If you’re on the Council of a Strata Corporation, you know that managing your property’s budget is a major priority. Likely, you’ve explored many ways to save money and get the best deals, while still maintaining a top level of service.
While even a few hundred dollars in savings is surely welcome, what if you could save even more?
Of the many Strata Corporations across North America that had significant financial savings year after year, we found that despite their vastly different sizes and property types, there was one thing they all had in common: they all had a partnership with a property management company. 
Hiring a property management company may seem like an additional expense, but as the numbers usually show, the savings in other areas can outweigh the initial costs.
Already work with a property management company but remain unsatisfied with the value you are receiving? Read on to discover some things your residential management company should be doing to improve your cash flow and stretch your budget.
A Great Property Management Company Should:
1. Access the best vendors – and negotiate for you
It takes time and effort to vet different vendors, send out RFPs, interview potential partners and select those who best fit with your community – not to mention the additional stress of the financial negotiations that take place once a vendor has been chosen. Often times the vendors that seem like a great deal at first end up nickel-and-diming you as the project progresses. Or worse, some vendors may meet their negotiated price, but not complete the job properly, on-time or may under deliver in terms of customer service. There is also the added question of whether the vendors you are exploring have been screened for proper insurance and WorkSafeBC coverage.
The right property management company has a preferred vendors list of companies who are reputable, insured, and accountable to your Strata Corporation. This residential management company should also have a vast expertise at working with these preferred companies, while always maintaining an arms-length relationship. Your property management company should be able to leverage their size and to earn you preferred rates with these vendors. In addition to better pricing, your management company should also receive better service from these particular vendors. This means your Strata Corporation receives higher priority service, better after-service care, and above-average responsiveness when dealing with preferred vendors. Furthermore, this property management company will ensure any preferred vendor is fully ensured and protected under WorkSafeBC to protect your Strata in any unforeseen situations.
2. Cost Savings Programs
There are many services that your Strata Corporation requires to operate properly while maintaining its curb appeal. This includes everything from proper waste collection to re-painting projects that ensure the beauty of your property.
The right property management company will work with service providers to create cost savings programs that benefit both your Strata Corporation and Homeowners. Essential services, such as telephone lines required for fire systems and elevators, can often be discounted dramatically. It is important to partner with a property management company that takes initiative in working with service providers to lower the cost of essential services while providing value-added benefits from these vendors as well. For example, FirstService Residential has worked with Waste Management to earn Strata Corporations discounted rates on waste collection. In addition to preferred rates, Waste Management has also committed to conduct a waste audit of the needs of each Strata Corporation for no additional cost. Another example is the discounted painting program offered to FirstSevice Residential clients from Cloverdale Paints. Both Homeowners and Strata Corporations can now purchase paint at a 30% to 50% discount from retail prices. Added to this preferred pricing, is a complimentary kit provided for painting touch-ups following a common area painting project as well as design and inspection services provided for any paint job.
Working with the property management company that focuses on developing new programs like these is bound to save Owners and your Strata Corporation money.
3. Leverage Municipal Rebate Programs
Are there projects that your community desperately needs, but you have been putting them off because of lack of funding? Did you know that there are often provincial and municipal programs available to save your Strata money? The right property management company, will provide your Strata Corporation with a management team that is in the “know”. You Strata Council should receive advice on current savings program and rebates available from the city or province for different parts of your property. For example, in BC there has been a shift towards retrofitting buildings to create more energy efficient Strata buildings. BC Hyrdo and Fortis BC encourage Homeowners and Stratas to make changes towards using more efficient light fixtures and appliances. Different municipalities have also offered rebates to Stratas who install new electric car charging stations. Often, the rebate you receive will significantly reduce any upfront investment your Strata needs to make. The payback period on changes such as light bulb upgrades are often quick meaning your Strata Corporation can begin seeing savings immediately.  
The right property management company will be aware of various rebates and grant programs that may be open to your Strata and will keep you informed of these savings opportunities.
These are merely a few examples of how Stratas can save significant dollars every year with the assistance of a great property management company. The professional property managers at FirstService Residential are experts at stretching a Strata’s budget. To find out how your Strata Corporation’s investment can go farther, fill out this short form to contact FirstService Residential today.

Sunday August 03, 2014