Posted 1 May '16
This time of year is filled with number crunching as governments and businesses across the country fill columns with income and expenses for the year ahead. It’s budget season.
And just as is the case for Governments, so to do retirement village managers need to set and seek approval for their annual budget.
It’s a delicate process of negotiation that, unfortunately, can turn ugly if a chasm opens between what is wanted, what’s required and what people are actually prepared to pay for.
The expertise of ARP management lies in balancing those competing priorities when setting out a budget.
Adding to the tension is the fact that unlike governments, where budget black holes and blowouts have become the stuff of legend, for retirement village managers the annual budget, once approved, is absolutely set in stone.
It’s a vital to get it right to ensure village assets, residents and the bottom line of the village operators are all happy and well maintained. And as most people in the business know that’s the kicker for retirement village management: Maintenance fees.
The key to securing budget approval is to avoid surprises.
ARP onsite managers work year round to inform and educate village residents about what maintenance fees deliver and what to expect in the forthcoming budget process.
Rather than simply circulate a document a week before the meeting and expect the resident committee to automatically agree to it ARP managers implement a long term strategy of communication with residents.
Our on-ground team members are taught to take every opportunity to explain how the smooth running and pristine appearance of a village is achieved by careful application of maintenance fees. So a casual comment from a resident about how the roses in the garden look wonderful, should be acknowledged with a response about the good value delivered by the gardeners together with an explanation that resident requests to get the hedges trimmed more regularly will probably cost more.
It’s a subtle process but over time it will help ensure the budget approval process is less combative because it is founded on a deeper understanding of the issues.
Done correctly the budget process implemented over twelve months will successfully deliver budget approval in a single meeting leaving management with the powers to get out and get on with it.
So if you are tearing your hair out trying to get the budget sorted this year keep in mind that now is the time to start working on the process for next year!