How to track keep track of supplies usage

Hello everyone,

Couple of years ago I started managing a couple of family properties on the side. Things worked out really well so I ended quitting my job, funding my own company and doing this full time. Currently I am managing 24 apartments. Profits are getting over the top and so are expenses. Since my cleaning ladies are the ones in charged of the cleaning supplies; toilet paper, paper towel,detergent and all stuff like that, I would really like to know if there is any way to keep track of the supplies I buy and are used. With such big volume it is really hard to keep track. An app or something like it would be awesome.


Happy hosting


Can you say “simple spreadsheet”? I knew you could. That’s what spreadsheets are for – keeping track of numerous things and how they relate to other things. List of properties across the top as well as purchase quantities and dates. List of supplies down the side.

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Receiptmate might be an interesting tool; it pairs with Evernote to track expenses by scanning receipts. Or here is a link explaining a bunch of helpful apps.

I can’t offer you advice on the cost of cleaning 24 apartments, as I run a small B&B. However, I do have past career experience of managing residential and nursing care homes, and one service in particular came to mind when reading your post. Early on, the rep supplying the cleaning materials came to see me, my predecessor having given him the budget figure; I was heading for an overspend within the first quarter and he knew before I did! But that’s another story… I sat down with the cleaners to find out how stuff was being used, only to learn that the maintenance guy was doing the ordering and basically ordering anything and everything they asked for. A system of a unit containing different cleaning product concentrates had been installed, instead of a vast collection of different products to suit each individual cleaner’s preferences. They didn’t like it, wouldn’t use it, with it boiling down to a particular product needed to be blue, in order for them to be convinced it worked!!! At the heart of the issue was their concern for the health and safety of the residents, and a perceived risk of increased levels of infection.

To cut a longer story short, I worked with the cleaners to help them gain an understanding of costs, risks of infection and to assure them that their standards were perfect; I couldn’t ask for better. The budget settled back withing limits but what I learned is that spreadsheets aside (no apps then…) you need to work with your staff, to listen to what they have to say, to learn their concerns, build a cohesive team and to let them know you value what they are doing for you.