FM Articles

Facility Service Quality: Why Focusing on Quality Over Cost Pays


For many companies, outsourcing facility services is a good way to reduce costs, improve the occupant experience, and free up time to focus on business growth. With cost being an important factor behind the decision to outsource, many companies make the mistake of choosing a facility services provider based on cost alone. However, the old adage often rings true: you get what you pay for.

Selecting a facility services provider based solely on cost may seem to help your bottom line, but it doesn’t improve the quality of your facility. Working with a quality-oriented facility services provider not only helps you meet goals like sustainability and occupant satisfaction, it can help you keep costs under control. By delivering best practices in labor utilization, efficient processes, and sustainable practices, quality-oriented facility services providers prevent billing surprises and accidents that could be costly in the long run.

Getting Value from Your Facility Services Program
Since cost isn’t the most important factor in choosing a facility services provider, what should you be looking for? A quality-oriented facility services provider will deliver value through expertise, efficiency, customer service, innovation, and smooth operations.

Even though many facility services tasks are simple, when they’re delivered by an expert, it makes a difference. This is especially important for companies with sustainability and regulatory concerns. Choosing a provider with expertise in these areas will allow you to reach those goals more effectively.

Oftentimes, the least expensive option ends up being the least efficient. Low-cost providers tend to cut corners on training, equipment, and safety protocols in order to squeeze a profit out of their low prices. As a result, you can incur higher costs due to poorly functioning equipment, staff who aren’t properly trained, and unsafe practices. On the other hand, an expert uses standard operating procedures that reduce labor expenses and prevent accidents.

Customer Service
If one of your building occupants needs to report a spill or ask for directions, their interaction with maintenance workers reflects on you. Partnering with a provider that values customer service ensures that those interactions are a positive experience.

Every company wants to innovate. But it’s important to distinguish passing fads from truly valuable investments. Working with a quality-oriented provider allows you to benefit from their tactical expertise. They take a proactive approach to ensure that their training, staffing, and service delivery help make your innovative vision a successful reality.

FacilityEase of Doing Business
Anytime you outsource a business function, you have to address administrative issues. Low-cost providers may not have established procedures to make administration as hassle-free as possible for you. They also may skimp on transparency and supervisory oversight, which are crucial when you need to address issues that inevitably come up. Quality-oriented providers maintain established protocols for administration and quality control, making it easier to do business with them.

How to Choose a Quality-Oriented Facility Services Provider
How can you find a facility services provider that’s focused on service quality and long-term partnership? Seek out these five factors to weed out providers who can’t deliver value.

Expertise is invaluable. Whether you want to reduce labor expenses or navigate complicated financing programs for lighting upgrades, you benefit from working with an experienced provider. Their knowledge allows you to reach long-term goals that are outside of low-cost providers’ depth.

Established Procedures
Standardized processes allow for consistent service delivery. Experienced, quality-oriented providers have established standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each service they perform. These SOPs include a detailed breakdown of each task, when it should be performed, and how often. Beyond SOPS for service tasks, they also have established protocols for safety, quality control, and work order management.

While most conversations around facility services revolve around the work itself, it’s important to remember that the people doing the work are just as important. Quality-oriented facility services providers train their staff to be effective in their jobs, facility-specific protocols, safety, and customer service. They have documented training programs, covering a wide range of topics – from protective equipment to chemical usage.

A low-cost provider may claim to save you money, but they may not help you control costs. Working with a quality-oriented provider prevents unplanned expenses, like out-of-scope work, which eliminates surprises on your monthly bill. You also benefit from their engaged facility service workers, who are also trained to spot and report potential maintenance issues before they become serious problems.

Low-cost providers can be unstable and sometimes unexpectedly go out of business or can’t pay employees. That creates headaches for building occupants and leaves you scrambling to find a replacement. An established provider offers you a stable workforce and financial outlook that grants you peace of mind.

While it’s tempting to choose the lowest bidder for your facility services program, it can have a negative impact on the lifespan of your assets and building occupants. Choosing a provider that puts quality and value first enables you to control costs and achieve your long-term goals. While many facility services involve simple tasks, having them performed by an expert makes a difference. And expertise in invaluable.

Lance C. Graville is vice president of sales for the western region at ABM Industries. He began his career in real estate 20 years ago working in sales for a global real estate company. In 2013, Lance joined ABM where he was in charge of sales for all of ABM’s service lines for the Pacific Northwest territory. In 2016, Lance was promoted to vice president of sales for the western region, covering all of ABM’s service lines and selling to clients in multiple verticals. Lance has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. For more information, go to