Does your church have enough facility staff part 2

Table of Contents


Does your church have the right facility staff? Last week, we addressed several critical issues related to facility staffing for most churches, including the following:

  • The ideal ratio of FTE to facility square footage is 1:35,000.
  • Most churches far exceed that ratio.
  • Of the millions of square feet our team has assessed, all churches with deferred maintenance (which is every church we assess) have underfunded general maintenance budgets and understaffed facility staff.
  • Most churches are not likely to increase their facility staff to the levels needed to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration (1-4% a year) and prevent or eliminate deferred maintenance.

So, What Do We Do?

Do we throw up our hands and accept poor facility stewardship? Do we assume it is the way has been, and that is the way it will always be? (Note: The seven words of a dying church are “we have always done it that way.”)

I will not accept those kinds of excuses. If facility stewardship (frankly, any stewardship of what God has entrusted to us) is important, then we have to think outside the box. We need a solution.  I have challenged our team to develop options to help churches get to a 1:50,000 square feet ratio in lieu of 1:35,000 square feet. That would be an increase of nearly 43% efficiency without hiring more staff. Let that sink in. 

The Formula For Better Stewardship

Would you consider caring and maintaining (stewarding) your facility better without increasing your staffing, a win? We would. So let us give you the formula for doing just that.

To determine the time we have to recapture, we set a baseline of assumptions and clarifications. We assumed the general maintenance staff was on task for 37.5 hours a week (a 40-hour work week and deducted a 30-minute lunch break). Maintaining a 37.5-hour “on task” work environment is critical. We also took it a step further: 

  • On task meant that the general maintenance staff is not performing janitorial or set-up duties.
  • These staff members are not performing grounds maintenance.
  • Major system preventive maintenance is being performed by an outsourced firm.
  • There is a professional Facility Manager leading, managing, and coordinating the activities of the staff.
  • The staff has the appropriate training and/or skills to perform all of the tasks being assigned.

Next, we had to determine the square foot “delta” and how that related to manpower.  Here are our calculations:

  • At 1:35,000 SF, based on 37.5 hours of “on task” work, that equates to 933 SF/HR (35,000 SF divided by 37.5 hours)
  • At 1:50,000 SF, based on the same 37.5 hours of “on task” work, equates to 1,333 SF/HR (50,000 SF divided by 37.5 hours)
  • That is a delta of 11.5 hours. (15,000 SF divided by the 1,333 SF = 11.5 hours)

The conventional wisdom or the initial reaction for the corrective measure is to hire another staff person for 11-15 hours a week. Let’s assume that this person costs your church $25/hour (wages, FICA, benefits, etc.). That is $375 per week or $19,500 annually.

That’s Not Possible (Or Is It?)

If your church can afford to do that, then please see it through.  But if that is too big of a bite — especially if you are looking at a multiple-person staff — this could add up fast. (Note: Getting to 1:50,000 SF is a significant step, but not the end game. It is the first step in operational efficiency, not the finish line.)

So, how to recapture 11.5 hours a week? Is that even possible? Next week, in part three of our series, we will evaluate action items to help you accomplish this goal.

Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the President and CEO of Smart Church Solutions and takes great pride in helping churches optimize their facilities. When he’s not at the helm of his company, he’s dedicated to his family, being a husband to Lisa and a father to 27-year-old triplets. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Tim enjoys the simplicity of hiking in the North Carolina mountains.