Subcontracting is standard practice in the realms of commercial construction and access control, but has gotten a bad rap in the Facilities and Loss Prevention worlds. Managers and facilities directors often worry about the cost of adding a “middle man” and loss of control. While this may hold true for some trades, that’s not the case in the world of doors and locks.
For local businesses, self-performing locksmiths is the way to go; but if you’re managing a chain of locations that are multi-regional or national, entrusting this work to hundreds of different locksmiths is when all control goes by the wayside. Sub-contracting has been a thorn in the sides of National Service Providers (NSPs) for years, so needless to say one company tried nationwide self-performing – the door and lock repair division of their company is now closed. While this business model may work for some trades, it doesn’t for door and lock repair. Which begs the question – what are the benefits of working with a NSP over local providers?
Capitalize on NSPs Buying Power
In most cases, if an organization sources local locksmiths, that technician provides parts for each service call, which means you’re paying list price (there are exceptions to the rule, but list price is standard practice) and missing out on the discounts available when you buy larger quantities.
Even if your organization buys directly from the manufacturer, the discounts given to even the largest national and multi-nationals chains pale in comparison to those given to NSP. NSPs employ a buying power bolstered by the multiple nationwide chains they service – they transfer this buying power to you as the end-user. Savings are usually a minimum of 30-percent – if your average annual spend on doors and locks is $25,000 you would save a minimum of $7,500 on parts alone.
NSPs Offer Scheduling Flexibility
After many years of working in the industry, NSPs accumulate a significant technician database for areas across the country. Should you decide to source a local technician, you are at the mercy of his schedule. Your NSP will contact technicians in the area based on their skill level and the job at hand and find a qualified technician available at the time and date YOU set. The only time you’ll hear “I’m sorry – we can’t get out there today” is when you need a technician to go to a location in the middle of a national park during the government shutdown (too soon?).
Warranty Management – Hidden Savings with NSPs
Do you have a granular understanding of your annual parts spend? What percentage of this spend is on new construction and remodels compared to replacements. What is the warranty of the parts you’re using? Does someone manage this data every time there is a service call to ensure hardware is replaced under warranty if it’s still covered?
Does your local service provider manage the warranties and honor them upon replacement? Unless you’ve found a diamond in the rough – chances are the answer is no on both accounts. Local providers generally don’t have the manpower or technology it requires to keep track of the warranties of every part they sell, but for some of our customers the value is as high as $4 million. That’s not a typo and you didn’t misread $4,000,000.
If you’ve elected to work with local providers, the management and execution of warranties is your responsibility – one that took us years to perfect. Many parts carry a 1-year warranty, and higher-end products tend to carry 5-year, 10-year and even lifetime warranties. The money saved with the added buying power is pocket change compared to warranty replacements.
Non-Compliant Technicians Don’t Retain the Title
As a NSP, we refuse to risk our reputation on subpar technicians. A dedicated Technical Service Engineer works diligently with new and existing technicians to ensure they understand your expectations including quality of work, insurance compliance, IVR performance, and timeliness. We treat them much like we do our employees – we clearly communicate expectations, monitor performance, coach them up, and if they regularly fall short, we have a system that stores their information and the reason for their dismissal so they aren’t used in the future. So do we have less control? In some ways yes, but we have gained a valuable partnership with vetted technicians across the country. They rely on the business of partnering with a NSP and we trust them to treat our customers as we would.
If a NSP doesn’t follow protocols similar to these it might be time to find a new one or continue your search. Check out 8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a National Service Provider to aid your search for the right provider.
Is the verdict still out on the value of subcontracting? Are your wheels turning with a million questions that I didn’t cover? I could go on for days, but if you have specific questions shoot us an email or give us a call. We promise – no sales talk. We’d love to help you save money and get more bang for your buck.