Cost Saving's Tally
Date Property or Individual IDEA:
Share their FedEx shipments with their closest sister properties.
Every Thursday one property prepares two FedEx packages
(one for Boston and one for Ops Technology)
Ann Brugnolotti -
8/27/2009 The other two properties bring their shipments to the designated community thereby
Edwards Mill sending ALL paperwork at the same time. These properties rarely send shipments at the end
of the month so they each ONLY get charged for ONE shipment a month from FedEx.
Jan Cummings and her team at Providence have taken it up a notch:
Water Extractions can be very expensive… they purchased a Roll of Carpet along with a good
Wet Vac and they’re handling extractions in-house.
Plumbers can drain your controllable expenses... they also purchased a Drain Cleaning
Jan Cummings -
8/28/2009 Machine to reduce the cost/calls for plumbers
Landscaping can be a real killer and I’m not talking “weed-killer”… they purchased their own
potted flowers and save the extra expense.
Initial investments can sure pay off in the long run!
Motion Sensors and/or Timers… the last property I managed was newly renovated and in
order to save on office and common area utility bills we installed motion sensors in both
bathrooms, fitness center and laundry room thereby keeping the lights off during most of
Tony Martinez - the day when they were not in used. Prospects were usually impressed as lights magically
SE-Regional Office turned on automatically during tours.
Timers are also great tools and they can even help manage your time spent in the
These distinguished property managers have taken the initiative to reduce their cleaning
Missy Wagnoger cost by purchasing their own cleaning supplies and sprucing up their offices, models and
(Sedgefield), Tammy Clark other amenities in-house! Cleaning vendors usually service our common areas once or twice
(Arboretum), Karen a week however by doing most of the cleaning in-house each property saves between $200
Waddell (Sweetwater) & to $400 a month on cleaning cost.
Crystal Brown (Lynn Some of them have reduced the service to ONCE a month for a deep/thorough cleaning and
Lake) the staff takes it from there
As we all know extracting water, possible pad replacement and carpet cleaning are only part
of the equation… the vendor has to leave blower/fans and a dehumidifier in order to avoid
Juli Cafferty - possible damages caused by residual moisture. Well check this… Juli and her team kicked it
Pecan Grove up a notch by purchasing their OWN Fans and Dehumidifier thereby saving the daily rental
rate from the vendor; at an average of $95 per night minimum two nights that’s a $190
savings on every extraction
St. Ives has a pretty high turnover rate due to the higher volume in military personnel
however in order to cut costs on both phases (St Ives 1 & 2) the on-site half is not more
Dianne Lang -
9/4/2009 of the units themselves. The painting vendor is only used for the units that need extra
St. Ives special attention or are needed for immediate move in thereby saving a bucket load of
Middle age can be hard for hardware as well as people. Imagine being opened and closed
multiple times a day, imagine being exposed to the elements day in and day out, exterior
doors get a beating like nothing else. Providence’s longevity and age can be a challenge and
Jan Cummings -
9/8/2009 sometimes extra steps are needed to make things comfortable and secure for our residents.
Providence Replacing exterior doors can cost as much as $500 through a vendor but starting
immediately the kick’n maintenance staff at Providence is purchasing the doors directly from
HD Supply and installing them in-house thereby saving in excess of $320 per door!
Due to common wear and tear, resident abuse and property age Shelly has noticed an
increase in drywall/sheetrock repairs. Needless to say our painting vendors love repairs of
Shelly Bennefield - Ashton this nature because they can “name their price” on what they believe to be the size or scope
Woods of repair. Well no longer at Ashton Woods… they’ve begun to make all drywall repairs in-
house thereby saving a nice piece of change; anywhere from $100 to $1,500 a month
depending on the severity of damages.
We all know that during Trade Shows and/or Chamber of Commerce meetings vendors try to
“get our business” by giving away items such as pens, pencils, stationary, sticky notes, not
pads, hand sanitizer,
9/14/2009 General Idea sent to Corp
Believe it or not since these items are FREE we should take full advantage of them. We can
save a few bucks when it comes time to make our office supplies orders.
Just remember… every little bit counts
In-House painting and In-House countertop replacement can be extremely cost efficient;
Melissa Holmes & Carl aside from the significant savings from painting in-house they can also offer “accent walls”
Anderson - Matthews and “color changes” which are great resident retention tools. Resurfacing and/or replacing
countertops can cost as much as $500 depending on the size of the unit. Replacing
countertops in-house would also go a long way towards helping the bottom line
In order to foster good relations most vendors are eager to please us and this presents a
great opportunity to give back to our residents without having to shell out property funds.
Tell your carpet vendor or painter or carpet cleaner that you’d like to throw a Breakfast-on-
9/16/2009 Amy Dey - Millbrook the-Go or perhaps a Pizza Party for your residents. If they supply the goods you will add a
flyer with their information so residents may contract them directly of course on the other
side of that flyer will be Berkshire’s Resident Referral or Renewal information. You can say
something nifty like, “Millbrook values You?” or “Millbrook wants YOU to have a great day
It’s amazing how much paper we go through in a day let alone a month. Printing reports,
contracts, emails, notices and flyers puts a real strain on your office supplies and some say
Shelly Bennefield - Ashton the environment. Why not follow Ashton Woods example and RE-USE all your old paper.
