When it comes to the capital planning needs of a Senior Living organization, there’s no magic button. You’re responsible for a lot of moving parts. And throughout the process, you’ve probably asked yourself questions like:

  • Do I need to hire someone to do this, or does my team have the skillset necessary to manage this in-house?
  • Can I complete this project to budget?
  • Does my team have the time to manage this project in-house?
  • How long will this project take? Will I be able to do other needed projects at the same time?
  • Will this project help us get new residents or improve the care of our current residents?

The pros and cons of staying in-house or outsourcing

Regardless of the type of project, a lot of the decisions on a capital project revolve around the answer you give to the first two questions: “Do I need to hire someone to do this?” and “Do I have the budget to make that choice?”

Projects done entirely in-house are called self-performed projects. When building staff perform a project completely internally, they usually save a lot of money. And money talks. But there’s also risk, as you can miss an opportunity for expertise on the project. And on big-ticket projects, the last thing you want is to realize your maintenance director doesn’t always double as Mr. Fix-It.

And that brings us to professional service projects. You could probably guess by now, but they are just the opposite of self-performed, and they tend to have opposite risks as well. When you hire outside service providers, you’re paying for the job as well as the expertise. Whether it’s a consultant for interior design or a contractor for additions and renovations, this route will often provide a finished project that’s on time and within scope. But, there’s always a risk to contracting as well, namely around budget.

So, you’re usually left deciding between an emphasis on budget or results, and with a lot riding on it.

Make data the foundation of your
decision-making process

There isn’t a magic equation that leads to the right choice. Flipping a coin obviously won’t cut it, and going with a gut feeling leads more often to nausea than success. What leads to better, more-informed capital spend decisions is accurate, timely data.

Whether you manage two buildings or 200, information gathering is critical to making the best decisions. Things like:

  • Asset replacement costs: internal versus contracted
  • Timelines, time to completion and number of phases
  • Scope of work: how time-, labor- and capital-intensive the project is

Centralize your information and communicate

While important, data is half the battle. The other half is planning it out and making it work for you, not the other way around. A lot of data can be housed in Microsoft Excel documents, but these can be time-consuming and potentially out of date or inaccurate.

Plus, as data is recorded at the facility level and moves its way up to a corporate office, multiple documents and multiple levels of feedback and prioritization occur, which can be difficult to track and maintain. Add to that the potential of receiving a capital budget for a whole year as late as March or April, and you’ve found yourself in a time crunch.

A great capital planning technology platform eases these burdens and acts as a gatekeeper, helping you to:

Streamline the process

Improve approval lead time of projects


Increase visibility into capital spend

(because project requests can’t get lost)

Improve overall operating budgets of facilities


In short, having a platform where up-to-date information can be viewed by any level of an organization allows more-informed, better capital decisions, smoother facility operations and happier residents.

Try TELS Capital Planning in your organization

Deploy proactive planning, productive communication and powerful decision-making with TELS Capital Planning. This single, easy-to-use solution keeps up-to-date information such as useful life, repair need and history on all your capital items, which can be segmented by building, region or owner group. You can also framework future plans by pre-distributing items and projects into different capital buckets as well as submit, review and approve capital items simultaneously.

Best of all, it’s completely free for TELS customers! See more of what TELS Capital Planning has to offer or call 800-667-3880 with any questions.

Already a TELS customer? Sign in today to deploy TELS Capital Planning for your organization.