Does your church have enough facility staff? That is a loaded question. Based on our decades of experience working with thousands of churches, I can answer: No.
With few exceptions, when we share the ideal staffing levels for church facility general maintenance, we get chuckles, blank stares, and “yeah, right” comments. This is common when we share that the best-run facilities have 1 FTE (Full Time Equivalent - employee) for every 35,000 square feet of facilities to address general maintenance. And that does not include custodial staff or facility management (unless the facility manager is actually performing maintenance tasks*).
If your facility manager is performing general maintenance tasks, you have two things to address:
- Is your “facility manager” actually a manager? Or are they a facility maintenance person?
- If they perform any general maintenance, then when calculating the 1:35,000 square feet ratio, you need to factor in what percentage of their time is spent performing maintenance. If they spend 25% of their time performing these tasks, they would be classified as ¼ of an FTE.
OK, Back to Facility Staff Issues
The 1:35,000 ratio is not some made-up number. Late last year, we provided sources that confirm our assertions well as other data. There is usually an exception to any “rule.” We are not going to say that there are no churches that have a much higher ratio that are operating very well with low deferred maintenance. However, those are clearly the exception.
Deferred Maintenance is Costly
In the past several years, our team has performed Facility Condition Assessments for nearly 7 million square feet of church facilities. Those assessments have exposed more than $84 million in deferred maintenance. (Yes, you read that right.)
Without exception, every church facility that we assessed that had deferred maintenance had two things in common:
- The churches underfunded their general maintenance budget significantly.
- They were significantly understaffed related to general facility maintenance.
This is far from stewardship for an organization that claims to be good stewards.
Let’s Figure Out a Solution
So what is the solution? How do we be the stewards of what God has entrusted to us and yet fulfill the vision and mission of our church? Do we hire more facility staff (that would be nice)? If so, how do we fund that? And what happens when deferred maintenance deters us from utilizing our facility the way it was intended?
Tune in for some ideas to improve your FTE to square footage ratio next week. We will provide practical and budget-conscious ways to improve your operational efficiency by up to 48% without hiring additional staff. You are not going to want to miss next week’s blog.