Are you paying your NYC Building Superintendent too much?

Are you paying your super too much thumbnail

Are you paying your NYC Building Superintendent too much?

Part 1:  How to find out what salaries other NYC Co-ops and Condos are paying for their Building Superintendent. 

Are you paying your super too much photo

BONUS:  Salary Data Search Tool

 

Check what others are paying their Building Superintendent across various data sources, such as Indeed.com, Salary.com and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (other platforms coming soon!). You'll need this info to find whether you're paying your Building Superintendent too much.

Building Super salary comparison

What this Tool does:

  • Borough-by-borough comparison graph:  Our interactive graph helps you visualize the data so you can see how your borough compares to other boroughs at a glance
  • Compare your own Super's salary to the industry standard  lets you compare these data against your own Building Superintendent's salary at a blink of an eye
  • State-by-State Comparison Graphs:  For this first version, we've given you some states compare across highest paying states

Who should use it and when:

Property managers, Board Members or Directors, or anyone who is looking to find some idea of the industry standard when it comes to your Building Super.

 

      This scene may be familiar:  Your Building Superintendent comes to you and asks for a raise. 

       "Sure, why not?" you think. You believe in rewarding and incentivizing great work, and one couldn't ask for a better Super. 

      But, soon enough, you're overwhelmed by another set of thoughts: Have I really been paying my Super too little? What kind of raise would be "enough"?

       'What if I'm already paying him too much?'

       If you've ever felt this conflict of emotions, from wanting to make your Building Superintendent happy yet immobilized by doubt and guilt, you are not alone. 

       This paralysis occurs when you don't have enough information to make you feel comfortable that you're making the right decision- some sort of standard or an accepted range to compare your Super's salary with, to justify it one way or another.  And you feel as though you are driving blindly to a decision that could lock you in and later come back to haunt you. 

       Paying your Building Superintendent too much can be regrettable. But, it would be just as undesirable of an outcome to deny your Super a pay raise entirely. Or, just as bad, by risking to demotivate of your employee and creating ill-will by offering him too little

       It's a tough spot to be in.

       The key to overcoming this paralysis is knowledge. This decision can't be made intelligently without knowing these three things:

  • What others are paying their Building Superintendent
  • What you are paying your Building Superintendent (your total cost, we'll get to this later in the next part)
  • Finally, how your Building Superintendent compares to others in this industry, which will help you determine where he is on the pay scale - that is, at the average, over the average or under the average

3 Steps to Finding Out Whether You're Paying Your Building Superintendent Too Much. You'll Need to Find Out:

  • What are others paying their Building Superintendent
  • What you're paying your Building Superintendent (your total cost)
  • Finally, how your Building Superintendent compares to others in this industry, which will help you determine where he is on the pay scale - that is, at the average, over the average or under the average.

What's Your Neighbor Paying?

       In this article, we'll look at the first part: What is the industry paying as a whole; what are your neighbors paying their Building Supers?

       This question is critical because we really don't know for sure whether we are paying too low or too high until we know what the normal, middle or average range is. 

       You'll need to find the salaries of Building Superintendents in your general area. 

       But not all buildings provide equal salaries. Various things can affect the Super's salary, such as the number of units in the building, whether it's a co-op, condo or rental, kinds of amenities (gym, pool, parking garage, 24 hour doorman), so you should narrow down your research to the buildings that are similar in type to one your Building Superintendent works in.

       In larger buildings above, let's say, 40 units or if your Building Superintendent works full-time for you, or is a Super-in-residence ("live-in"), a helpful source is the local union wage rates, which can serve as a benchmark for salaries at larger, unionized buildings. 

       In many cities, including NYC, you now also have the Prevailing Wages Laws, which sets a minimum salary (and job benefits) rate for those Building Superintendents who are working in buildings which are taking government tax breaks.

       But, for many buildings that are not subject to union wages rates or Prevailing Wages, getting the salary information of Building Superintendents is not an easy task. So, how can you find out about salaries when your Super is not in one of these categories?

This question is critical because we really don't know for sure whether we are paying too low or too high until we know what the normal, middle or average range is. 


Using Open Data on Indeed.com, Salary.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.

