Doing more services with fewer vendors seems to be the mantra today. Although the recent trend of consolidating can reduce administrative costs, caution should be taken before going too far. Eliminating specialty vendors may end up costing you more in the long run than the initial savings gained by consolidating.

A few years ago, specialized maintenance employees who were “Jacks of all trades” handled much of the facilities services for businesses. From plumbing and electrical to HVAC, these company employees were the maintenance experts for each location. But even they had limits on what they could do and called in specialty contractors for maintenance on complex items such as elevators, or hard to reach items like signs and exterior lighting. As companies grew larger it became apparent that using outside contractors allowed those companies to focus more on their core business and less on facilities issues. This outsourcing trend spawned a large number of new specialty maintenance companies. Today there are vendors that will provide virtually every service that a business requires.

Here are a few questions you might want to consider before making the decision to consolidate:

  • Is the vendor really an expert on the service they have been hired to provide, or are they merely a forwarding service?
  • Are the employees or subcontractors who are performing the work trained to perform the specific services they are providing?
  • Is the vendor well versed in the safety and governmental issues entailed in the services being performed?
  • Does the vendor have the proper equipment and inventory to get the job done in the fewest number of trips and with the least amount of down time?

Specialty contractors focus on their core business, providing expertise and quality service at reasonable rates. And while it may be tempting to consolidate (at least from an initial cost standpoint), it could cost you both time and money down the road.

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