9/17/2009 Many of us toss perfectly good paper away every day… how about this: gather your daily
reports and your old resident flyers and print your new reports on them. Using both sides of
your paper will definitely save you some money in the long run and help you stay GREEN at
the same time
The saying, “for warn is for armed” truly fits this next idea. During these uncertain times
with the possibility of illness at every turn how about taking the initiative and purchasing
some inexpensive hand sanitizer for ever desk and even the refreshment table. This way
Jan Cummings - you can lower the risk of spreading germs and catching a well publicized flu or perhaps just a
Providence common cold. How does this “save money” you ask? Well when you think about it… if we
can help keep our staffs from getting sick we can avoid sick days thereby not doubling the
work load for someone else. Plus healthy people are happy people and happy people work
harder and lease more apartments and renew more leases. Pretty cool, huh?!
Who is being cost effective and creative?
Courtney Taylor at Ashley River is …
Newsletters provide a great source of information for our residents. They inform them
about resident events, local news, community rules and regulations some supply calendars
but most importantly they usually have reminders when rent is due. However they can also
Courtney Taylormy - be expensive to supply but Courtney gave it some thought and said,
Ashley River “Anything they can do, I can do Better!”
Instead of paying an outside vendor to produce and print these little gems she’s flexing her
Power Point and Microsoft Word muscles to create her own Newsletter thereby making it
more personal and specifically suited to her residents plus she’s saving a whopping $800 in
annual costs. Prop to Amy Gordon from coming up with the same idea
George Buckingham at Wimbledon is totally on the ball…
After their model unit was damage in a recent fire, Cindy Harrison and George took the usual
steps by obtaining bids for repairs. Needless to say bids of this nature can be pretty hefty
ranging as high as $20,000. The worst damage was in the bathroom so instead of just
accepting some exorbitant bid George did the following:
George Buckingham and
He used his regular painter to take care of the soot and wall damage,
9/22/2009 Cindy Harrison - He and the team took care of the electrical repairs and drywall,
Wimbledon He used the usual carpet and tile vendors,
Cindy had all the model linens dry-cleaned rather than replaced
In the end they took the initiative (with approval of course) and completed the repairs at an
astronomical savings. By the time they were done the cost was only $4,500 !!!
As we all know some vendors have the bad habit of leaving multiple lights on or the A/C at a
low setting so they can work comfortably during the “make ready” process.
Well aside from ALWAYS making sure the lights are turned off and A/C set back to an
acceptable level after his vendors have completed their work Steve takes it one step further:
Steve Dufresne - Howell
9/24/2009 Since his property has gas water heaters he sets all vacant units heaters to vacation mode.
Station While on this setting the pilot light is remains lit however the water in the tank is not heated
thereby saving valuable gas. Of course they always make it a point to reset the water heater
back to normal prior to the new resident moving it. Good job!
Instead of allowing the landscaper to replace the planters around the pool at an average
cost of $18 per basket the on-site team did some research and found some weather tolerant
flowers for the upcoming season.
They purchased their own flower at Home Depot along with some soil and planted them
9/25/2009 Amy Gordon - River Birch themselves at a total cost of $31 which breaks down to $7.75 per basket. A great and simple
savings that anyone can make.
A few weeks ago Jan Cummings and her team Providence did something very similar. Both
The best bid Carl could get for Matthews gutter repairs was $1,200 which he thought was
way to high so he and his hard working porter Larry Nelson took it upon themselves to make
the repairs and it paid off (so to speak) at a total cost of $14.00 (WOW what a savings)
Carl Anderson and Larry Then he took it one step further… he got another outrageous bid to replace the pool filter
Nelson - Matthews sand for $550! Once again he took it upon himself and replaced the pool filter sand himself
at a total cost of $134.00
Carl and Larry – ROCK!!!
She’s become a Craig’s List Guru and has researched the “free” categories of that site and
discovered some useful opportunities to take advantage of such as; FREE APPLIANCES (she
can print the list for her maintenance supervisor and see if they can be used for parts or
Courtney Taylor - Ashley perhaps as a backups in case a resident’s unit breaks down) and there’s even free moving
River boxes that can be offered to assist new residents.
These items are usually listed as “CURB ALERTS” and all you have to do is make
arrangements for pick up. Unconventional and clever, good job
It should be common practice to set thermostats in all vacant units at approx. 78-degrees.
This way the apartment will remain comfortable enough to show prospects and keep
relative humidity low to avoid any possible moisture issues later. Eric takes it a step further
and suggests the installation of programmable thermostats in the management office,
Kensington - Eric
10/2/2009 models and any other common areas. They can be programmed on a 7-day cycle and keep
the guess work out of the staff’s hands. They automatically regulate cold and heat during
working and off hours.
This is a great way to save money on monthly utility bills, nice job!
