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Seventy-five percent of not-for-profit senior living providers pay commissions to their marketing and sales staffs, with quarterly and bi-weekly payments common, according to the results of a recent Ziegler survey.

The June 2022 Ziegler CFO Hotline poll of almost 200 senior living chief financial officers and financial professionals found that 71% of single-site operators and 85% of multi-site operators pay commissions. Those figures are up from 2015, when 66% of single-site organizations and 78% of multi-site organizations reported paying commissions. 

Of the overall 75% of companies that pay commissions, most indicated that they pay on a monthly basis (55%), with quarterly (21%) and bi-weekly (11%) payments also common. The remainder of providers indicated that they pay commissions directly after a sale (6%), in a mix of monthly / quarterly payments (3%) or by another method (3%).

Similar to 2015, 40% of respondents said that they split their commissions between the deposit and settlement phases of new sales. Of those, 61% indicated that they weigh the split heavier on the settlement side, compared with 70% in 2015. About one-third (34%) said they split the commission 50 / 50, compared with 20% in 2015, and only 4% indicated they weigh the split heavier on the deposit side, compared with 10% in 2015.

Although the percentage of the total operating budget devoted to community marketing now is above 2015 levels, most providers overall (54%) indicated that the figure is 3% or less, with 29% saying that it landed between 4% and 6%. Few providers (9%) said their operating budgets devoted 7% to 10% to marketing, whereas 6% indicated their operating budgets spent between 11% and 20% on marketing. Even fewer (2% overall) reported that they spent more than 20% of their budgets on marketing.

The largest proportion of providers (34%) reported annual marketing costs per budgeted sales at $10,000 or less, compared with 30% reporting that figure in 2015. Thirty percent of providers reported spending $10,000 to $20,000, compared with 41% in 2015. Far fewer reported spending $21,000 to $25,000 on marketing (12% overall, compared with 17% in 2015). The number of organizations reporting spending more than $25,000 nearly doubled from 2015 figures, increasing from 12% to 23%.

Most respondents (62%) said that their organizations do not change the sales goals for the marketing or sales team on a regular basis, compared with 38% that said they do. Most providers (71%) seemed to be satisfied with their contract options, with only 29% indicating planned changes, including adding more options, changing refund options, altering electronic fund options or adding service fees.

Among those that do make adjustments based on the types of contracts or units that need to be sold, 62% indicated those changes are made annually, whereas 28% said they do it quarterly and 9% said they adjust as needed.