Cut back, downsize, condense, economize, curtail, decrease, lower, slice, trim the fat, mark down, prune, slash, pare back, shave off … no matter how you state it, cost-cutting is something we’re all too familiar with of late. Any of these terms, when stated by a superior, could cause cold chills to run down a subordinate’s spine. But when an underling uses the same words in a conversation with his boss, it can turn that negative connotation into a positive.
Just as we’re each responsible for our personal budgets and cost-cutting when needed, the same should hold true for your position as a self-storage property manager. Little things you cut back on can add up quickly. For example, how many pens do you have to purchase each year because they simply vanish? But put a large silk flower on top, stick a few into a clay flower pot, and then stand back and be amazed at how long those dozen-for-a-dollar pens last.
Some self-storage properties already run on such a tight shoestring, they make Old Mother Hubbard feel like a rich lady. Others operate with as much fat and waste as the federal government. Somewhere in the middle is where we should all strive to be. Even for those with a rich budget, cost-cutting opportunities are all around if you simply look at things through a different set of glasses. Ask yourself, “If this purchase were coming out of my pocket, do I still believe I’m making a decision that offers the best value for the dollars spent?”
Some of the best ways I’ve found to maximize our self-storage facility’s budget dollars is to never assume I’m getting the best price on a service since “we’ve always done business this way in the past.” Below I share some of my favorite ways to save. I hope they inspire you to consider how you can maximize your value as an employee while looking out for the investor’s bottom line.
1. Research Prices Online
Each time you need an item, check several sources for the best pricing. The Internet is your friend. If you order online often, consider establishing an Amazon Prime account. The membership cost far outweighs what you’ll save in shipping costs for everyday operating supplies.
Or order office supplies (quarterly if need be) totaling $250 or more from Costco, and they’ll deliver it right to your office. Bulk purchasing can be very cost-effective, so always keep it in mind as an option. With delivery services, there’s no more wasted time lugging cases of paper home from the local office-supply store. I do still enjoy roaming store aisles once in awhile for inspiration, but now it’s a pleasurable experience and not a chore.
2. Get Competitive Bids
When you need a service performed—carpet or building cleaning, landscaping or the like—do what corporations do as standard operating practice every day: get competitive bids. Sure, Joe the handyman may be a great guy, but you’ll never learn that Harry is superb unless you give him a chance to bid on a job.
We get a minimum of three bids on any outside service in which we need to hire someone. The absolute lowest price may not always prevail, however, if we meet someone who has the same mindset for the project and gives us outstanding customer service prior to being hired. You always want the best product, end result or value, not necessarily the lowest price.
3. Always Read the Fine Print
No service contract or sale item is worth it if the restrictions are too many, the responsibilities of the provider are too small, the return policy is non-existent or the final, hidden cost with all the trimmings offsets the potential savings. The devil is in the details, and it’s worth the time to read, check out FAQs and learn how a company operates before conducting business with it.