Contractors love to nickel and dime us to death especially when it comes to “labor” charges.
Sedgefield has stackable washer/dryer’s and even the cheapest service call to a contractor
can be pretty costly.
The savvy maintenance team at Sedgefield has taken it upon themselves to learn how to
make these repairs and instead of spending $500 for the contractor to handle the repair
Missy Wagnoger - they did it themselves for $38, great job!
Sedgefield This is a good example of how to circumvent additional charges. Some manufactures and
even large vendors like HD Supply offer classes on appliance repairs which is something we
should take advantage of because we can save tons of cash in the long run. Check with your
Rep. or perhaps your local Chamber of Commerce which may have a listing of upcoming
Preventative Maintenance ALWAYS leads to cost savings!
Jeff Avery and I were comparing stories and were reminded about the steps we took when
the winter season began…
Both the summer and the winter seasons bring their own sets of issues. When we prepare
for summer we want to check the property A/C units, clean coils, make sure filters are
changed and the same is said for winter.
Tony Martinez - Residents are typically transient and many are new to apartment living. Some of them are
SE-Regional Office unaware how heat pumps or electric/gas heat works. This is the time to send out a general
reminder to your residents explaining what to expect the first time they turn on the “heat”.
The most common complaint or call we receive is a burning smell, which is caused by the
accumulated dust on the heat coils. Simple pimple, right? Well imagine getting the same
work order over and over again because residents are uninformed? By sending a reminder
you save yourselves the daily calls from concerned residents and even possibly unnecessary
work orders thereby keeping your staff sane, saving paper and providing great customer
Shelly Bennefield at Ashton Woods says, “Every little bit helps”…
How many times have we trashed out a unit only to throw away perfectly good items such
as cleaning supplies???
In their haste to finish moving residents have a habit of leaving behind glass cleaner, oven
Shelly Bennefield - Ashton cleaner, paper towels and even spray-on carpet stain remover.
10/9/2009 Even cheap cleaning supplies can cost between $1.75 to $5.95 per item.
Well instead of throwing out “baby with the bay water” so to speak; take the supplies that
you can use on-site.
Your housekeeper can always use more cleaning supplies! As a matter of fact, some
cleaning vendor’s charge you for the use of their supplies so why not insist they use your
extras thereby saving a few bucks.
Shelly’s right, every little bit does help!
Check out the cleverness of Angelia Trammell at Monarch Crossing…
Making extra money off an already existing amenity or service is a beautiful thing!
Angelia figured out how to earn disposal income with her stackable Washer/Dryer rentals.
Instead of allowing her residents to rent the units directly from the vendor she has made a
lucrative agreement with them. She rents any number of stackable Washer/Dryer’s she
Angelia Trammell - needs at a flat rate of $21.95 per month. She’s not required to rent any particular amount
Monarch Crossing or any particular length of time.
In turn she rents the units directly to the residents for $35 to $50 a month. The minor
pricing difference is due to the current market trends.
This ingenious agreement can expand as markets change and can even be offered as a
limited concession deal if the need arises.
Talk about clever!!!
Frugal spending is the name of the game and Cindy Harrison at Wimbledon knows her way
We’re all in the habit of ordering almost everything we purchase from a vendor. The
convenience of going online or placing a call for whatever we need far out ways the hassles
of bargain shopping for ourselves. The regional purchasing, maintenance departments and
Cindy Harrison - your DM’s work very hard to get us the very best pricing they can however in many cases
10/14/2009 vendor’s charge gas, trip and packaging fees. Cindy is always on the lookout for a bargain
and this works well for her bottom line. Instead of ordering theme decorations, cleaning
supplies and even move in gifts via a vendor she searches for coupons and visits her local
Great bargains can be found if we just take the time to look. Obviously we always want to
adhere to any policy required by Berkshire but if you can decorate your model and office
inexpensively, why not?! Good going Cindy
Cost Savings Ideas are running rampant and
Scott Gilpatrick, RVP SE-Region knows a good deal when he sees it…
We all know that the smell of smoke can be difficult to get rid of not to mention pet odor!
Whether it’s due to a small fire, smelly dog or chain smoking resident’s the odor left behind
is difficult to remove and/or mask and Murphy’s Law dictates that the new resident will be
particularly susceptible to “aromas”. So how do we take care of this problem without
breaking the bank?
10/21/2009 Scott Gilpatrick - SE-RVP
Scott says, “give this a try, it worked for me”
Google: BigDInd Fire-D One Shot After-Fire Aerosol
Instead of contacting your usual vendor to bring in his fogging/ozone machine that is not
only expensive but difficult to use in small areas like closets, spend a mere $35.95 and
purchase a can this aerosol which can deodorize approx. 10,000 cubic feet. You’ve got
nothing to lose and lots to save. Nice going, Scott
Osprey Landing has several Pet Waste Stations a.k.a. Poopy Pet Stops and though they are
great assets to the community for both residents and groundskeepers, maintaining these
stations can be pretty expensive.
