Reconciling Your Condominium's Maintenance Budget Ordering Supplies

Along with big-ticket items like boilers, HVAC systems, and the like, residential buildings also have to purchase lots of little, everyday things like cleaning supplies, light bulbs, and paper products. Though not necessarily expensive in and of themselves, costs for these small things can definitely add up over the course of a year. It’s up to managers and building staff members to keep a lid on costs and be conscientious about limiting waste.

Operations and Use

Every time the lights are turned on, dust settles on a surface, or somebody tracks some mud into the hallway, supplies are needed. The day-to-day operations of a building will consume products that need to be replaced on an ongoing basis, says Jerry Blumberg of Kew Forest Maintenance Supply in Forest Hills. “On a daily basis, the list of things that are used include: cleaning supplies, carpet cleaning equipment, plumbing supplies, light bulbs, replacement parts…those are your dailies.” Other items, such as filters and trashcans will need to be replaced less often, but still on a regular basis. In addition, seasonal items such as salt, shovels, sand and other season-specific supplies should be considered in the overall picture of necessary purchases in the yearly budget.

Especially when considering a larger building, the daily use can add up quickly, says Alan Crawford, owner of Crawford Community Management Services, LLC in Rumson. “In a setting where we have a big building, we probably go through two gallons of cleaner a day.”

All of these products are purchased out of the maintenance budget, and over the course of a year, the total can add up, especially in larger buildings with more traffic. “Cleaning supplies and products make up the majority of the supplies budget,” says Ira Meister of Matthew Adam Properties, Inc. in Manhattan, “although it’ s generally not a large part of the overall budget, except when there is a major repair being done. In that case, especially if the building is doing the repair itself, there will likely be more money spent on these supplies.”

Along with the regular sweeping, mopping, window cleaning, and carpet cleaning, these repairs can generate a great deal of extra dust and other waste. Moreover, repairs that may take several days, weeks, or even months will have a substantial effect on the quantity of cleaning supplies that are consumed. “Every building may have some unexpected repairs, so they buy extra supplies,” says Syed Haque, a Rego Park, Queens-based accountant specializing in co-ops and condominiums. “Some of the buildings do their own repairs, so that’s when they need some extra supplies.”

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