Facilities are a source of ongoing costs for any business. Aside from the lease itself, facility upkeep requires no small budget and even the best planning can’t account for every cost that’ll arise throughout the year. Most businesses accept the cost of facilities outright, which is why they don’t always see opportunities for facilities maintenance to save money. How can facility maintenance reduce costs?

There are actually ample prospects for facilities maintenance cost savings if you know where to look. Too many stakeholders only look at the balance sheet and see the cost of facilities maintenance in the expense column. What they’re missing is the offsetting value of good facilities maintenance and opportunities to consolidate some of those costs into even more value. Here’s how.

What are the largest maintenance costs?

The simplest way to identify cost-saving opportunities is to identify the largest costs associated with facilities upkeep. What (or who) are you spending the most money on, and what are you getting for that price? Approach these expenses from both a cost and a value standpoint.

Let’s say 26% of your facilities budget went to HVAC this year—more than a quarter of your total spend Dive deeper. How much of that was standard, proactive maintenance vs. repair costs or emergent expenses? If you find that 86% of your expenses went to proactive costs, it signals good value, despite the high allocation. Conversely, if a significant portion of your costs went unbudgeted, it signals inefficiency and opportunity to explore cost-saving options. Perhaps a newer, more efficient rooftop HVAC unit?

Comb through your maintenance expenses, first by cost, then by value. Opportunities for expense reduction will quickly start to stick out.

Explore cost-saving opportunities

As you start to identify inflated expenses, ask yourself: how can facility maintenance services be improved around these expenses? Approach specific costs from as many angles as possible to determine viable options to reduce expenses. Some examples include:

  • Update: Will an upfront investment equate to long-term cost savings?
  • Automate: Can you reduce maintenance costs by reducing labor or man hours?
  • Integrate: Is there a different vendor who can do this at a lower cost?
  • Consolidate: Is this a task you can bring in-house to do more affordably?

Again, consider cost and value. Can you reduce the cost associated with maintenance to save the company money? If so, great! If not, is there a way to maintain this cost but derive more value from the expense? Explore opportunities from both angles.

Five ways facility maintenance can cut costs

One of the ways facilities maintenance can create more value for a company is by reducing peripheral costs. There are many ways facility maintenance can cut costs associated with operation. Explore the following:

  1. Good HVAC upkeep can reduce the prevalence of Sick Building Syndrome, which keeps employees healthier and prevents lost revenue caused by an informed workforce.
  2. In the era of COVID-19 and agile workplaces, facility sanitization and upkeep can help maintain employee health and wellness, which reduces lost time in transition.
  3. Facility maintenance of an office IoT ensures broader data collection capabilities, which results in better space utilization and improved cost efficiency.
  4. Proactive upkeep of facilities prevents larger, unexpected repair costs from entering the fold. This serves to reduce the long-term cost of ownership of facilities.
  5. Proper maintenance of grounds can reduce the prevalence of hazards or obstacles that might otherwise impact employee safety and create legal fees or medical expenses.

The value of good facilities maintenance extrapolates into numerous potential avenues of cost savings and even revenue generation. Facilities touch every part of operations, which correlates upkeep to both cost savings and generation. It’s even reasonable to say that good facilities maintenance equates to better productivity, thereby justifying maintenance costs as a contributor to revenue.

Maintain facilities with a cost-conscious mindset 

Think about the cost of facilities upkeep as a variable you can manipulate. In some cases, you can reduce expenses through a more efficient approach to generate direct cost savings. In other cases, the cost of maintenance may not change, but the value increases as the methodology changes. In either case, the business benefits.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that facilities maintenance costs are non-negotiable. Likewise, don’t strive to cut costs across the board simply for the sake of lowering the burden on the balance sheet. Take a cost-conscious mindset and approach facilities maintenance with strategy. Where can you get the most bang for your buck? Where are there opportunities to trim the fat? Most important: how do your decisions affect facilities beyond the cost of upkeep?

Keep reading: Does your business have a facility maintenance plan?

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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.