New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Staffing: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Dawn Dickstein

President and Co-Founder

MD Squared Property Group


Prevailing problem. Having adequate staff to maintain a building while keeping payroll costs in line is a constant balancing act. And it’s become even more of a challenge now that co-ops and condos have to pay prevailing wages in order to keep their property tax abatements.


Staff reshuffle. We manage a small, high-end condo in Brooklyn that had a full-time outsourced doorman and a live-in, part-time super. It was paying the doorman $50,000 a year and the super $45,000, but the prevailing wage would bring that total to $165,000. The condo, which had a virtual doorman evenings and weekends, decided to use the service full time to replace the outsourced doorman. They made the super full time, so he can work with vendors and oversee projects, which he couldn’t do before. Even paying the super the prevailing wage of $90,000 a year, the condo is saving money and keeping its tax abatement.


Service issue. There was a different challenge at another condo that was getting rid of its full-time super. He had been there for quite a while, but the quality of his work had gone down, and he was not communicating well with the residents. He also lived far away and wasn’t able to come in when there were emergencies. 


We reached out to other buildings in the area and came upon a super in a larger building who had an arrangement with the board where he could hire out his porters to smaller buildings in the neighborhood. So we hired him and two of his porters part-time. We now have three people instead of one for the same amount we were paying the old super, about $50,000 a year. The new super is there for emergencies, and we have a much better level of service overall because people are being properly supervised instead of being left to their own devices.

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