       The good news is that these days, there are many resources available on the internet to help you, such as Indeed.com, Salary.com and ZipRecruiter.  These websites aggregate data from its users who use its online tools to post job openings and find candidates. This data is then sorted across the platform to provide information back to users about the jobs markets, including what the current salary of Building Superintendents are.

        Another great source to find the Building Superintendent's salary is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ("BLS"), a government database that, according to its website, "measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making."

       BLS is able to do this by collecting and sorting a massive amount of data from employers and employees who report such things as revenue, wage earnings and payroll tax information across job sectors and industries. 

      But there are pros and cons of using these sources, and going forward without knowing them can throw your numbers WAY OFF.

The Upside to these Sources....

The upside of using Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter, BLS and others is:

Free:  While you can pay for services that can provide more detailed and customized information, like Payscale.com, you can generally find what you need when it comes to the Building Superintendent for free. There will be a margin of error when you use free data but we'll help you close the gap using our own salary calculator in Part 2.   

Transparency & Speed:   Available online, you can look up the salary of the Building Superintendent using these sources within minutes. Decisions that once required the help of building managers, asking around the neighborhood or scouring local ads can now be made in a fraction of time thanks to the internet and big data.

Real-time Information:   Indeed.com and other job hunting websites are aggregating data in real-time as information is being posted by employers, so you should be viewing current or "live" data.  BLS' data, however, is updated only annually. 

Easy sortable data: For some of these job posting sites, like Indeed.com, you can also filter the salary of the Building Superintendent down to the NYC borough.  All of these sites offer sortable data giving you highs, lows and average, such insights as comparisons to other locations, as well as many other useful projections.

Indeed.com Building Super. How to Find

On Indeed.com, shown above, you can view the average salary as well as the high and low range of the Building Superintendent, and you can also sort the salary by year, per week, day and hour. You can even sort this data by NYC borough! 

The Downside to these Sources ...

"Building Super" is not the clearest industry to mine for data:   For instance, in BLS, there really isn't a "Building Superintendent" category.  So, depending on which specific tasks you've hired your Super for, you'll have to improvise with a close and similar category that they have offered on the website, such as "First-Line Supervisors of Housekeeping and Janitorial Workers" (see image below) or "Building Cleaning Workers, All Other."  

You have to look up multiple websites to get a good grasp of industry average:   To get the clearest picture of how much to pay your Building Superintendent, you should be researching as many websites as possible. Not only do you have Indeed.com, Salary.com, BLS and ZipRecruiter, there  

Limitations of BLS:  Although this is an official government website, the information being gathered here is submitted and collected through a voluntary survey. Without any government force Without mandatory reporting, the data is likely to be skewed from information that employers have chosen not to disclose in the survey. Also, if you've ever browsed the BLS website, you'll probably agree that it's overcome w data confusing to navigate. It's a great source of data but be prepared to spend some time on it.

Below is a chart to help you see the pros and cons of each online source. here...


Indeed.com, Salary.com, ZipRecruiter and other similar websites

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Pro

  1. Data is real-time and current
  2. Easy to look up
  3. Free data
  1. It's official government data
  2. Free data

Con

  1. This data most likely doesn't include benefits normally given to building Superintendents, such as free apartment, utilities and other perks, year-end bonus, health insurance and other benefits, Worker's Comp insurance, etc., which should be included to understand the complete picture of how much your Superintendent really costs.
  2. Many buildings, particularly smaller ones, do not post their openings on these websites. This can skew the industry average.
  1. Harder to navigate than other websites
  2. There's no specific category for "building supers"
  3. Both employers and employees may understate their numbers
  4. Data most likely doesn't include benefits normally given to building Superintendents, such as free apartment, perks, bonus, benefits, Worker's Comp insurance, etc., which should be included to understand the complete picture.
  5. The data is behind ONE YEAR (ouch!). 

Lastly, all this searching requires time:   All of this data sorting, while online and available at your fingertips, still requires time to navigate these websites, compare data and make some sense of it. A good practice is to also revisit the sources occasionally (maybe twice a year) to check for any changes in the salary trends.

       But, if your life is anything like mine, then time is a precious asset that's hard to spare.  

       So, we've endeavored to make it easy for you through a data search tool we've created. This tool will eliminate the need for you to visit and spend your precious time getting around on these websites, especially if the "Building Superintendent" category is not immediately available, like on BLS.  

