80 Ways To Reduce Expenses: Part 4

Facilities And Capital Equipment

Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a four-part series that explores 80 ways to reduce operating expenses. In these difficult economic times, these ways may be the difference between having a profitable year and one of significant financial loss. After all, every dollar of reduced operating expense goes straight to the bottom line of an annual profit-and-loss statement. Take these suggestions at face value, or modify them for your agency. Either way, please take a look. Shaving a few dollars here and there might just save a job.

Installing solar panels can help reduce a facility's energy costs.

Besides dealing with all of the utilities and equipment needed to run a facility smoothly, someone should be minding what is really necessary.

Instead of buying the same fleet of vehicles to maintain the status quo or the same water heater because it’s the same as the last one, look at how you might be able to reduce expenses and invest in future supplies.

Although some initial costs are inevitable, consider the long-term maintenance savings as well as the impact on the environment. This may go a long way in garnering public approval for additional funds.

While you may be using some of the following suggestions, examine whether combining strategies may further benefit the department.

1. Go “green” and “clean.”

Incorporate planning for LEED certification in building construction. Does your facility contribute to the carbon footprint, while others stake a claim to their “eco-friendly” venue? Review the current LEED rating system designed to assist building owners and operators in identifying and implementing practical and measurable green-building design, construction, and operations and maintenance solutions.

This strategy can be an incentive not only for management and the community, but also for elected officials to understand the underlining basis of the facility.

Do not become overwhelmed by not allocating enough time and resources to fully investigate or negotiate municipal allowances for “carbon neutrality” and comparable options, or worse not hire a certified design and architecture consultant.

2. Renovate existing facilities instead of building new.

Analyze projects and finances appropriately in these challenging times. Instead of attempting to develop a funding scheme for a new facility, forgo the brand-new for refurbishment.

This option may prove to be cost-effective for many reasons, including, although not limited to, eliminating additional potential infrastructure costs, such as roads, public transit, etc. However, don’t try to salvage every building. Those that have already been revamped multiple times may require hiring additional consultants and engineers, and it might not be worth the extra effort.

3. Choose materials carefully.

Invest time, rational thinking, and yes, some money upfront. Decide whether you want a product that will last 10 to 15 years, or 30 to 40. This will help you figure out what you need in a product, such as selecting a stainless-steel or aluminum finish, or a painted metal.

Consider whether the product is for indoor or outdoor use. Upon delivery, a painted, decorative metal trash receptacle at an outdoor facility may look beautiful; however, once it is moved, rolled, and repositioned for the umpteenth time, the paint will wear, scratch, and begin to rust. Keep in mind that paint materials and labor incur additional costs.

Although the initial time spent lamenting the decision may take longer than expected, and the product may be more expensive than anticipated, it’s better to agonize upfront!

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  1. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses, Part 2
  2. 80 Ways to Reduce Expenses: Part 3
  3. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses
  4. The Skatepark Decision, Part 1
  5. Parks & Hypergrowth, Part 1
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