Christy found a way around one costly item, the BAGS! Her four legged resident’s can use
up to 3,000 bags a month costing over $379.00. After a little online research, Osprey’s staff
Christy Rexroad - Osprey
10/23/2009 found a supplier called “Eagle Bags” which sell bulk produce bags at a significant savings.
Landing 3,000 bags only cost $112.00. Granted they are not as esthetically pleasing as the standard
poopy bags but with some minor adjustments to the dispenser they work just the same and
now Christy is saving approx. $3,200.00 a year in bags.
Talk about kickin it up a notch! Nicely done!
Check out the GREAT IDEA sent by the brilliant PM of the West
Jessica Slane from Ponderosa Villas …
Jessica received her first Cost Saving flyer yesterday and has already contributed a great
suggestion for the group:
Although combining FedEx packages is a great idea how about this… Ops Technology has
setup an email address to receive invoices.
Jessica Slane - Ponderosa Talk about cost saving and convenient… instead of accumulating invoices throughout the
Villas week you can send them daily. As long as you or your sister property has a scanner you can
email Ops your invoices and most likely have them processed a little quicker. Plus you can
create a folder on your computer to keep track of your invoices thereby saving yourself
The invoice email for Berkshire is:
Our preventative maintenance guru is Jeff Avery at Atlanta Regional Office and he’s keeping
his “eye on the ball”…
It’s interesting how much we depend upon our BMW’s and Jaguar
(a.k.a. the Golf-Cart)
It’s a convenient and fun vehicle used for prospect tours and property inspections however
if not properly maintained the cost of repairs can feel like a BMW.
Jeff Avery - Did you know that if you need to replace a battery on a Gold Cart it’s recommended to
SE-Regional Office replace them all at the same time? Because if you mix new batteries with old ones the
vendor usually won’t guarantee the battery life.
Jeff has some suggestions that can save you money in this area:
_ Check the battery water levels regularly & clean battery terminals
_ Check cables for tightness and corrosion
_ Rotate tires every few months to promote longevity
Small steps like these can save you LOTS of MONEY, thanks Jeff
Melissa Jackson, APM at The Crossings says, “if you do it yourself you can always save
Move In Gifts are a great way to Welcome a Resident to their New home however they can
be pretty costly to order from Peachtree Products or Welcome Home America so why not
make your own, it’s easy:
Melissa Jackson - Order toilet paper and paper towels in bulk and wrap them in gift tissue
The Crossings Order door hanger bags and add property flyers plus coupons and menus
Add some candy (post Halloween candy sells real cheap right now)
A water bottle, a welcome home tag and you’re done!
In the end each gift averages $2.50 instead of the usual $8 to $15 when ordered through a
Are you overloaded with work order requests? Is the maintenance team running themselves
raged trying to catch up and just when you think it’s over you have a ton of “make ready’s”
to deal with? Why not try a MAINTENANCE MANIA DAY?
When I was on-site there were a few times I was assigned to a “challenging asset” and one
of the biggest challenges was back dated work orders. Stopping time would be fantastic but
the reality is daily operations such as leasing, turning units and work orders never stop but
this is where having sister properties comes in handy… if you’re property is having a hard
Tony Martinez -
11/4/2009 time catching up, share your resources. Talk to your PM / DM… the maintenance supervisor
SE-Regional Office can review the open work orders and see what’s needed for each, then check the
maintenance shop to make sure there are enough supplies, then set a date and have a tech
from as many properties as possible work your property for the day. Imagine how much can
be accomplished having triple the manpower?! Your work order load could dropped
considerably and your maintenance team can finally catch their breath.
Keep the flow going… and buy them lunch, it worked for me
“Convenience” is our National Purchasing Manager, Matt Baratta’s middle name. He not
only thought of an easy way to save some money but he’s even providing us with Ops
information to help find it…
Packages containing paperwork are constantly sent back and forth between offices. To keep
Matt Barrata - the documents in order we use large generic envelopes for different departments and
11/9/2009 National Purchasing personnel however by purchasing INTER-OFFICE ENVELOPES
Manager We could “reuse” the same envelopes over and over again.
Up to 30x times!
As long as they are used properly with our current usage and disposal of envelopes the
average savings could be as high as $75 over the standard ordering cycle.
An idea worth exploring: SKU 187039
Jeff Avery our Regional Construction Manager always says:
“Efficiency and Savings go hand and hand”
How many times have we ordered maintenance supplies or parts that we didn’t need simply
because we didn’t realize we had them?
Probably more than once!
Organizing the maintenance shop goes a long way towards saving both time and money.
Jeff Avery - Taking some simple steps will increase efficiency and decrease lag time:
SE-Regional Office 1- Supplies holders and boxes should be labeled with minimum/maximum stickers to help
keep parts properly stocked and avoid over ordering
2- Use clear containers which will display your available items thereby cutting time spend
in the shop and allow more time completing service requests
3- Remove debris and other items from walking paths which will allow for easy access and
avoid possible injury
Easy - Peezy, right?!
