The FM Professional

5 Subtle Ways Facilities Managers Can Save Money

David Spence
December 2nd, 2015

5 Tricks for Planting Those Money-Saving Seeds

Along with all of the day-to-day responsibilities of a facilities manager, crunching the numbers is arguably one of the most important. FMs must always keep budget on the brain.

There are a few ways to save money that may not seem like they pay off, at first. But if you incorporate these five tips into your facilities management strategy, you’re bound to see a strong ROI.

1. Invest in good office design

Our environment has a direct effect on our mood. Working in a drab, gray office versus working in an open and bright office produces entirely different effects in a person. While buying ergonomic furniture and replacing all the cubicles with open workstations sounds like a big investment of time and money, the end results of an engaged staff and a more productive workplace are worth the financial effort. Pay attention to the needs of your colleagues. How much time do they spend in the office? How often do they work together compared to working alone? Do they need a lot of quiet, or do they better with background noise? Answering these questions can help you find a design that suits the way they work, which will lead to better productivity.

2. Keep to your maintenance schedule

Just because all the machinery and equipment may be running smoothly, that doesn’t mean you can push preventive maintenance to the side. What if something goes wrong because a machine wasn’t tended to properly, and a major (and costly) repair is needed? What if the repair takes several days and interrupts your business? While you may never be able to entirely avoid reactive maintenance, you can minimize the need for it by knowing how to take care of your equipment and sticking to a routine maintenance schedule.

3. Continue your professional development

Continuing to seek new ideas and insights as a facilities manager can help you find ways to help your companies save money and run your facilities more efficiently. Conferences are an excellent way to network and learn about the latest developments in the industry. If you can’t travel to a conference, industry journals like FMLink and FacilitiesNet have information on everything from sustainability to building systems. Local networking events can also help you connect with other FMs in your area. However you choose to learn, just be sure to pursue that education consistently so that you’re constantly growing as an FM.

4. Survey your colleagues

Feedback is important for customer service-oriented fields like facilities management. If the work environment isn’t comfortable for your colleagues, that’s something you need to know. For example, if the office is too noisy or the lighting is too dark, staff may have trouble doing their jobs effectively. Having them answer brief surveys can help you gauge these problems, as well as learn about any issues they may be noticing with the FM department. Once you have this kind of feedback, you’ll have a starting point for experimenting and recalibrating so that you provide better service and a more comfortable (and efficient) work atmosphere.

5. Make purchasing decisions carefully

Saving money is important, but so is investing in a good service. Whether you’re choosing a service provider or looking for FM software, you should carefully consider what you’re paying for. It can be tempting to choose the cheaper option, but if the quality of the service or product is low, the cost in the long run can be great. Always ask for references, ask detailed questions and research what to look for in a contractor or product. The more information you have, the better decisions you’ll make.

With these five tips you’re well on your way to keeping your budget healthy and in check. What other advice would you add to this list?

photo credit: hin255 at