Advice and Opinion

Reducing operating costs a key imperative for commercial property owners, says EPS

Challenging economic trading conditions of the past several years coupled with significantly increased energy and other costs such as municipal tariffs have placed a high priority on the reduction of operating costs from a commercial property owner’s perspective, says Marna van der Walt, CEO of Excellerate Property Services (EPS). 

“As a result, we’ve seen the concept of a bundled service offering for landlords, particularly investors with large property portfolios, rapidly emerging as a means of achieving maximum cost-effectiveness. Increasingly, role players in the property industry are looking for reputable service providers to provide such a ‘one-stop’ service. EPS has already implemented this as a strategic focus in growing the business and delivering a full spectrum of quality property related services to existing and potential clients including property owners, property managers and occupiers of space. The advantage is meaningful in that a single source of knowledge and management support, together with substantial cost savings is created.

“As an example, Sterikleen, together with other companies in the EPS group, recently put together a bundled services proposal comprising property management, repairs and maintenance, security, parking management, cleaning, hygiene, pest control and gardening services for a property complex comprising eight commercial buildings. As a result, an annual saving of R1.5 million was achieved, representing a meaningful 10 percent reduction on operational expenses for the landlord,” says van der Walt.

Comments Rudolf Nieman, MD of Sterikleen: “Sterikleen, which provides services for in excess of 1 000 buildings in South Africa and on the African continent, has experienced significant growth as part of a bundled service offering by JHI Properties. A case in point is the substantial value added from a cost as well as an operational point of view to the recently established Arrowhead and Matlotlo property portfolios.

“It stands to reason that a single point of responsibility, accountability and communication for all service offerings for a property portfolio is created. In addition, significant cost savings are achieved for the client by removing layers of management and consolidating support services,” says Nieman.

Well maintained properties have advantage 

“Now more than ever, well maintained properties are those which stand out, and which are likely to attract and retain tenants, so it is imperative that service providers in the property industry – from refuse removal to cleaning and security, maintain exemplary standards and keep buildings immaculate while achieving a reduction in operational expenses. If there is a threat of vacancies, well-kept assets have a clear advantage, and a bundled service offering is the ideal solution to the challenge, particularly in a subdued economy.”

He says this concept has further benefits for ensuring that the same high standard of bundled services is provided to clients not only in easily accessible metropolitan centres but also in rural and remote areas such as towns in the Northern Cape like Kimberley. Due to the collective footprint and management capabilities and support of all the companies in the EPS group, Sterikleen is able to render cleaning, hygiene, pest control and gardening services in remote areas such as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.

Creating employment in rural areas 

Says Nieman: “Local rural people have been employed as staff and through a process of structured training Sterikleen is creating jobs and adding value to the community through effective skills transference. Staff members begin as site cleaning staff and skills are gradually increased through training and experience, enabling rural inhabitants to become supervisors and so improve their quality of life. Because of the national network and wide array of services offered, EPS is well positioned to provide almost any property service or specific property solution in remote areas, and to the same high standards.

“In this regard the full management team of Sterikleen, under the guidance of COO  Barrie Steyn, is involved in the establishment of standard procedures and processes in order to obtain ISO 9001-2008 accreditation. Getting Legal, a reputable training consultant in the industry, is assisting with this documentation and design and implementation of a structured training process aligned with ISO as well as SETA accreditation. This accreditation will play a vital role in reinforcing a culture of efficiency and effectiveness, and contribute to ensuring that EPS is an employer of preference,” concludes Nieman.

For further information contact Sterikleen on 011 6998604 or email

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