Friday will wrap up with game changer, Alli Webb of Drybar, speaking about a uniquely fabulous approach to business that has gained her major success!
Catch a “Deep Dive” seminar session where you can learn from influential industry pillars such as Dr. Debbie Phillips, Ed Wolff, and Susan Sherfield about career development on Friday at 12:45pm. You can also catch the industry data mining optimization “Deep Dive” which features 4 brilliant sales and marketing experts who will show us how to use data to our advantage when interacting with residents and prospects at a higher level.
The main event, the moment we have all been waiting for is the NAA Exposition! The grand opening will be held at 2:15pm on Thursday, June 27th and you can visit Buyers Access® at booth #1223. At the Exposition, Buyers Access will be giving live demos of e-commerce, procurement optimization, and launching our exciting new program, Bidders Access. Come see us for fun interaction, learning, and a chance to win a $250-dollar Sunglass Hut gift card!
Apartmentalize is an amazing place to attend the apartment industry’s best breakout sessions, which include insightful information on various topics across the multi-family business. This year, NAA will have over 85 different breakout sessions dedicated to topics in areas like maintenance, industry trends, affordable housing, operations, and marketing, to name a few.
Another exciting portion of this years NAA conference is a focus on health and wellness, bringing functional wellness front and center in the multi-family industry. The Wellness Labs series will host quick 15-minute breakout sessions bringing attention and focus to physical and mental well-being, and tips that are applicable to a multi-family professional’s life. We love the focus on the whole picture in terms of optimizing your personal and professional lives with wellness strategies, and we can’t wait to see you there.
Open Space Series
The open space segments at NAA will be a peer-to-peer learning experience you won’t want to miss. Engage and interact with like-minded industry processionals on topics such as resident loyalty drivers, smart home technology, and maintenance focused conversations. Collaborating with the industry leaders lined up to host these peer training and engagement sessions will enrich your mind and inspire you to do great things moving into the tail end of 2019! Don’t miss it.
Got a topic that you have been wanting to learn more about in the multi-family industry? Check out the Express Education offerings kicking off on Thursday, June 27th which will offer 30-minute sessions on topics such as career development, industry trends, fair housing, leasing, and more. These sessions will run from 2:45pm-5:30pm on the 27th and pick back up from 10:30am-2:45pm on Friday the 28th.
Other things to know
Download the new NAA app or visit the online “map your show” tool by clicking here now and start mapping out your show experience. You can add the events that you want to attend to your outlook calendar with a click of the button, share it with your co-workers and friends, and access the master exhibitor list to plan your show visits. We hope you have safe travels to Denver, stop by our booth #1223, and have a great time at this year’s NAA Apartmentalize event in Denver, Colorado!