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Common Mistakes When Hiring a Building Services Provider

Hiring the right Building Services Provider can be a daunting task as a property manager.  Your building service provider is an essential part of keeping your building operating and functioning properly.  You want your residents and guests to feel safe and happy when entering or exiting the facility and have the building clean and in good repair. But how do you select the right vendor to accomplish these tasks? 

Not Having an Accurate Request For Proposal (RFP)

When requesting services for your building, have the scope of work clearly stated in your Request for Proposal.  Make sure you are getting what you ask for and the individual needs of your facility are clearly addressed.

As your RFP relates to building services here are some items to consider:

  • How big is the building? How many floors?
  • Do you have building plans or as-builts to help locate important items such as shut-off valves?
  • How many hours per week do you need front desk services?
  • Will vendors be expected to perform after-hours work?
  • leaned?
  • Provide detailed cleaning specifications including all areas to be cleaned and the frequency of each area.
  • Do you need a part-time or full-time maintenance super on-site?  Will the superintendent be live-in or live-out
  • What is the layout of the building/facility?

Other items on the RFP include:
Name & Address of the Property
Property Manager Contact Information
Scope of Work
Insurance Requirements
Payment Schedule & Terms

Contract Term

The RFP process is a time-consuming task.  Consider awarding a multi-year contract.  This has a two-fold effect; first, you will not have to go through the RFP process annually; and second, you will be able to better budget from year to year knowing the cost over a multi-year agreement.  However, be sure to include in your contract the right to terminate the contract with thirty days’ notice at any time to give you the flexibility should the Building Service Provider not meet your expectations.

Lack of Background Check /References
Background checks ensure the safety and quality of services being provided to the building.  You wouldn’t let an unauthorized guest into your building.  Your building service providers should be no different. 

What type of insurance and amount of coverage should a building services company have?  This should include general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and umbrella insurance.


Ask your building service providers about their certifications. You should also do some homework to see what requirements need to be met at your facility. 

Some Other Certification Requirements to Consider

Does your facility require a fire safety manager?

Does your facility require a black seal licensed maintenance tech?  That is a mechanical license to work on boilers. 

Don’t go for the Cheapest Bid: You Get What You Pay For

As with most professional services, going with the lowest price is not always the best choice.  To make a profit, the contractor may try to cheat by cutting hours or even not paying employees a proper wage. If the contractor pays too little the facility may suffer from turnover and will not attract  quality personnel. 

In your RFP, consider indicating the wages by the position you want the building service provider to pay its staff, or require that the employee pay wages are disclosed in the contractor bid.

What is really included in that price?  Make sure everything you requested in the RFP is included.  What is the level of expertise? Did they make a mistake when they did their number?

In the end, you do not what to go through the process two times.  You also do not want to pay for subpar service with an unreliable staff.