Managing contracted services is often a chaotic job, especially if your organization or facility is large and requires a variety of maintenance outsourcing.
If you are the person tasked with finding, managing, and retaining maintenance crews who are effective and thorough, while still staying within your budget, here are four tips to help you oversee the job – and theirs.
1. Be Clear About Communication and Transparency
Of course, thoroughly researching any company prior to entrusting them with the maintenance of your building is a critical task that shouldn’t be overlooked. There is likely to be a lengthy question-and-answer period that goes along with this process.
However, once you’ve hired someone, don’t let that insight into the company and what they are doing fall by the wayside. Because it’s common to schedule disruptive maintenance outside of business hours, this communication may begin to wane as time goes on.
Take steps to check in with the contractor or your account manager periodically and touch base to reestablish your expectations.
Tip: If you find that your “Account Manager” for any given contracted service is difficult to work with, doesn’t return your calls promptly, and doesn’t proactively reach out to you to check in, hire someone else.
2. Evaluate Your Expectations
Whether you are hiring a maintenance crew for the first time or you are making a switch from your current one, you need to do some homework in order to have a successful experience.
For example, when hiring a professional office or building cleaning company, it’s important to understand the differences between commercial cleaning and residential cleaning services. This existing knowledge will help you go into the situation with clear expectations (which are often the cause of chaotic contractor relationships.)
In most cases, you’ll likely want to schedule your maintenance crew’s arrival for after hours to minimize the disruptions to the work day.
3. Consider the Company’s Experience and Capabilities
Many people think the maintenance crew they’ve hired will come into their place of business after hours and adequately perform the agreed-upon duties. When arriving at the office the next day, you expect to be met with the results of a job well-done, whether that be construction work that is cleaned up or cleaning services that leave your office freshly scrubbed and sparkling property. While contracted companies don’t typically intend to do a sub-par job, inadequate completion of expected work is common largely due to a misunderstanding on your part of the company’s capabilities.
Consider the example of mold in your office. You may be under the assumption that mold will always fall under the cleaning-crew’s expertise, but this assumption can leave you at great risk.
Is your current maintenance company knowledgeable enough to identify and tackle the different levels of mold?
Do they understand each type of mold’s associated dangers?
In the event that a more serious and dangerous condition is present, you need to be able to trust that your cleaning crew has a firm grip on what they can and cannot handle without bringing in a restoration company. This is no understanding to take lightly, as the resulting impact of unaddressed mold and the associated risks to the health of employees or customers can wreak havoc on company liabilities; the Institute of Medicine has found that coughing, wheezing, and other symptoms of the upper respiratory tract were found in people who were otherwise healthy when they were exposed to mold indoors.
Ideally, your maintenance company will have a stringent plan in place to deal with mold, or take the proper steps to ensure that it is addressed outside of the scope of their own services.
4. What About Reputation and Resources?
As a business or property manager, you know how important your reputation can be in the business world. In order to do an effective job while also meeting your timeline, your maintenance crew needs to have experience in maximizing their efficiency — with a reputation to back that up.
Choosing a locally-owned company often comes with many benefits–particularly if you are a small- or medium-sized local business yourself. However, when dealing with these groups it’s important to be sure that their size doesn’t limit the resources you have access to. Read the reviews, talk to the company about their connections in the event of disasters, and be sure you feel comfortable with their stature in your community and in their industry.