Global economists are raising concerns of a financial downturn and forecasts are showing the growing risk of a coming stagnation. As a result businesses have begun looking for cost saving initiatives to tighten their belts and prepare for leaner times. With mounting uncertainties continuing into the foreseeable future, reducing expenses is sure to be an area of concern for decision makers.

Cost saving initiatives refer to any actions that may be undertaken in an effort to reduce the price of conducting business. It’s simple enough to simply reduce costs but the key is to cut spending without sacrificing performance metrics such as revenue or tenant satisfaction. For this, organizations will need to be inventive, adaptable, and resilient.

1. Be Diligent With Accounting

The best way to understand your expenses is to analyze historic costs. This requires the gathering and organizing of data in an effective and meaningful way. Tracking and categorizing expenses will make it easier to devise strategies that will reduce them.

The process of collecting, sorting, and compiling financial information can be labor intensive and come at a substantial cost. Accounting software is a comparatively inexpensive tool that can provide greater analysis functionality at a reduced labor expenses. If your property management software is due for an update, consider getting even more for your money by investing in a solution that can combine property management and accounting on one platform.

2. Form Partnerships With Vendors

If you’re managing a number of properties you probably have a list of vendors from which you choose when you need something done. Chances are there are redundant vendors that perform the same services on that list. While it’s good to have backups in case of emergency, it may be a good idea to minimize the number of vendors that you work with.

Consider allowing vendors to compete for a sole sourcing contract. The vendor that can meet your terms and offers the lowest price would become your only provider for the specified services. Be sure to include a clause on how long you must wait before you can call a different vendor or you may find that your jobs don’t get prioritized.

3. Automate What You Can

Technology can do so many things and decision makers should always be on the lookout for tools that can help meet your cost saving goals. Automation has the potential to let machines perform recurring actions with little to no human involvement. The best jobs for automation are the repetitive tasks that are triggered by specific events.

Cut costs and increase productivity with automatic actions by removing monotonous tasks and utilizing skilled employees in a better way. People are better at interpreting, analyzing, innovating, and relationship building. Get more out of your labor budget by letting people do what they do best.

4. Don’t Buy When You Can Barter

If you have a surplus of assets you might be sitting on a cost saving goldmine. Consider how what you have can be used to get what your business needs. You might be able to use the age old practice of bartering to trade what you’re not using to reduce your out of pocket expenses.

If there is space on your properties that is not being utilized you might speak to your vendors if they are in need of storage. Those that offer seasonal services such as landscaping and snow removal usually have equipment they don’t need year round. Another area to look at is excess parking that you can let a vendor utilize.

5. Store Documents Digitally

It is wasteful to retain archived files and in a digital world it is unnecessary. A digital document management system allows you to upload, save, retrieve, and send files as needed. This efficient method of managing your paperwork can help your business run better while saving money.

Storing files digitally is a cost saving idea with far reaching side effects that reduce expenses. You will no longer need storage space for paper documents reducing overhead. Documents can be retrieved easily by anyone, anywhere, eliminating the need for an employee to pull and deliver documents. Save on office supplies by reducing the amount of paper your business consumes.

6. Optimize The Timing Of Operations

Property management is a cyclical business in which certain recurrent activities happen at anticipated intervals. This can be problematic in terms of appropriate staffing levels as there are times when employees are overwhelmed and times when there may not be enough work to keep them busy. You can reduce the negative impact of this by optimizing the timing of certain business activities.

Rent is usually due at the beginning of the month and this makes it a busy time for employees. This may not be the best time to schedule more flexible activities such as annual inspections. Be aware of all the busy periods and stressful times for your employees and try to find ways to spread the workload more evenly.

7. Embrace Remote Work

Working from home has become a hot button topic for many businesses. While some argue that a divided team can’t collaborate as effectively, there are cost saving benefits to remote work which can’t be ignored. Allowing employees to do their work at home saves on rental space, utilities, and lost productivity.

Quality property management software can overcome many of the hurdles presented by remote work. Employees will need the tools to access their work from home and communicate with one another. Luckily modern technology makes working from home a viable option.

These seven cost saving tips can get you started on the road to reducing expenses but to delve deeper you will need good ideas. Brilliant plans don’t always come to us on demand. Research shows that idea generation improves with repeated attempts.

Think of as many ideas as you need to meet your cost saving goals and set them aside for a few days. Repeat the process and you will find that with each attempt your ideas get better. Your mind opens wider and you begin to see new possibilities.