For the past several years, we've been hearing complaints from property and facility managers in regards to not being able to locate good vendors, or not being able to obtain good information regarding vendors that they had located. When it comes to the plethora of issues that property managers are required to face daily, which include performing inspections, filling out paperwork, and taking on tenant focused challenges, choosing a good vendor really should not be one of them.
Once we started meeting with property managers regarding the procedure for identifying and contracting vendors like security guard, landscaping, or trash collection vendors, we determined a few things. One of which was that even though many property managers held that getting good vendors was important and vital, many property managers simultaneously felt that one vendor was as good as the next. However when talking to property managers who had come across vendors providing GREAT service, they thought otherwise. The truth is, although vendors in almost any particular discipline might possibly provide similar services, the manner in which they set about executing against those services is the place where the contrasts lie.
When you are interested in locating GREAT vendors to provide solutions and services to your building, there are a couple of activities that will usually help in your buying process. First is getting proven and unprejudiced feedback from previous customers of vendors that are looking to provide you with service. The second is constructing a simple and well-organized technique to make an apples-to-apples evaluation of vendor proposals.
Generally, the favored way of getting comments from any vendor's most recent users is asking for business references. When requesting business references, we propose you explicitly inquire about references for businesses that have properties or facilities a lot like yours when it comes to your industry and property's total size. So, if you are a general manager for a 50 room hotel in need of security guards, then your security guard vendor should supply references from facilities that are comparable to yours. What our company has observed is that often vendors who concentrate on serving larger customers would not often be ready to supply the necessary quality or quantity of client service for smaller-sized accounts...and vice versa.
Additionally, we always suggest you require information about a contract or customer that the vendor had fairly recently lost for an issue other than price and precisely what the vendor is doing to be certain that the scenario isn't going to occur again. We make this suggestion for two main reasons. First is generally to judge the integrity of the vendor. Is that company willing to tell you about a time that they were struggling to deliver on their service; and second is generally to examine the way that they handle client dissatisfaction. If their were deficits in their service, did they make an effort to rectify them with the buyer and again in what ways are they making certain it does not re-occur?
Lastly, as a buyer you should attempt to be sure that each vendor is answering your RFP in a manner that will allow you to initiate an apples-to-apples comparison. You should make a list of detailed questions that each and every vendor should reply to. As an example: Years in operation, Gross annual Revenue, Cost/square foot, Hourly rate, Coverage liability, etc. If circumstance allows you, we might even suggest you come up with a spreadsheet for each vendor to complete that can make the side-by-side comparison a lot less difficult.