Money Saving Ideas come in all shapes and sizes
Bradley Roschyk at Southern Villas uses a clever
trick to save loads of paper…
Have you ever notice that when you’re printing a quote for a prospect the system usually
prints four sheets of paper? The first page has all the information you need and the other
three just end up with some insignificant printing like floor plans or site plans which are
likely included in your marketing brochures.
Well the staff at Southern Villas has implemented the “print one rule” which means they’ll
Bradley Roschyk -
11/17/2009 make a small adjustment to their computer’s print option by altering the default setting and
Southern Villas choose to print one page instead of four and since they usually print more than one quote
per prospect this can work out to be a serious savings.
It’s very easy to do just follow these steps:
_When you’re ready to print a quote DO NOT choose “quick print or the printer icon”
_Click Print Preview instead
_Before printing you’ll see an option called “print range”
_Change the number of pages and there you go
Simple pimple, right?!
Jan Cummings from Berkshire on Providence says:
Friendliness and Inter- Community sharing, ZERO Dollars
Employee bonding, ZERO Dollars
Benefits to Berkshire, PRICELESS!
The staffs from Providence, River Birch and Matthews come together three times a year for
an employee luncheon. It’s a potluck and everyone is encouraged to participate and bring
their own special dish.
Jan Cummings -
11/19/2009 This small gesture of sharing goes a long way towards building strong teams and promoting
Providence employee bonding. Typically staffs from different communities only intermingle once a year
usually during the holidays however by making it a point to get together on a more regular
basis helps build good relationships and loyalty for the company and each other.
These staff members just celebrated their annual Thanksgiving Day luncheon and once again
it was a great success!
The cost savings on this one is simple… happy employees make good employees greatly
reducing turnover which saves funds in recruiting and training
Being proactive is always a good idea
especially when it comes to savings!
Kent Smith at Berkshire on Nesbit Ferry takes it up a notch…
The holiday season is here and it’s usually filled with family, food and traditions. One
particular tradition is purchasing and decorating a Christmas tree. Many residents will bring
a real tree into their homes. The natural smell of pine and the warmth of a real tree can
make people feel very festive and though we always want our residents to be happy we
12/1/2009 Kent Smith - Nesbit Ferry don’t want it to be at our expense.
Once the holidays are over some residents have a bad habit of filling up the dumpster areas
with their discarded Christmas trees. This poses a problem for the sites because many waste
management companies will not empty dumpsters filled with trees which affects the weekly
pickup schedule thereby mucking up the first few weeks of the New Year. Kent and his
maintenance team found an easier way to save money and it’s just a short drive away:
Their local Home Depot has a designated drop off area for discarded trees. Instead of
renting a “roll-off” contact your closest Home Depot or Lowes and perhaps you can take
advantage of their generosity. It never hurts to try
Michael Green at Berkshires at Hoffman Estates says:
“Smart purchasing in bulk can save thousands of dollars a year”
A minor amount change to a regular order of marketing inserts and other printed materials
can make a huge difference to the bottom line.
As Michael explains it:
Michael Green - Berkshire “Professionally printed business and marketing materials is primary a result of labor and set
12/3/2009 up costs associated with a print job,
on Hoffman Estates
not the amount of paper or ink used for the job itself.
Did you know that the cost of Berkshire floor plan brochure inserts is $117 for 100 double
sided copies, and the cost of 400 is only $15 dollars more?
A property purchasing small quantities of 100 floor plan inserts quarterly could spend $468,
or make one annual purchase of 400 inserts for only $132!
A $336 savings per floor plan!”
Spending SMART is the way to go!
Amanda Smith our trusty APM at Wimbledon Chase says:
“Resident’s always appreciate a personal touch”
We always want to show are residents how much we appreciate them and during the
holidays it usually means serving some hot chocolate in the office and sending out holiday
Amanda Smith - Though cards are a great gesture they can also be very expensive.
Wimbledon CHase The Wimbledon team spreads holiday cheer by making their own cards. As simple as A-B-C
A – They used their creativity and Microsoft Publisher ($0)
B – Printed out enough copies for all residents ($5.99 ream of paper)
C – Purchased box of square envelopes (Staples $12.49)
Add a little elbow grease folding the cards into the square shapes then posting them on all
the resident’s doors and viola.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONe
Cost Saving's Tally
Date Property or Individual IDEA:
Happy New Year to ALL
Cindy Harrison from Wimbledon Chase says:
“Post holiday sales are like a second black Friday”
When the holidays are over the retailers slash prices on their holiday inventory
between 50% to 75%.
Cindy Harrison -
1/5/2010 Cindy has taken full advantage of this opportunity to save by purchasing lights,
Wimbledon decorations and cards for next season.
Nothing like getting a jump on sales to decorate your offices, models and even
amenities, very cool.
As they say on TV, “if you act now you can still purchase some of the left over items, as
a matter of fact the prices may even be reduced by 85% to get rid of the last tidbits.”
Angie Anderson from Avalon at Chase Oaks says:
“Constant reminders are a great way to make sure people are listening”
Angie and her staff have come up with a simple but effective way to get their point
across, over and over again.
