Did You Buy a Fiero or a Ferrari? Why Picking the Cheapest Cost Per Hour Field Service Vendor for Facilities Repair Can Come Back to Bite You.

Sometimes, names can be deceiving, and the façade of Fiero can be like Ferrari, especially if tuned with a newer engine, as reported by the New York Times. However, it is still a Fiero, not a Ferrari. Picking a vendor for facilities management services is like seeing the best car and choosing to go with a less expensive, “semi-exotic” car. True, the lower cost is more feasible and may last, but by the time all the bells and whistles are added to make it run like a Ferrari, the cost could be close to that of the iconic sports car.

Lower cost does not always mean better value. In the age of the internet, it is easy to get lost among the providers offering industry-best rates and superior service. Nonetheless, your decision to work with a given vendor for facilities management services should not be made based on hourly rates. Although cheaper at first, you could be paying more in the long-run. If the hourly rate was minimum wage, your total cost ownership (TCO) could easily be double the hourly rate if field service techs miss things or rush through delicate jobs. As explained by Josh Linker of Forbes, businesses want to get the cheapest and faster service, but it is not always better. Since you want to get it right, think about how the long-term value in vendor partnerships compares to the hourly cost. 

Vendor Field Service Partners May Be Limited

Even when a company provides quality services, low-cost partnerships may mean access to fewer field service technicians. Cheaper costs per hour may allude to cost-cutting measures that could result in premature failure of repairs or hazards to your business. In addition, field service technicians may not have as much financial incentive to get around to making repairs, so work orders may be delayed, which can adversely affect your staff members and customers. 

Consider this worst-case scenario, lower per-cost hours may mean the field service technicians lack the appropriate licensure or insurance requirements. If a problem arises, your insurance company may refuse to cover the problem due to it not being addressed by a licensed, bonded and insured company in the first place. As a result, you are out the original hourly cost and the added cost to fix it right. 

Your Service Level Agreement (SLA) May Contain Extra, Hidden Costs

Lower hourly costs may also seem great, but when emergencies, schedules change or other events occur, the hourly rate may increase drastically. Your SLA may dictate additional fees and charges for non-scheduled services, which is expected to a reasonable degree, but lower hourly costs may allude to afterhours charges that exceed industry standards. 

TCO Increases 

Lower hourly costs may also mean low-quality products and materials are used for repairs. While this is an assumption, someone charging less for services will want to reduce their overhead costs as much as possible. So, parts used for repairs may have shorter, limited warranties and even if quality parts are used, how can you be sure the equipment used to complete the repair works properly? 

For example, adjusting the torque on an HVAC fan too much could result in premature failure, but the problem is not the person doing the work. It could be a problem with the torque wrench; moreover, if the technician's pressure testing equipment does not function properly, your unit could be leaking natural gas without anyone being the wiser. 

The Grass Will Always Be Greener on the Other Side of the Vendor for Facilities Management Pasture

Someone is always going to offer cheaper work, so looking for the cheapest vendor facilities is an inefficient and unpredictable means of finding the right partner. Your vendor for facilities management services should charge rates similar to industry standards for both your area and type of services required. It is the same as deferred maintenance. Finding the cheapest vendor for facilities services management might work for today, but in the future, it could come back to bite you when you least expect it. 

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