23 Quick Ways to Cut Costs in Your Community
If delinquencies and bad debt have created severe cash-flow challenges in your association, you're likely looking for new ways to balance your budget. Today's rising costs of goods and services make this task particularly challenging, especially when residents are vocal in their desire for lower assessment fees.
One of the first steps you can take to cut costs in your community is to negotiate your current contracts for services such as insurance, landscaping, gate maintenance, websites, pest control, plant care, window washing and street sweeping. Sometimes a simple phone call will result in significant savings.
Volunteers are also a great source for cutting costs. For example, a volunteer clean-up committee can help you save on expenses that are often directed toward landscaping, graffiti removal or security.
Here are several other cost-cutting tips:
- Investigate options with other phone providers. (Some communities have reported significant savings by switching from Qwest to Cox Communications.)
- Turn off your pool heater a month earlier.
- Provide heating for only a select number of pools in your community.
- Investigate solar for heating purposes -- you can sometimes recoup the costs within 2-3 years.
- Explore converting traditional chlorine-treated pool systems with a salt water system.
- Negotiate a bulk cable TV agreement.
- Let homeowners make their own decisions about cable usage, instead of providing the service.
- Ask your provider about bundling fees with other services such as cable and phone.
- Replace water-dependent landscape with rock or a wildflower display. (If you switch from grass to rock landscape, your local municipality will sometimes cover the expense with a grant because of the water-cost savings.)
- Reduce plantings and cap off bubblers.
- Replace old irrigation components to reduce water usage.
- Disconnect electric meters that are no longer in use.
- Switch to low-voltage lights.
- Turn off lighting in lobby and common areas during the day.
- Switch to postcards whenever possible for communication.
- Combine documents into one mailing (e.g., send newsletter with billing statements).
- E-mail PDF files instead of mailing documents.
- Overseed only in certain areas or eliminate winter/summer seeding altogether.
- Discontinue monthly plant service in clubhouse and use volunteers to care for plants.
- Replace patrol service to lock/unlock pools with a card/access reader.
- Leave gates open during peak times to save on electricity and wear and tear on motors.