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What do I need to know about budgets as a Service Manger or Technician?


If an owner or a Manager knows that you understand budgets as well as possess the technical and interpersonal skills to run a service department effectively you will be in high demand and very appreciated. Everyone wants a Service Manager that genuinely cares about the budget and displays the ability to effectively manage it on a day to day basis.

As a Supervisor or Service Manager companies expect you to not only be able to make repairs, schedule make-readies and handle the demands of this industry but also to be able to manage the expenses with a proficient level of expertise.

If you want to have a competitive edge amongst your peers and want to move up in the industry you have to have a good solid understanding of how a budget works, how to estimate the cost of a project, and also be self-correcting while managing the expenses and communicate the importance of it to the entire team. If everyone knows you take it seriously, they are much more likely to make better financial decisions.

If you need something approved, a piece of equipment or a project, let the appropriate people know and if something is unnecessary let them know that too. Is it a requirement, a recommendation, or a preference? Be sure to let them know and why, it will go a long way and build trust.

Often times, Service Managers and Supervisors use their history as the main predictor for how much they need to operate the service department for the upcoming year. However, it may help to ask a few questions before the budget requests are submitted for approval.

• Do I genuinely understand how to calculate the Net Operating Income and can I demonstrate it?
• Do I know and clearly understand the expectations of my Manager?
• Is the level of service we provide being delivered to our resident what we want it to be?
• Do we need more or less to meet our standards, goals and preferences?
• How much do we have for each category/code?
• What is our total budget monthly, quarterly, and annually?
• How much do we estimate per category per unit?
• What are my spending limits and who is next in the decision making process?
• What realistic results can we expect based on this request or change?
• It is more than acceptable to request more funds for something as long as it is justified and an effective Service Manager will know how to explain why it is important and needed.

As a Service Manager you really are responsible to the financial success of a property and when you can consistently demonstrate the ability to manage the financial responsibilities effectively you will be in more demand than ever before. It makes your day to day operations smoother and you are much more in control of your decisions which include purchasing and vendors.

You may need something as simple a few new uniforms and when you know exactly how much you have you’ll know whether you can or can’t without having to ask someone else first. When you present your request with facts and figures it is easier to approve and harder to reject.

If you need some help with understanding the budget, ask. Any effective Manager will be more than glad to explain how they read and understand it and what they specifically look for, including how they measure your performance. Keep in mind that they may have a different perspective and it is always helpful to know how they see everything.

Everyone that owns a business or company wants to have people they can count on to run the service department like a business while maintaining their standards and taking excellent care of the residents.

Just ask yourself. “If I owned a property, would I want a Service Manager that understands and effectively manages the money provided to them or would I prefer one that doesn’t know how and doesn’t care to learn?”

You will never “look stupid” for asking someone to teach you how to better understand budgets. Everyone that is a Manager, Regional, VP, or higher had no idea how to run a business at some point in their career.

When you do ask, you will be viewed as someone that will do what it takes to improve and be more effective.

I guarantee, if you become proficient in working with budgets you will have a significant advantage and everyone on your team will benefit and so will your residents.

Mark Cukro
Plus One, Inc.


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