They’ve created a “reminder” flyer that is placed on the interior door of their vacant
units. The flyer is a constant & colorful reminder that it’s EVERYONE’S responsibility to
watch the bottom line. For example, how many times have gone to restaurant and
Angie Anderson - Avalon
1/12/2010 read that restroom sign that says, “employees must wash their hands”? The flyer
at Chase Oaks they’ve created uses the same technique by telling vendors and employees to shut off
lights, adjust thermostats, etc. Angie has graciously provided up with a copy of the
flyer, perhaps YOU can use it to.
One more thing… during their staff meetings they always discuss the Cost Savings
Ideas with the entire staff to see if they can be implemented at Avalon. Nice going
Melissa Holmes from Berkshires of Matthews says:
“Tax Season’s here, we’ll get on the ball
help our residents with refunds so they won’t stall” (you get the idea)
On the recent resident notices Melissa has been mentioning Turbo Tax and other
steps to get quick refunds. This way her residents will be more prone to pay their rent
on time or perhaps even earlier than usual.
Melissa Holmes - Another suggestion is to contact a local Tax Prep company and possibly partnering up
Matthews with them as an added concierge service for our residents. Perhaps a fee or
commission could be negotiated for every resident we refer to them. Every little bit
helps plus residents would appreciate our efforts to assist them in these troubling
*Apparently car dealerships do it all the time to generate business*
Side note… before moving forward with this please contact your DM
Have great suggestions to save on toner and paper
Susana Covarrubias - suggests… when the office staff prints an online application made by a prospective
Berkshires on Brompton resident the system shoots out three pages but we can save on that last page because
& our “Application/ Move In Procedure Checklist” contains the same information.
Paula Blackburn - Ashley Savings are always appreciated!
River asks… did you know that most printers have an “Econo Mode”? It basically reduces
the amount of ink used when printing thereby saving on costly toner replacement.
Check your printer setting or Google it. Perhaps you can start saving TODAY
Christin D’Amato from Arboretum Place
s a y s:
Welcome Home Booklets have always been pretty costly and slightly inconvenient
since they’re difficult to keep up to date with the latest information such as the new
fitness room door code so Christin and the staff are trying something new…
Christin D'Amato - They use colorful paper and spruce them up with some creative prints. They can make
Arboretum Place changes at the drop of a hat to keep the residents in the loop with the latest property
updates plus they employ other fun resident retention techniques such as birthday
reminders, upcoming movie releases and more.
Side Note… they don’t print full names or apartment numbers but saying something
“Happy Birthday Bob, we appreciate you” goes a long way to impress their residents.
Did you know that in many cases large delivery orders can cost the same amount to
ship as small ones?
If you order 1 maintenance identification badge it typically costs around $7.00 to ship
but guess what? If you order up to
Allison Bass - Altanta
2/4/2010 20 badges the shipping cost is the same.
Before placing a small order ask your entire staff if they need a new badge or an extra
one. Call your sister properties and see if they are in need of badges. Placing a larger
order under one shipping cost then dividing the difference between communities can
make a real difference in the long run
Kent has found a way to get a fully customized color Newsletter for his community
and he wanted to share the joy:
Resident News (a newsletter provider) is offering free printing of their newsletters
customized to your community with no catch, no fine print and no fees. Your only
responsibility is to distribute them in a timely manner since they’ll have coupons and
other time sensitive materials. Basically the vendors who advertize with them in your
2/5/2010 Kent Smith - Nesbit Ferry area are the ones footing the bill. Resident News is a national company with locations
in practically all the same areas as our Berkshire communities.
Check them out and perhaps you can use them too.
NOTE… be sure that your DM is involved before any agreement is made
Avalon at Chase Oaks property manager
Angie Anderson is:
Q… How does Angie throw a resident function on a small budget?
A… She calls a vendor!
Using your resources is a great way to save money and prolong a good working
relationship with your vendors.
Angie Anderson - Avalon Angie called her Washer/Dryer rental provider and asked if they would be willing to
2/11/2010 provide the property with some refreshments for an upcoming resident event. Once
at Chase Oaks
they said she also got them to attach a Resident Event Flyer to their monthly door
It gets better… a local bank also wanted to distribute their services information to the
residents and Angie said as long they included Avalon’s Resident Referral ad on the
back of their flyer, it was a deal.
So in the end…the residents got a nice social gathering that Avalon didn’t have to
spend any money or manpower to advertise. Nice Going!
Diana Stairs the intrepid Assistant Property Manager at Kensington Place says:
Until recently Kensington was going through several cases of water a month; averaging
about $30 a month but with a small start up expense they’ll be saving of cash.
A classic water cooler cost approx. $125.00 (depending on size and style) and a 5-
Diana Stairs - Kensington
2/17/2010 gallon water bottle refill cost less than $3.00.
Place In the end they are now saving approx. $19.00 a month on water for the office /
prospects / residents rather than spending $30.00
Plus with the monthly savings the water cooler purchase can be recuperated in less
than seven months
Even the smallest savings can add up over time.
