One of the simplest strategies for creating an additional source of revenue is offering handyman or personal services. Generally, the maintenance department at most Life Plan Communities offers services to maintain the home or anything connected to the home such as: replacing light bulbs, unstopping the sink or toilet, adjusting the heat on the water heater, repair of appliances, or structural repairs. Yet residents often need a number of additional handyman-type of services. While living near a Life Plan Community, I often volunteered my husband (with his blessing) to perform these odd jobs. Here are just a few of the tasks that need to be done on more than one occasion:
- putting together deconstructed furniture
- moving heavy pieces of furniture
- flipping the mattresses
- turning the area rugs to avoid sun bleaching
- moving heavy seasonal decorations, particularly lawn décor
- putting lights on the house for Christmas
- painting an accent wall
- and the list goes on.
Even though we enjoy serving our residents, our general maintenance orders usually prevent the maintenance staff from addressing such needs. On the other hand, by adjusting our staffing pattern to provide for a floater one day per week, we can increase our revenue while better serving our residents. If the demand is high, operations can decide whether to increase the number of staff hours in the department-a rather simple strategy to implement while using an existing department.
OTHER PERSONAL TASKS
The secret is to get into the heads and homes of our residents to determine what needs are not being met and whether the need is great enough to charge for the service. Here are a few that I have observed over my years in senior living:
- Walking the dog, cleaning the litter box or grooming a pet
- Taking a pet to the vet
- Cleaning out the refrigerator
- Serving at a guest event in my home
- Assisting with bill payments
- Transferring out of season clothing to the storage bin
- If in a cottage or home, pressure washing a deck or patio
- Personal transportation.
Many of these services can be rendered by members of the environmental staff; however, if your community offers home health, members of that staff are often a good fit for this service. Since these tasks are often daily, it might necessitate an increase in staff hours devoted to resident services. Additionally, operations should be very selective in choosing who might assist residents with bill payment. Perhaps someone from the business office or a college student with an accounting major could be hired part time specifically for that task.
Offering additional services is a win-win for both the resident and the revenue stream. Residents no longer need to worry about asking children or hiring someone to come into their home that they do not know. The community has a regular new stream of revenue.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.