Start with common amenities that can bring in the most money to the association for the lowest up front cost. This way, the first added amenity can pay for the next one; and so on. Adding advertising in the form of signs or billboards can be revenue generators, but are not allowed in many residential areas. However, ATM machines bring in revenue, can be thought of as an amenity by some, and do not take up a lot of room.
Common amenities are laundry, storage, bike storage, parking, and fitness centers. These require that there is enough space in the association to fit those. Working primarily with apartment buildings, we have yet to work with a building that did not have room to add at least one amenity; it just takes creativity and efficiency. A roof garden is a great example; most roofs are unused.
The trick to then turning those common amenities into revenue generators is deciding if, when, and how to charge people who use them. When deciding on the fee structure, we like to see what the same service is for independent operators in the area. In New York, a gym membership starts at $100 per person, per month. Keeping the fee below that attracts more members, yet brings in enough revenue to pay for the investment and the future upkeep.
An added bonus to charging a fee for amenities is that it makes it easier to have a “hook” on late-payers. We advise boards on using access control systems. If managed correctly, this only permits the members to enter the area. This enables management to revoke access for those individuals who don’t pay their association fees in a timely manner.
In New York, many of the newer common amenities include meeting rooms, children’s play room, media rooms, wine storage, and cedar closets. Another popular amenity is association-wide Wi-Fi. They could also be as creative as electric car chargers. No matter what amenities you choose, remember that ultimately the amenity is there to make the community better for all the residents, the added revenue is just a bonus.
- Environmental Consciousness in Your HOA - July 18, 2019
- “Pay Up Or Else!” — Motivating the Habitual Late Payer - January 9, 2019
- Common Amenities — Make Them Pay for Themselves! - January 26, 2017
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