So, how much do you pay?
"It's all according to the needs," says David Baron, a principal of Metro Management. "A good super is hard to come by, and when you find a good, qualified person, you are going to pay him above scale. One of our supers handles a very large development and his salary is $75,000. In other buildings, we have supers that are earning in the mid-fifties and the low sixties, and I have some supers that are earning in the thirties." Peter Finn, an attorney with the Realty Advisory Board (RAB), says the average salary runs from $700 to $2,000 a week ($36,400 to $104,000 a year), depending on the size of the building, its location and the number of employees.
For a small co-op of, say, 40 units, "you're looking at the $40,000 range. It depends on the size of the building, the duties, and how many people he's got to supervise," says Anton Cerulli, director of management at Lawrence Properties. "If you've got 300 units and a staff of twenty-something people, you're looking at the higher end, in the $80,000 to $90,000 range."
You can start by looking at the four-year contract signed in April 2006 by the employers, represented by the RAB, and the supers, represented by the Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.
The 106-page agreement says nothing about basic pay scales for superintendents but does specify that you cannot pay a new super less than you have been paying your old one, unless that original wage included additional pay for years of service. That establishes a baseline for most union buildings.
However, that's the basic salary. The overall cost includes benefits (a total of about $14,000 a year in a union building and whatever is negotiated in non-union properties) plus government employment taxes.
The union requires the employer to provide a rent-free apartment (rarely less than a two-bedroom) to any superintendent required to live there, plus free utilities and telephone. In winter months, particularly, a super on-premises can make a tremendous contribution to residents' well-being n terms of reliable hot water and heat. In high-end buildings, the apartment alone can add to overall costs by $3,000 or more every month.
Buildings that attract experienced, good superintendents often provide additional benefits in the form of parking spaces, health-club memberships, and even additional vacation time.
Adapted from Habitat January 2008. For the complete article and more, join our Archive >>
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