Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset – part 1

Service Contracts

 

Apr 12th 2017.

Experience tells me that managing premises can feel like a thankless job; from contractors not showing up on the agreed date to work not being completed as agreed and to a satisfactory standard.

It is usually the premises manager that gets an earful when things don’t go to plan. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way, so I wanted to address some of the many pain points suffered by Premises & Site Managers.

In this 2 part article I will be sharing my top 10 questions a Premises & Site Manager should ask at the outset of a potential contractor / client relationship.

Asking the right questions at the outset will help reduce the overwhelm and lessen the burden of things going wrong. I firmly believe the key to making premises run smoothly is getting the contractor processes and systems right at the outset.

“One of the key issues I hear is the poor or inconsistent performance of contractors”

The following seem to be the top 5 frustrations of those responsible for managing contractors:

  1. No shows, late shows or turning up unannounced
  2. Sub-standard quality or cutting corners
  3. Site untidiness and poor cleanliness
  4. Disruption during work
  5. Repeated snagging visits

The above is by no way an exhaustive list and if any of these sound familiar then read on as I share my top tips for successful contractor / client relationships.
Client and contractor relationships are no different to personal or family relationships; they flourish when built on good foundations. Furthermore like a 500 year old house built on solid foundations getting the relationship right at the outset will ensure the relationship lasts and delivers value to both parties in the long term.

“Relationships flourish when built on good foundations”

Here are the first 5 of my Top 10 Great Questions to ask yourself when assessing the suitability of contractors or service partners. I should point out that you shouldn’t have to ask your contractor these questions; a truly proactive contractor will address these points with you:

  1. Will you be given a detailed and itemised proposal?
    A detailed proposal will help you check everything is included so there are no surprises as the project progresses and delays will be minimised.
  2. Is there a procedure for notifying you of upcoming visits by either phone, email or text message and will you be provided with a timetable of work or visits?
    Being aware of upcoming works will enable you to manage any risks associated with the work and plan for any necessary disruption to your business activities or services.
  3. Are you given the option to accept or re-arrange appointments?
    Being notified of upcoming visits is great and serves as a timely reminder, however things change and sometimes at short notice. A pro-active service partner will remind you before a visit to enable you to check if the visit can still go ahead.
  4. Will you receive Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS) as standard before work starts and are you aware of the risk of Safety non-compliance?
    It will be difficult for you to assess whether the service partner will work safely at your premises if they do not provide you with evidence. If things go wrong you may find yourself in court!
  5. Will you receive regular updates for longer projects?
    …or will you have to constantly chase them for updates, adding to your already hectic working week?

Conclusion…

You will notice that I use the words ‘Client & Contractor’, however these terms have history and do not always set the correct tone. So I prefer to use the term ‘Customer’ & ‘Service Partner’ as I believe that true value is delivered when a client and contractor work together as partners to deliver a service and/or solve a problem.

I hope these first 5 questions will, at the very least give you food for thought and hopefully inspire you to review and improve your existing arrangements with your service partners.

A point worth remembering is your service partner will deliver better value if they are treated with respect, dignity and you have open discussions about what both parties expectations are.

“I believe that true value is delivered when a client and contractor work together as partners”

In my next article…… I will be concluding my top 10 questions every Premises Manager or person responsible for managing premises should ask when selecting or reviewing contractors, sorry… Service Partners.

If you have any particular pain points I have missed you can email me on nick@thevitalelement.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn here.

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Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset - part 1
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Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset - part 1
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Top 10 questions a Premises Manager should ask at the outset of a potential contractor / client relationship.
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The Vital Element (UK) Ltd
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