Do you realize using a new envelope to store Money Orders and Checks can add up
Jennifer Cirefice, Amy Dey
& Ann Mullis - Pecan
2/17/2010 Instead of using new envelopes every time you have to store prospect/resident money
Grove, Millbrook & orders or scanned checks just take the “junk mail” or envelopes you receive from
Edwards vendors… mark them clearly… and store in a safe place.
Once the deadline is met - shred the entire thing!
A green and efficient way to re-use and recycle “junk mail”
Bradley has come up with an interesting way to remain consistent. We all know how
often residents will request some touch-up paint; whether for small accidents or
perhaps they’re getting ready to move and want to make sure the unit looks good.
We also know that most of the time paint tints are slightly off, whether from changing
vendors or discontinued colors. In order to avoid the constant struggles of color
matching Bradley requests his paint vendor to fill a one quart paint can with paint
Bradley Roschyk - when they finish. These cans may easily be found on the Ops site under Sherwin
3/2/2010 Williams item# 1505114.
This helps in several ways:
* The additional paint can be stored in the maintenance shop or perhaps in the actual
units HVAC closet out of site making them readily available
* A good percentage of the painting turns are conducted in-house and having
sufficient touch up paint helps save money
* Also having extra paint helps make paint matches easier rather than using smaller
less convenient items such as a paint chips
Joe and Gary came up with a clever way to save some money and time over the long
run with their access gates; anyone who’s ever worked on a community with access
gates knows how often they’re damaged accidentally and sometimes purposely by
residents or their guests. Check this out:
The Fountains at Lee Vista - Fountains has FOUR entry gates with barrier arms, unfortunately the barrier arms take
Gary Minkema and Joe the brunt on a daily basis and double the brunt on weekends. The Fountains are
Carpino forced to replace the arms several times a week. But now instead of replacing the
arms with the easily broken wood variety they use light-weight downspouts which
they mark with bright yellow tape and have reduced the replacement costs and effort
by more than half.
The downspouts cost approx $7 versus the $4 wood variety however the drastic
reduction in constant replacements saves not only TIME but MONEY as well
Crystal’s proactive idea applies to all Berkshire communities;
Renovated and non-renovated alike.
Appliances such as Refrigerators, Dishwashers, Stoves/Ovens plus Carpets, Wood and
Vinyl floors, resurfaced countertops, sinks and tubs…
what do they all have in common?
In order to prolong the longevity of all those items we have to educate our residents.
Preventative Maintenance is only part of the equation the other part is our resident’s
housekeeping habits. A resurfaced tub should last between 3yrs to 5yrs but how
3/24/2010 Crystal Brown - Lynn Lake many times was that span cut short and you were forced to reseal again due to a
resident’s cleaning treatments? Though we LOVE OUR RESIDENTS there are numerous
that have never learned how to clean a stove or tub properly. By giving them basic
instructions we could save ourselves some money. Upon Move-In Crystal and her staff
give their residents a list of common household cleaners with some basic
They recommend the best ones to use and the ones to avoid. By doing so there’s less
chance of damage; such as scratches or discoloring because our residents unknowingly
Our industrious National Purchasing Manager
Matt Baratta says
Do you have extra bolts, wax rings or maybe a surplus of hood vent filters? If you
don’t keep track, small items like these can add up over time and before you know it
you have enough plumbing tape to re-pipe your entire property. How about creating
Better yet, Matt has already created one for you; all you have to do is fill it in.
Matt Baratta - Purchasing Like any cost saving suggestion this may help you save
4/6/2010 some money in the long run.
Basically your maintenance team can fill in any items you have in excess in the
maintenance shop. There’s always too much of one thing and not enough of another.
Keeping a basic list of these items and sharing it with your sister communities may
help you find parts/products you need that they have in excess. Sister communities
are the best candidates for this idea simply due to geography; most DM’s take
advantage of the Monthly Operations Call to meet with their PM’s. Why not take
advantage of that meeting and exchange items from your list with your sister
You can save: SPACE, TIME and MONEY
Melissa Chadburn the spirited Property Manager of
Believes: Multitasking can be a real asset
Pool season is which involves all sorts of routines:
Checking water levels
Checking safety equipment
Checking pool furniture
Melissa Chadburn - Sending out Reminders of the Pool Rules to the residents
4/23/2010 And at some properties it’s time to replenish the Pool Passes
Every year Melissa spends well over $200 for new passes for her residents and their
guests but this year it’s going to be different.
Instead of spending all that extra money ordering passes she purchased a laminating
machine at half the cost. Not only can she create multiple passes per sheet but she
can also personalize them when needed.
How about Passes with Expiration Dates for guests that are visiting?
How about Passes with Apartment numbers for the younger crowd?
How about Passes with the rules printed on them?
Plus the machine can be used for property events and marketing!
Lake Ridge’s lively Marketing and Sales Consultant
Says: Free Stuff Is Great
Our vendors such as AT&T, FOR RENT, APARTMENT GUIDE, etc are constantly
bombarding the sites with marketing materials in order to maintain and foster good
Chatherine Yale - Lake
5/11/2010 customer relations with us.