How to use our Data Search Tool 

       On each of these websites, we've located the Building Superintendent's salary information across all of NYC boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx and Manhattan). To make it even more informative, we've pulled the data over various pay periods, whether it's hourly, daily, weekly or yearly. 

       Next, we've coded our search tool to automatically track any changes in this information. So, let's say, if BLS reports on its website an increase in the Super's salary across New York, our search tool will automatically identify the changes and show those results.

       More, we've included: 

  • Borough-by-borough comparison graph:  Our interactive graph helps you visualize the data so you can see how your borough compares to other boroughs at a glance;
  • Compare your own Super's salary:  lets you compare these data against your own Super's salary at a blink of an eye;
  • State-by-state comparison graphs:  For this first version, we've helped you compare the salary for the Building Superintendent across the current group of highest paying states.

       Try it out below. 

Make a confident pay raise decision. Use our Data Search Tool

Data Distortion: Cash Salaries

       So, now you've found your data set. Are you ready to move forward? Do you have enough information to decide whether to give your Building Superintendent a raise?

      Not exactly. While these websites offer some great information, I would recommend that you approach them with a grain of salt. There are plenty of ways that this data doesn't show the whole picture.

       For instance, users of Indeed.com and other job search platforms tend to understate the salary they post online, lest they be held to it. Instead, some job posters write, "salary is commensurate to experience," which means they are posting a salary amount that is lower than what they are willing to pay and they'll pay more only if you can prove that you're worth it.

       This common practice will lower what is stated as the industry average and distort your research.

        Also, many property managers, Condo and Co-op Boards, and landlords simply don't go to these websites like Indeed.com or ZipRecruiter for their job needs, especially when their building is smaller. Many employers instead still go by referrals. So, Indeed.com and others show only a fraction of the industry when it comes to uncovering the salaries of the Building Superintendent.

       And if you think BLS is accurate because it's "official," think again. Not all employers partake in this voluntary survey and even when they do, they may underreport the size of their payroll. It's not uncommon that Building Superintendents were paid cash or other "off-books" incentives, such as a free or subsidized apartment and other perks, to circumvent the payroll expenses. 

       It's also typical that these sources, whether it's BLS, Indeed.com, Salary.com, etc. do not include in their calculations the cost of any benefits, such as holidays, paid vacation days, personal days, sick day, bonuses, etc., as well as Worker's Compensation, employer's taxes and other expenses that add to the overall cost of a Building Superintendent.  

        Unreported cash or other non-monetary compensation that make up the data on these website sources end up understating the total cost that these employers are paying for their Building Superintendent and, ultimately, distort what these websites ultimately show. 

        Without knowing the full picture, you can't make the apples-to-apples comparison that's needed to make a confident decision about whether to raise your Super's salary, and by how much.

It's also typical that these sources, whether it's BLS, Indeed.com, Salary.com, etc. do not include in their calculations the cost of any benefits, such as holidays, paid vacation days, personal days, sick day, bonuses, etc., as well as Worker's Compensation, employer's taxes and other expenses that add to the overall cost of a Super. 

      

 


       

       Even though you shouldn't accept the data on its face, you can make GREAT use of these sources. The key is to consider the data as a starting point. That is, look at the numbers as a slimmed down version of a Building Superintendent's full compensation. From the above, we already know that the data is likely missing the costs of: 

  • benefits (health insurance, 401K): unknown
  • days off (sick, personal, vacation days): 8.08%
  • paid holidays: 5.77%
  • Worker's Comp Insurance: ~ 8%
  • employer's taxes: 9.8%
  • free apartment and other perks and bonuses: a whopping 70.82%!

       These expenses can account for almost double the gross payroll that you are actually paying him.  So it's important to remember that the compensation that these websites are showing can be up to half of the cost that these employers are actually paying or reporting for their Building Superintendents on average. 

        So, where do we start?

       The first step is to use our Search Tool and find your starting number.  Next, we'll figure out what your costs; and I mean all of your costs that include everything in the list above.  Then, finally, we'll measure just how near or far away this number is from where you should be.

Next Part:  How to Stop the Revolving door of Hiring and Firing Building Superintendents in a Roller Coaster Economy (Coming Soon)

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