Outsourcing is more popular than ever in the maintenance industry, with 87 percent of facilities reporting that they’re planning to outsource at least one part of maintenance operations. With so many outsourcing service providers now available, it’s easier than ever to get specialized expertise at affordable prices by going with a third party.
But outsourcing isn’t always the best solution for every business. If you’re considering whether to choose an outside provider for your building maintenance needs, here are a few instances of when it makes the most sense.
You Need Specialized Expertise
Full-time maintenance professionals are expected to serve as generalists, responding to anything property managers need throughout the day. They could be repairing fixtures in the morning, and installing new door locks in the afternoon. Unfortunately, today’s buildings can often have requirements beyond that, especially when it comes to electronics and computerization.
Outsourcing allows property managers to contract with outside providers for specialized needs. Since the specialists have their own tools and equipment, they can usually take care of the work more efficiently than generalists. Some areas that might require specialists include:
- Electrical installations and maintenance
- Closed circuit television installation and maintenance
- Security system installation and maintenance
- Building weatherization
- Graffiti removal
- Snow and ice removal
Outsourcing more specialized activities makes the hiring process easier as well. Instead of trying to track down someone who can handle a wide range of specialized requests, you can focus on building a salaried team for the day-to-day operational activities, knowing you’ll have outsource providers to take care of the rest.
You Need Short-Term or Part-Time Services
Whether your facility employs one maintenance professional or an entire team, chances are your workers at least occasionally encounter downtime. Outsourcing allows you to avoid paying someone a full-time salary to have them on site just in case an issue arises. You can choose to contact the service provider only when work is needed, such as when a new project requires bringing in additional workers. Many property managers outsource landscaping, for instance, since the services are only needed on a weekly basis during warmer months.
By outsourcing these services, your regular maintenance workers can focus on their daily duties, ensuring tenants have the services they need. Your workers also are safer, since they aren’t tasked with jobs for which they lack sufficient training. They won’t expose themselves to electrical or other hazards, but can be on hand to give outsourced workers the access they need.
You’re Concerned About Liability
What happens if a member of your maintenance team forgets to set out a “wet floor” sign and a tenant slips and falls? What if full-time maintenance staff members injure themselves?
Let’s say the facility manager sends his day-to-day technician to go fix something on the roof. The technician falls off because he didn’t strap in correctly. Not only is the maintenance technician hurt, the facility manager has to also worry about lost wages, workers’ compensation, and all of the other problems that come with this kind of accident.
You may be held liable for those incidents, costing you tens of thousands of dollars in wages and lost time, among other expenses. If you don’t invest in a workplace safety program, you could also find yourself falling victim to a lawsuit.
When you outsource your maintenance work, the provider generally takes on that liability. If an injury occurs as a result of the work, the provider will be on the hook for any legal action. However, it’s important to make sure your contractors have this protection in place. Your contract should include verbiage that shifts all liability to the provider.
In short, facility managers should turn to outsourcing if the jobs require special skills and/or equipment. Especially if there is a chance that, without these resources, their workers could hurt themselves, damage the facility, take too long to perform the task, or cost the facility too much money. Make sure you carefully research providers before making a decision to get the best service possible.