It was a small, hand-lettered sign on the grassy strip between the eastbound and westbound lanes of a boulevard: “Real estate investment trainee wanted. Earn $10,000/month.” I have no idea whether anyone called the phone number on the sign, but if anyone did, it was surely in the belief that big money can be made by selling buildings.
That opinion has a solid basis in fact. Plenty of people do very well buying properties — from single family residences to high-rise office buildings — and selling them at a handsome profit after the market rises or the structure is renovated or the area gets hot. I daresay that some form of “flipping” is what most people think when they hear “real estate” and “money” in the same breath. And I imagine so do top executives in most organizations.
Now picture a sign that reads, “Facilities investment trainee wanted.” How many people would have an immediate sense of what that meant? How many senior executives? How many facility managers?
If “facility” and “money” appear in the same sentence, the idea that probably comes to mind — especially in the C suite — is spending money, not making money.
That’s unfortunate. Investments in facilities may not bring overnight success, but good facility investments are low risk, and the steady returns can make a difference to an organization’s bottom line.
There’s no template of best opportunities for facility investment. In fact, the array of options is enormous. The most appropriate selections and the returns depend on the organization’s priorities, which can range from all out cost cutting to employee retention. Identifying the best choices is a big job — one that calls for a “facility investment analyst.” That’s not a real job as far as I know, though it should be. But it’s a skill that successful facility managers have honed. Not at the analyst level yet? Being a trainee is a great way to set yourself up to add value to your organization.