Twenty-five percent: That’s how much of your HOA budget you may be using for maintenance. And considering what your maintenance budget covers—keeping up your common areas, attending to repairs, and addressing unexpected issues—it’s no wonder. Needless to say, you want to be smart with your maintenance budget. (Read this white paper to learn how your HOA can save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.)
Even if you think you are handling your community’s maintenance needs adequately, there’s probably room for improvement. For example, if you’re trying to save money by performing maintenance less often, you may actually be spending more money in the long run. Planning ahead, on the other hand, can prevent unexpected expenses. An experienced and reliable HOA management company can help you determine your maintenance needs, develop a maintenance schedule, and mitigate unplanned repairs.
But first, it’s a good idea to understand your current approach to maintenance. In general, maintenance styles fall into one of three categories: reactive, preventive, or predictive. Read the descriptions below to see which style defines you.
Category #1: The reactive style
If you find that you primarily perform maintenance when something breaks down, this style applies to you. And you’re in good company; reactive maintenance is all too common, even though it is not an ideal approach. It can result in surprise costs—something every HOA wants to minimize. To overcome this approach, remember to give regular attention to equipment and structures that seem to be fine. A little maintenance now can prevent bigger problems later.
Category #2: The preventive style
HOAs that take this approach probably have established positive relationships with experts including suppliers and contractors, have negotiated good rates, and have developed a pretty good idea of the time it takes to perform certain maintenance activities. These are all great aspects of this style. However, this approach can also result in too much attention going to some maintenance concerns at the expense of others.
In addition, HOAs that take this approach can face issues when they get a new board of directors. Will this board have the same relationships with vendors? Are they familiar with the contracts? Are they aware of the actions that could void warranties?
If this is your maintenance style, it’s crucial that you put together an inclusive plan that addresses all your ongoing maintenance needs, not just some of them. You also want to be sure that you provide the next board with all the information it needs to properly oversee the community’s future maintenance requirements.
Category #3: The predictive style
Do you monitor and inspect all of your buildings, facilities, and equipment on an ongoing basis? If so, congratulations! You take a predictive approach. This is the maintenance style we should all strive to adopt and the one that is the most financially stable. It lets you plan ahead and integrate money-saving practices, such as installing equipment that promotes energy efficiency or using materials that are environmentally friendly.
Developing a more predictive maintenance style can go a long way in stretching your maintenance budget. And it doesn’t have to be difficult if you rely on the expertise of a good HOA management company.