Ask anyone who’s ever had to get a cheap haircut fixed, a dodgy tattoo covered, or suffered through a pirated copy of a film shot on a handycam in the dim of a cheap cinema and they’ll tell you – cheaper isn’t always better.
Why then are so many building owners and managers willing to take chances with one of their most important assets?
Understandably, it can seem like a tempting option to cut costs when you’re trying to stretch your maintenance budget as far as possible.
When something breaks or needs replacing inside a building you own or manage, you need to get it fixed fast – and sometimes, as you assess the quotes in front of you, it’s hard to do much research past looking at the dollar figure at the bottom.
But here’s the other bottom line: if quotes told the full story, they’d also tell you that a cut-price deal can end up costing you way more down the track.
Like in any industry, not all building maintenance providers are created equal. Costs and service can vary considerably and it can be hard to tell like-for-like or where the best choice for spending your budget is.
What needs maintaining?
The best place to start is by stepping back and assessing what services in your building need to be maintained. From there, you’ll be able to see the varying skillsets required in building maintenance.
A typical building will need some kind of maintenance activity in these areas:
- HVAC/Air con
- Mechanical Services
- Phone lines
- Fire detection
- Fire hydrants/extinguishers
- OH&S compliance
- Building code compliance
- Public Amenities
- Building automation
While some of these aspects of building maintenance are relatively simple, others require high levels of technical expertise.
Either way, planning your maintenance activities based on what will be the cheapest to do in the short term rarely pays off.
What’s the real cost of cutting costs?
When short cuts are taken – or sub-standard subcontractors used – you’re likely to see a ripple effect through into other areas of your building. Cheap contractors may not have the right level of technical know-how. Or, they might just use inferior products and take short cuts in their work to make up their costs. Either way, it’s a temporary cost-saving measure that may end up costing you a lot more down the track.
You should also consider your building’s occupants and their needs. Tenants like to see building works being completed by reputable tradespeople as it gives them confidence in the management of the facility.
If tenants are paying a fair market price for their premises, they’re not likely to be pleased if they feel that the building’s management team are then taking short-cuts with the building’s upkeep.
Knowing they’re renting space in a building where short-cuts aren’t taken tends to give peace of mind and allows tenants to plan for the long-term. When your tenants plan to stick around, that in turn gives you financial security in the viability of your facility.
There is little that costs you more than empty tenancies, so it’s worth investing in quality maintenance to keep your tenants happy and signing their leases.
How do you know what represents good value?
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that the contractors you’re using are offering you a good deal and strong value for money.
Sitting down and talking with them is often the first step to make sure you’re on the same page about your needs and whether or not they’re in a position to meet them. Have they worked on other buildings like yours in the past? How much experience do they have? Will they guarantee their work? Do they directly employ their own workers, or outsource it themselves?
All of these questions will form a picture of the company you’re considering and whether or not they’re best placed to provide the quality of service you need for your building.
It’s important to have trust in the contractors you end up choosing. It pays to build a strong relationship and understanding through planned maintenance work and then, when you need reactive maintenance solutions, you’ll know you’re in safe hands.
The National Projects team are happy to sit down with you and talk you through our building maintenance services, why we don’t take short cuts and why you can trust us with your building’s maintenance needs.