The Hidden Costs of Managing Your Higher Education Facilities In-House

High-quality, reliable facilities management
is integral to students’ success in higher education.

The physical environment of a campus plays a crucial role in shaping not only the educational experience, but the growth of your institution, attracting students and faculty while supporting their wellbeing.

While some higher education institutions choose to handle facilities management in-house, believing it to be more economical, there are costs that come with this approach. Cleaning, maintenance, engineering, landscaping, energy management, staffing all come with obvious and not-so-obvious costs. Understanding the nuances of facilities expense can become overwhelming for self-operating institutions to effectively manage while also focusing on their core priorities.

Additionally, staying updated on ever-changing regulations, technological advancements and industry trends further adds to the complexities of in-house management.

facility worker wearing a hard hat and writing on a clipboard

Instead, it is often more cost-effective to work with an Integrated Facilities Management partner who can deliver a comprehensive, technology-enabled approach. By collaborating with a partner like Aramark Facilities Management, you can fundamentally transform the management of your physical spaces and assets in ways that markedly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership.

Although the idea of maintaining control and familiarity by keeping facility management in-house may seem appealing at first glance, the hidden costs add up.

facility worker checking a gauge

Cost of Insufficient Staffing

Effective facility management is powered by people.

Not having the right people in place for mission-critical work significantly impacts overall operations. The ongoing skilled labor shortage is a major challenge for higher education institutions needing to hire professionals experienced in maintenance, space planning, energy management, operations, cleaning and environmental services. 

Partnering for these services can mitigate the risk of insufficient staffing and solve talent gaps. Aramark brings access to extensive talent acquisition resources that can help attract and retain top talent. Sixty-six (66%) of facility professionals identify staffing and retention as top challenges1. Yet, few organizations have the resources to properly train and develop career paths for facilities personnel. Dedicated to developing the next generation of facilities management professionals, our College of Facilities Management provides training, certifications and credentialing that ensures all staff receive the professional development they need to be successful in their roles.

two facility workers fixing equipment

Cost of Regulatory Compliance

Environmental and regulatory compliance is non-negotiable. Environmental and regulatory compliance is non-negotiable. The cost of non-compliance is substantial and includes both organizational and individual penalties, as well as potential legal issues and reputational damage. 

The ever-changing nature of regulatory issues, however, poses a significant challenge for self-operating institutions. It can be difficult for organizations to stay current and compliant if they are not immersed in the daily world of regulatory updates. 

By working with a facilities management provider, organizations can secure the complex task of risk management as part of their integrated services. Partnering with Aramark means tapping into our proven track record and expertise in regulatory compliance for best-practice solutions that mitigate cost and risk.


Cost of Falling Behind in Technology Advancement

Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological innovations in facilities management can be one of the most effective ways to reduce costs over the long term.

However, few institutions can afford an in-house team continually  focused on facilities management research and development.  Partnering with a leading provider like Aramark solves this problem,  offering access to a dedicated R&D team that stays current with best  practices and technological advancements.

Our dedicated Center of Excellence is specifically designed to identify  new and innovative solutions for campus facilities challenges, ensuring  our clients stay on the leading edge of industry changes in ways that  directly improve the campus experience and reduce operating costs.  

For example, data and real-time business insights are changing how facilities are managed. Aramark’s AIWX™ Connect identifies building and occupant needs with IoT-connected monitors and sensors so services can be delivered based on actual demand. Leveraging technology like AIWX™ Connect leads to smarter campus buildings which improve efficiencies and reduce costs. At Brenau University, AIWX™ Connect and on-demand cleaning resulted in a 49 percent improvement in productivity while maintaining APPA cleanliness level and improved student satisfaction. Uneven humidity levels in the library were also successfully diagnosed and remedied, reducing energy waste and user discomfort and protecting sensitive volumes.
group of facility workers fixing equipment on a rooftop

Cost of Missed Opportunities

Data-driven business intelligence doesn’t just make your facilities management more efficient, it reduces operational risks and allows you to identify additional opportunities for optimization

Improving your energy consumption, for instance, can be a missed opportunity for financial savings and increased profitability. Aramark building upgrades at Baylor University, for example, saved the campus $2 million on gas, water and electricity annually. We help organizations seize upon these untapped opportunities to reduce cost and reallocate funds with proven strategies and leading technology. 

From performance contracting to operator training to equipment optimization, Aramark Engineering Solutions develops energy management programs specific to each campus’ operations. 

aramark employee reviewing blueprints

Cost of Misunderstood Spend

Relying on multiple service providers or vendors often makes it difficult for organizations to evaluate and control spending. It can be shocking to tally up the true cost of facilities services.

Purchased independently, these services foster an environment of waste, inefficiency and complexity. On top of that, fragmented service delivery lends itself to operational inefficiencies, redundant efforts and unnecessary expenses.

However, when these costs are managed with a single solution partner, service delivery becomes more streamlined and cost-effective. Integrated Facilities Management also provides visibility across your entire building portfolio, helping identify areas to optimize spending.

Adopting a spend management strategy means that costs can then be managed, distributed and balanced in strategic ways that best fit your campus.

aramark vehicles

Cost of Supply chain inefficiencies

Likewise, having multiple contracts for different services can lead to price inefficiencies and poor standardization of services. 

Without the ability to leverage volume discounts or negotiate competitive rates, organizations managing their facilities in-house may unknowingly pay higher prices for essential services. Working with multiple vendors can lead to inconsistent levels of quality and efficiency.

Partnering with national or global providers, on the other hand, allows you to secure the best pricing and leverage economies of scale. Service delivery is more streamlined and cost-effective. 

Our extensive network of vendors and deep experience across industries enables us to secure the best pricing from suppliers, passing the cost savings on to you, while helping you optimize your logistics. 

The Costs of In-House
Facilities Management Add Up

The cumulative costs of managing facilities in-house can strain budgets and divert resources away from core business activities. Staffing issues, unexpected operations downtime and other disruptions directly impact the student experience and your bottom line.

Mitigate these risks and reduce your total cost of ownership with Aramark.

We’re the
strategic partner

to optimize your operations, scale your processes and help you achieve greater financial stability while providing an exceptional academic environment.
Contact Us Today
  1. Source: Professional Facility Management Institute – 2023 Training Outlook Survey
aramark employee wearing a hard hat and writing on a clipboard