Apartment complex site staffing

On August 19, 2012 by Phil Champagne

By Phil Champagne, Managing Partner at Wren Investment Group

When we do our underwriting to evaluate at what value to make an offer, one of the major expense is payroll to pay the staff who takes care of the maintenance, collecting rents, qualifying tenants and working on leases. As we have talked about before, the advantages of apartment complexes over sinEnglish: Lowenstein Apartment Complex in Mobil...gle family, duplex and other small investment property is the economy of scale that can be achieved. But this economy of scale is truly achieve when the apartment complex has 150 units and higher and we will see why here.

 

The property is best served when there is on site staffing for managing the property. They know their livelihood depends on the well being of the property’s income. Supervision and direction from both the property management company and the asset manager is required but it is much easier to manage overall. But the big question is how many people can we expect to see as part of the staff for a given property. This question is usually answered based on the amount of units for the given property. The following table indicate this. It is a rough guideline as it will vary per property type.

 

Total number of Units Number of headcount Description
Less than 20  No site staff Manager must come on site for regular visit or upon request by tenants
20 to 50  1 ½ Site Manager & ½ Maintenance Manager
50 to 100  2 1 Site Manager & 1 Maintenance Manager
100 to 150 3 to 4 1 Site Manager, 1 part time Leasing Agent, 1 Lead Maintenance & part time maintenance
150 to 200 4 1 Site Manager, 1 Leasing Agent, 1 Lead Maintenance & 1 Maintenance Technician
300 Units 6 1 Site Manager, 1 Leasing Agent, 1 Collections, 1 Lead Maintenance, 2 Maintenance Technicians

As a sort of rule of thumb, each additional 100 units from here: Add 2 Headcounts (1 manager side / 1 maintenance side), although it may vary depending on the layout of the property and how much contract services is allocated to handle certain task such as landscaping rather than on site management.

But starting with 150 units, the amount of revenue and the amount of work is sufficient to allow full time staffing with the least impact on cost and the maximum performance for running the property.

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For our investors return, we understand the importance of finding the right amount of staff on site so that they have enough work to be busy without being overwhelmed. Finding the right combination of contract service and on site manager for a given property is important to achieve the best returns.

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