Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

4 Top Trends of Facilities Management Spending in the COVID Era

In the year since the mass COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020, facilities spending across tradesnotably on HVAC, janitorial, and plumbinghas rebounded to surpass the pre-pandemic rates of 2019 by 5%, according to a new report.

New data released from ServiceChannel, an online platform for the procurement and delivery of distributed services, examines facility spend and service cost trends since 2018. The company says the data is from the ServiceChannel Facilities Spend Index, a new economic indicator that tracks costs and spending patterns across a range of markets and trades and is based on billions of dollars in services delivered across hundreds of thousands of locations on the ServiceChannel platform. 


Four key findings of the Facilities Spend Index include the following:

  • 1. Facility Spend Is Growing After Recovery from Pandemic Lows
    • Nationwide facilities spend across all trades climbed 33% in the year since the wide-scale shutdowns in the second half of 2020. Locations have spent 15% more in the first half of 2021 than in 2020.
    • As essential businesses with open locations, the Grocery, Convenience, and Big Box Retail sectors maintained higher spend throughout the pandemic. Their budgets are now about 10% higher than in 2019.
  • 2. Service Costs Have Been Rising, with Recent Relief
    • Overall service costs nationwide were 9% higher in Q2 2021 than a year earlier, driven by an 11% increase in material cost. Invoice costs peaked in Q4 2020 and have since fallen by 8% as labor time decreased.
    • Since 2018, rising invoice costs were caused by increasing labor rates, up over 7% annually, along with growing material costs, up over 12% annually.
  • 3. Cleaning Spend Remains Elevated but Is on the Decline
    • Spending on the janitorial trade peaked up 24% YOY in Q4 2020 when locations had reopened and cases were spiking, driven by a 29% increase in labor spend.
    • Since then, nationwide spend has dropped 17%, but it remains 15% higher than in 2019.
  • 4. Trade Spend Varies Greatly Across Metro Regions
    • During pandemic shutdowns, New York City experienced the greatest drop in spending on all trades, cutting back 40%, while Atlanta saw the smallest change in overall spending, dropping just 13%.
    • While costs nationwide are in line with the pre-pandemic trend, Dallas and Chicago have seen trade cost increases of more than 10% since 2019.

ServiceChannel says its Facilities Spend Index will be updated with the latest data across maintenance, repairs, and capital investments each quarter. The interactive tool is available here

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