09 Oct

Perspectives from the Other Side

Club Maintenance — Assessing Need and Opportunity

An occasional column by Skip Avery, CCM, CCE & Chambers EVP

During the worst of the recent recession, many club managers were faced with tough decisions about how best to allocate funds in their tight budgets. There was a lot of short-term prioritization going on — doing only what absolutely had to be done to keep our clubs up and running.

Now some of those same clubs are facing the results of deferred maintenance and another tough decision-making process: sorting out and re-prioritizing ‘musts,’ ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ on that long list of things to do.

Consider, for example, a swimming pool area, and how a club manager might look at its maintenance needs:

  • The club MUST take care of any items that compromise safety and normal operations: chipping tile, leaking pipes, filters that aren’t working.

  • NEEDS would include things like updating the filters and pool heating systems to make them more efficient — important for the longer term but not truly urgent.
  • WANTS might involve tasks such as updating the kiddie pool with a splash pad — the sort of thing that will enhance members’ experience but aren’t necessary to the club’s continued operation.

But let’s look closer at that last category of ‘wants.’ Because that can sound an awful lot like a wish list item…a nice to have that could get prioritized right off the list. What if we think about it from a broader perspective: what if the addition of a kiddie pool, splash pad and maybe even more poolside amenities make long-term sense as we’re broadening our family approach, catering to a younger membership and responding to member desires?

What if we could fix what needs to be fixed and take care of future wants?

That’s the kind of assessment that should go into our daily decision-making. We should measure short-term needs against long-term opportunity. And let the investment pay off sooner rather than later.

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