Sourcing new vendor partners can be one of the most challenging parts of a property or facility manager’s role. Your company may go through this process every three years, every year, or on an as-needed basis, but the criteria for selecting a partner to complete your contract services remains the same. There are thousands of contractors available to do the work required – so how do you select the best one? It comes down to four main considerations:
Of course, the most important criteria for vendor selection are the capabilities of the provider. Can they provide the level of service you require for the duration of the contract? One way to ensure that you are selecting a well matched service provider is to look at the size of the company – does it closely match your own? For example, nationwide capabilities aren’t a factor to be concerned about if you are sourcing for properties that are all located in the same region. A smaller company may be a great partner for you if your company is also smaller in size and the services you require are not expansive. Choosing the right sized vendor that has the necessary equipment to fulfill the contracted services is essential.
Further, you may want to consider if the vendor has additional capabilities for out of scope work that may arise. Choosing a vendor partner with the ability to expand with you, as well as provide additional services you may need throughout the length of your contract, will eliminate the need to source for a separate provider mid-contract. If they are a new vendor to you, asking for references on their capabilities and services is a standard practice that the potential vendor should be happy to provide.
Once you have sourced a list of vendors who fit your selection criteria, the biggest determining factor is often price. Can the vendor provide the level of service you require for the price you are looking for? It helps if you have a budget in mind that you expect to pay for your contract. Every sourcing process involves a balancing act between price and service – a component of your job itself is likely to help your organization save money, so price must be a large factor in every contract you sign. Ensuring the sufficient level of service, however, sometimes requires paying a premium. The lowest bid is often not going to provide adequate service – especially for a contract that requires quick responses, such as in a snow event.
While considering price, it is also important to investigate the proposals put forward that are out of your budget range. Perhaps there is a reason that a potential vendor proposed pricing that seems too high. They may have noted a factor for the service required on your property that you may have missed – like an additional piece of equipment required to do the work, or irrigation for the landscaping you requested. Simply checking into what influenced pricing may give you some more information to use in your future sourcing.
A great way to ensure timely service is to select a vendor who is within a 10-15 mile radius of your properties. Particularly for snow removal contracts, you want to know that you have a vendor who is no more than a twenty minute drive away to provide the removal during and after a storm. This will significantly reduce the chance of your property not being serviced, or being serviced much later than you anticipate. Further, vendors within your geographic vicinity will have a much easier time doing their due diligence when putting together their proposal by visiting the sites and making sure they have a full understanding of the scope of work.
If you are working with a partner who outsources some or all of the work they are providing for you through their supplier network, make sure to ask how far your assigned vendor is from your properties. For non-urgent services that typically have a set schedule, such as landscaping, lot sweeping, portering, janitorial, or pressure washing, you have a broader geographic range to work with and should look at partners within an hour distance from your properties.
Finally, the most important consideration to make in selecting a vendor to partner with is the service provided – both the service itself and the Customer Service provided by the company. While it may be standard for your company to spend a few thousand dollars to go out to bid for new proposals every few years, if you have been happy with the service you have been provided by your current vendor and have built a relationship with them based upon honesty, efficiency, and the highest level of Customer Service, it may be in your best interests to discuss pricing with them first. If they see a future working with and growing with your company, they may even be able to negotiate the current contract with you. Price may be the factor that gets a vendor the business, but providing exceptional service and making clients genuinely like working with them is what keeps it.
What are the considerations you make when selecting a new vendor? Do you stick with who you know, or does price always win? Sound off in the comments!
ACACIA Commercial Services provides outsourced services, such as snow removal, landscaping, pressure washing, lot sweeping, janitorial, and portering, to commercial, retail, and multifamily properties throughout the MidAtlantic region.
Our vendor network consists of 6,000 service providers, which allows us to provide our clients with exceptional service and fair pricing.
Contact us to request a proposal for your services!