Ridge In many cases the materials are office supplies like: Pens, Pads, Post Its, Note Books
This in no way affects our judgment when making decisions pertaining to property
operations however there’s no reason to toss such useful supplies that actually saves
you some money on your next Staples order.
As Sigmund Freud would probably say, “sometimes a pen is just a pen”
Our rocking and rolling Florida Regional Administrative Assistant
Says: Check your invoices with tenacity
Not too long ago Dynelle was looking over her FedEx bills and noticed that an
additional charge of $4.00 had been added for "residential delivery" when the
package was delivered to a business address. After discovering this little tidbit she
made it a point to keep an eye out for other mistakes made by FedEx. She also
noticed another bogus $4.00 charge for "pick up service" when the package was
Dynelle Tolbert - Florida
6/30/2010 placed in their drop box.
Region She contacted FedEx and received a refund for the erroneous charges. Dynelle has
been assisting onsite recently and found that some properties have their FedEx
packages set on "adult signature required" which is another $4.00 charge. Since ONLY
adults work on our properties and offices why spend the extra money.
Dynelle’s vigilance has saved several hundred dollars and all she did was review her
invoices and settings before paying them.
A basic and simple step that we all forget from time to time
The multi-talented Joshua Ruth Property Manager of
Preserve at Manatee Bay Mixes it up:
"Use a Resident Retention Event to Promote Safety and Possible Savings"
Joshua and his team enjoy their resident functions…
It gives them the opportunity to socialize and interact with their residents.
The residents enjoy the attention, free food and fun for their kids.
It’s also a great opportunity to share some helpful safety tips.
Joshua Ruth - Preserve at At their next function Joshua will have someone for their local
Manatee Bay Fire Department attend and demonstrate fire safety techniques such as;
Fire damages can cost our communities tens of thousands of dollars
There’s an old saying, “for warned if for armed”
By teaching his residents and staff members how to properly use a Fire Extinguisher
not only does this promote resident safety but it also helps the residents become
more proactive. Though we never want our residents to get hurt if they know how to
handle themselves during a fire they can possibly save a life and also community
Our down to business Dawn Wise, Asst. Property Manager of
says: Scan/Email everything you can
The management team at Chattahoochee took one of last year’s
Cost Saving Idea and ran with it. Not all properties have scanners so they did the best
with the equipment at hand.
Chattahoochee’s fax machine is also a multi-page scanner. All it took was a small $20
invested for a long extension UBS cable allowing Dawn to connect her computer to the
machine thereby giving her greater accessibility.
Dawn Wise -
7/9/2010 Rather than making copies/mailing/FedEx-ing their collection files they just scan them
Chattahoochee Landing into the system and email them in PDF format along with digital pictures.
She also scans/emails the property invoices to Ops as well as Month End Reports to
their Financial Analyst saving bunches on postage and time.
Dawn believes - maybe one day soon FAS refunds and vacant utility bills will be
scan/emailed instead of FedEx.
Here are some helpful email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org – for Sure Deposit files
email@example.com – for non-Sure Deposit Files sent to Rent Recovery
firstname.lastname@example.org – for Ops Invoices
Creativity is this ladies middle name
Rachel Jordan Asst. Property Manager of
says: BIG COOKIE, LITTLE COOKIE IS ALL THE SAME TO ME AS LONG AS ITS A GOOD
Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are a staple in the apartment industry. Residents crave them
Rachel Jordan - Ashton & Prospects LOVE them.
8/18/2010 There’s no denying they’re delicious however they can be pretty expensive but Jordan
came up with a simple idea to get the most cookies out of each bag and the best bang
for the buck:
Cut the frozen cookie in half before baking
Place on Cookie Sheet
Turn on Oven
Boom you’re DONE!
An easy peezy way to double a cookie order
We always want to make our advertising look crisp, fun and eye-catching. Tiffany
found another great site that allows you to create
TWO flyers at a time!
You can create a variety of professional and entertaining flyers. You can even add
Tiffany Wachholder - pictures that will make your ads really stand out.
Ponderosa Villas It’s very simple to use and once you’ve typed in your information the system saves it
and you never had to do it again.
Making minor changes such as prices or events is very easy to do and you’re back in
It’s a great website and it really makes a difference when posting ads on sites such as
How many times have you heard?
“I didn’t get a copy”
“I don’t know the rules”
This is why it is highly recommended that we provide our residents with a copy of their
lease agreement upon move in. By doing so a resident cannot claim “ignorance” of
policy and/or procedures.
Celeste Rivera - Edwards Celeste takes it a step further and offers her residents a digital copy of the lease
Mill emailed to them. This covers two areas:
1st – you get their email address which can be helpful in the future as another means
2nd – you save money on copy paper by scanning the lease along with addendums
and the rules and emailing them directly to the resident. In addition you have an
official record that a copy was provided to the resident upon move in.
Technology can be a good thing when used properly!