Maintenance Budget

I have just purchased my first park and want to know how other people are handling maintenance expenses. Do you give your manager a monthly budget in an account for small maintenance/office items? Or do you try and setup some kind of account with a local hardware store? I am just wanting to make sure they are using the money for what it is intended for. I appreciate all advice!!


Mike S.

We have a Lowes or Home Depot near most of our parks and we give a card to the managers. They usually fax or email receipts the same day so we can keep up with what they are buying. We usually also set a threshold amount beyond which they need to get permission to purchase.


We give our managers a credit card & a “petty” checking acct which they can draw on. That checking account is NOT where they deposit the park rents (that account is deposit-only for them, no check-writing privileges!).

They could run off with all the money in the petty account, but only once (& then they’re fired!) so that’s a risk we’re willing to take when it’s a small amount of money relative to their wages. They can request a transfer into the petty account if they explain what they need the money for (tax payment, equipment purchase, etc).

Same thing for the credit card – low limit and I only pay it off once I know what the credit was used for. I can authorize a big purchase through my card (higher limit).

Then, weekly or biweekly or monthly we have the managers fax us a “recap” itemizing all purchases and including all the receipts. I compare that with the online statement and make sure all the expenses are accounted for. They have to submit the receipts for everything, even cash purchases (for which they reimburse themselves out of the “petty” checking account).

If there’s an expense drawn on the account without an explanation, I know something is up. I can see everything they’re purchasing because I have all the receipts. They can’t steal more than the credit limit plus the amount in the petty account. If everything looks good, I pay the credit card bill and/or refill the petty account with an online transfer.

They could still pretend to buy something for the “park” and then return it for cash or sell it on the side & pocket the cash. But I’d have that problem even in another system where they didn’t have access to their own card/account.

As the managers show they are responsible, we increase the amount they have access to (less hassle for us). It increases our exposure, but it’s worth the reduced hassle (less frequent refills) once we feel the risk is reduced.


We allow our managers to authorize small-dollar repairs (under $300) for things like backed-up sewer or lawn mowing. Anything above that amount requires our approval. For really large amounts (e.g. repairs over $1,000) we require the manager or our General Contractor to get at least two bids from our approved vendor list. We then require photos to be sent of major completed work.

Never, ever let a manager have a checkbook.


I appreciate all the good advice it has given me some great ideas.

$200 for petty cash, it is refilled when it gets down to $50.00. We send another check that is made payable to the park manager. Any major purchases from anywhere and we will call the store and pay with a credit card over the phone.

Most major purchases will require a contractor to do the work so this is not a major issue.

Park manager/maintanence needs petty cash to buy gas for mower, replace small broken parts, door nobs etc…