Continued...10 Reasons to Seek Consulting Help with Your Facility

In last week's post, we discussed different reasons why hiring a consultant makes sense for athletic facilities in a variety of situations. We discussed five reasons, and here are a few more (in no particular order):

#4 You are a municipality and your facility is 30 years old and needs replacing

This situation is happening all over Canada and the Northern tier of states. Questions to ask include keeping the old facility open after a refurbishment, maintaining ice times if the old structure has to be demolished, how many surfaces should be in the new facility, and the best building site. A consultant can help the stakeholders answer all of these questions from the strength of deep experience in the athletic facility business.

#3 Too many owners want to be managers

Once, in my professional experience, I had dealings with an ownership group that numbered over 2 dozen. That's a lot of owners. The managers there never knew who to report to, or sometimes went a little crazy trying to deal with opposing requests from different ownership group members. When the time came to make a decision, all the different points of view led to late decisions. This is a good example of a structural problem that a consultant could help the group decide to change.

#2 Your REIT can't run a business within the property

Sometimes Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) come to own businesses within their properties. Usually this is a distressed athletic facility and the change in ownership is sudden. In 1960, Congress exempted REITs from corporate income tax, but in exchange took away the ability for the REIT to operate a business within their property. REITs have several solutions to deal with this type of situation, but which one is best for all stakeholders? A consultant can lay out the choices along with the pluses and minuses of each method.

#1 You want to take time off from the facility for that cruise around the world

When the owner decides to take time off from a facility, the decision path can become complicated. Some of the options on the table include: sale of the business, leveraged buyout by employees, hiring a management company, and selling shares of the business. These types of decision are difficult, especially with the emotional investment owners make. A consultant can help value the business, suggest ways for employees to purchase the business, and generally help winnow the options to a useable one or two.

Conclusion

Hiring a consultant can be difficult because any facility has negative information better left private. Consultants are always willing to sign privacy agreements. A consultant is someone a facility has to trust, otherwise there is no point to hiring one. Consultants need the most accurate information available to help identify good decisions and opportunities for the facility. Once a facility gets beyond the difficult notion of telling an outsider everything, the consultant can get to work with effective advice.

Consultants come in many different flavors. Choose one that has experience similar to your current issues. Usually facilities are best with consultants that worked in the field a minimum of 20 years. Don't be afraid to ask for references. If other institutions are happy with his or her work, then you will too. Interview a few consultants, or write a RFP (Request for Proposal) and see how many different consultants would approach your situation.

Word travels quickly. When hiring a consultant, an organization is always best hiring a group or person who is busy. At Rink Management Services Corporation, we are always busy with feasibility studies, business analysis, answering Requests for Proposals, and strategic business planning for a variety of different facilities. With the variety of facilities we help, we always deal with new trends effectively.

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