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November 10, 2023
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 min read

8 Strategies to Improve Net Operating Income

Discover key strategies to slash utility costs and boost NOI in our latest guide.

8 Strategies to Improve Net Operating Income

Key Strategies to Improve NetOperating Income for Startups and SMBs

In the dynamic realm of property management, especially within the multifamily sector, agility is not just a benefit—it's a necessity. With COVID-19 reshaping the business landscape, many have had to recalibrate their strategies, seeking resilience and efficiency in unexpected places.

As the multifamily industry experiences a pause in revenue growth, the focus has shifted toward the meticulous management of operational costs, particularly utility expenses. Recognized as one of the most substantial operational costs, utilities present an expansive margin for cost-reduction strategies, more so than any other expense category. The current era of increased home occupancy has escalated utility consumption, making it an opportune moment to adopt a robust utility management strategy. Such a strategy can effectively reduce usage, decrease costs, and enhance overall efficiency.

We have dedicated our recent efforts to empower property managers with the means to significantly reduce their utility expenses. Our latest insights delve into the common pitfalls within utility accounts payable and pave the way for smarter spending. With a foundation of understanding, we now present a bold suite of solutions aimed at refining your utility accounts payable process and achieving cost-saving triumphs.

1. Embrace Technology for Smarter Utility Tracking

Efficiency is synonymous with success, embracing cutting-edge technology for utility tracking is non-negotiable. By investing in the latest utility management software, your company can shift from manual, error-prone processes to an automated, precision-driven approach. This technology facilitates the tracking of utility expenses with unprecedented accuracy, offering real-time insights into consumption patterns. It helps in detecting irregularities and excessive use, enabling quick interventions. The digital transformation of utility tracking is more than a mere upgrade; it's a strategic move towards harnessing big data analytics, allowing for informed decision-making that can translate into substantial cost savings and a competitive edge in the marketplace.

2. Conduct Regular Energy Audits

Regular energy audits are akin to a health check-up for your properties' energy consumption. These detailed assessments provide a crystal-clear picture of your energy flow, revealing inefficiencies that often go unnoticed. By identifying the exact points of energy wastage, you can pinpoint specific areas in need of upgrades or retrofits—be it insulation, HVAC systems, or lighting. These audits guide strategic investments in energy efficiency, which not only contribute to a greener footprint but also accrue significant long-term savings. Such proactive measures are instrumental in refining your energy consumption blueprint and, as a direct consequence, bolstering your Net Operating Income (NOI).

3. Implement Conservation Measures Across Properties

The implementation of a property-wide conservation program can serve as a cornerstone for sustainable management. Integrating low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting solutions, and smart thermostats across properties can substantially mitigate utility consumption. However, the impact of these measures is magnified when coupled with an educational initiative for residents. By engaging with the community to foster energy-conscious habits and offering incentives for reduced consumption, property managers can instill a conservation ethos. This dual approach not only lessens environmental impact but also unifies the community in a shared goal, ultimately driving down utility costs.

4. Optimize Utility Billing Structures

Optimizing your utility billing structure is a strategic financial maneuver that can enhance both fairness and conservation. Accurate billing is the foundation, but exploring billing options like Ratio Utility Billing Systems (RUBS) or submetering can revolutionize cost allocation. By distributing utility costs in a manner that reflects individual consumption, you inherently promote mindful usage. This billing transformation is not just about numbers—it's about fostering an environment where every resident's choices count, leading to a collective reduction in waste and a more harmonious living situation.

5. Leverage Renewable Energy Sources

The shift towards renewable energy sources is more than an environmental statement—it's a strategic economic decision. By investing in solar panels or tapping into geothermal energy, properties can decrease reliance on traditional, and often expensive, energy grids. This transition not only ensures a more predictable energy expenditure but also demonstrates a commitment to sustainability—a selling point that resonates with the eco-conscious consumer. As renewable technology becomes more affordable and accessible, it represents a savvy investment that can yield both immediate and long-term utility cost reductions.

6. Negotiate with Utility Providers

Skillful negotiation with utility providers is an underutilized tactic in reducing operational costs. Regular dialogues with these providers about your properties' unique usage profiles can open doors to customized rates or bulk usage discounts. Building a rapport with utility companies can also keep you informed about potential savings programs or rebates, which can further reduce expenses. Such negotiations require a keen understanding of market rates and consumption patterns but mastering this can result in a direct and favorable impact on your utility overheads.

7. Establish a Utility Management Task Force

Assembling a dedicated utility management task force within your organization ensures that monitoring and reducing utility expenses is not a peripheral task but a core focus. This specialized team can track industry trends, stay ahead of regulatory changes, and swiftly capitalize on emerging cost-saving opportunities. By having a group solely dedicated to this endeavor, your firm can adopt a more cohesive and strategic approach to utility expense management, ultimately yielding better results and a stronger NOI.

8. Educate and Engage with Residents

The final piece of the utility management puzzle is resident engagement. Implementing a robust education program that informs residents about how their behaviors can impact utility costs is crucial. When residents understand the financial and environmental implications of their energy and water usage, they are more inclined to adopt cost-saving habits. Such programs can include workshops, informational newsletters, and even gamified conservation challenges. Engagement transforms residents from passive consumers into active participants in cost-saving measures, fostering a community that values sustainability and efficiency.


The strategies outlined here are not merely about trimming costs; they're about embracing a mindset of efficiency and proactive management that resonates with the ethos of startups and SMBs. By embedding these practices into the fabric of your operations, you can turn the tide on utility expenses, which are traditionally viewed as fixed costs, and transform them into variable ones ripe for optimization.

These utility expense management strategies—ranging from the adoption of advanced technologies to the cultivation of conservation-minded communities—embody our bold, innovative spirit and commitment to excellence. They are curated to ensure that startups and SMBs not only survive economic fluctuations but thrive within them, paving a path toward profitability and success.

Let's move forward, reshaping the way we view utility management from a reactive cost center to a strategic opportunity. 

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