35 ideas to save costs on your real estate

Whether you’ve already picked out ripe opportunities or just getting started, here is a helpful list of 35 different strategic and tactical suggestions to help reduce the cost of managing your real estate.

October 11, 2016

These ideas could be just what you need to kick-start the journey.

  1. Outsource tactical activities, such as managing work orders or managing vendors to enable your team to focus on managing relationships, align objectives to your company’s business strategy, and prepare and plan to future disruptions.
  2. Put a sustainability program into place. Activities like energy savings and waste reduction not only save costs, it also helps your company meet its sustainability goals.
  3. Drive real estate performance by defining and implementing key metrics across your organization, and manage them regularly through automated dashboards.
  4. Look for economic incentives from public entities for any major new facility, space renewal or major capital expenditure.
  5. Put guidelines in place for all vendors that align to your sourcing strategy to reduce cost and add value.
  6. Hold a formal review your real estate portfolio ever year to identify and prioritize new ideas for cost savings.
  7. Designate your facilities as ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ so that you can adjust real estate and financial strategies for each type.
  8. Run an analysis to identify and eliminate space in your current portfolio that is under-used, sometimes referred to as ‘dark space’.
  9. Conduct an energy assessment of each individual site to look for areas to improve efficiency.
  10. Design an efficient process so that your company can make faster decisions on all building sales or leases.
  11. Delay or postpone space relocations by exercising short-term extensions.
  12. Benchmark your operational costs against peer companies to identify and mirror best-in-class.
  13. Launch an incentive program to reward your employees when they spot new cost saving ideas or improvements to the workplace.
  14. Take advantage of facility technology, such as computer-based maintenance or automated work order management systems.
  15. Use predictive maintenance techniques to maintain equipment and prevent expensive repairs.
  16. Use existing staff, such as janitors and porters, to perform office or desk moves.
  17. Find and hire vendors who can bring valuable services to your company, such as in training or technology.
  18. Hire specialized project managers to provide oversight of your capital plan, including master schedule and budget management.
  19. Create specialized project teams for specific activities, such as a mergers or acquisitions, changing your company brand or opening multiple retail locations.
  20. Identify specific people on your team that will be in charge of governing the annual capital plan, including things like cash flow monitoring and prioritizing of unplanned projects.
  21. Use cost benchmarking and competitive bidding to reduce costs for renovations or fit-outs.
  22. Review the energy use of existing lighting systems and retrofit lighting fixtures to reduce energy costs.
  23. Identify owned buildings that you could sell and leaseback from a landlord.
  24. Sell unused property from a recent consolidation or merger.
  25. Look for opportunities to restructure your lease terms to more favorable ones due to market conditions or changes in your landlord.
  26. Implement a system to track and charge your internal business units for space to reinforce behaviors that reduce costs.
  27. Reduce the number of different office or workspace configurations.
  28. Create non-traditional workspace, such as co-working space or hot-desking, to improve your utilization rates.
  29. Reduce or eliminate dedicated workspace for highly mobile employees.
  30. Ensure that you are using existing vacant space first before adding new space to your portfolio.
  31. Implement a “clean desk” policy to keep spaces clear so that all offices (including executive offices) that aren’t being used can be used as team or meeting rooms.
  32. Eliminate duplicate executive offices or meeting areas.
  33. Keep a close eye on expenses that pass-through to you from leases to subleases.
  34. Look to right-size service levels that won’t impact your employee or customer experience, for example, adjusting detailed office cleaning from five times a week to three times a week.
  35. Automate a dashboard to track both cost savings and cost avoided to minimize manual reporting and help motivate your team and company to think wisely about investment priorities.

Did these ideas help you get started?

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