Don't wait until it's broken! Here's how to harness building service maintenance to your advantage

While running a business can be a constant juggling act of managing customers and ambitious goals, it’s important to realise that there are less exciting or nerve-wracking areas of managing a business that can be just as impactful. One of the top ones we see is often left untouched: building services maintenance. Here's how you change that.

6 minute read

1st August, 2023 | Remarcable

Don't wait until it's broken! Here's how to harness building service maintenance to your advantage 

It's the third time you've switched the breaker and the lights still aren't turning on. Your next client's appointment is 10 minutes away and you know they're usually 5 minutes early... This scenario is all too real for many business owners, especially the ones that have their hands full day-to-day running their growing practices. 

We understand that stress, and how hard you work to keep everything going.

We see the awards you're winning and the happy clients walking in and out of your doors.

But when was the last time you thought about the doors themselves?

Or the lights for that matter?

While running a business can be a constant juggling act of managing customers and ambitious goals, it's important to realise that there are less exciting or nerve-wracking areas of managing a business that can be just as impactful.

One of the top ones we see is often left untouched: building services maintenance.

If you're not sure exactly what that covers, or what you can do about it, don't worry; we're going to introduce you to the areas you need to strengthen in your physical practice space and what steps you can take to make sure they are as resilient as you are.

The Need-to-Knows

Right, to get started you need to be able to identify these core essentials within your healthcare location: your systems, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, fire safety, electrical, plumbing, water, lifts, security, and lighting, and each of their accompanying functions, such as to ensure the safety, functionality, and comfort of both the building and its occupants, for example. 

Making sure each is checked regularly for availability, efficiency, and fit-to-function, will help you to prevent avoidable issues in the future and be prepared for any you may not see coming.

As neglecting building service maintenance disrupts your business operations, remember that while the tasks associated with them may seem mundane now, not doing them can result in unexpected costs and may close your location for days! 

If loss of income for several days on account of preventable repairs is not enough, you may want to consider prioritizing building service maintenance as one of your top concerns for these reasons too:

Statutory Obligations: Protecting People and the Environment

The bottom line is maintenance is a legal requirement. Statutory obligations dictate that these systems must be regularly maintained to safeguard the well-being of occupants and protect the environment. Complying with these obligations ensures a safe and healthy working environment while mitigating potential legal risks. Moving beyond the bare-minimum requirements for checking your systems, investing in their optimisation can also function as a strong indication to your staff and clients that you are willing to go the extra mile for them; and believe us, they'll notice. You may even want to explore using these in your promotional strategies and chatting to your target audiences about the extra precautions you put in place so they can sit back, relax, and never worry about anything. For reference, think of these maintenance areas like a tiered food hygiene rating you see on a food delivery listing; while it's legally required for the checks to be done, it's not a requirement to shout about how great yours is, though it can help a restaurant bring in more orders if they do have a great score and use it to their advantage to sway customers. Do steal this ideal shamelessly.

Warranty Requirements: Preserving Validity and Peace of Mind

Warranty requirements play a pivotal role here too. Manufacturers often provide warranties for their systems, covering defects in materials or workmanship for a specific period. However, many people don't always realise there's a 'catch.'

What is the catch? 
Maintaining the validity of these warranties. 

If you're not familiar with what that entails, you're not lost either, as the majority of clients we work with don't know fully what they include (many believe this confusion is created on purpose, with the details being structured to prevent too many claims!) 

So to clarify, maintaining the validity of your warranties requires a claimant (you) to adhere to detailed conditions that are specified in the individual warranty itself. These are specific to each item (say an air conditioner or a set of windows) and can include things like proper installation, regular maintenance, and authorized service providers. If the way you choose to maintain a system is different from these requirements, you may accidentally render the warranty void. This means even if you would have otherwise been able to make a claim because you have not maintained the item exactly as directed, you may be responsible for repair costs that would otherwise have been covered.

Smooth Business Operations: Averting Costly Disruptions

Imagine a scorching summer day when the air conditioning system suddenly starts blowing a hot and humid breeze instead of a cool, refreshing one; before you even think about calling in a warranty, you'll want to make sure the maintenance standards of the device were serviced as directed. You can't do this though if you do not know what they are exactly to begin with. If the problem can be at all accredited to lack of maintenance (like we warned of in the last section) then your warranty provider may not be as helpful as you would hope, and this could leave your staff and clients sweltering and sweaty. Making sure you know the criteria for maintenance on your specific essential systems can make sure your operations continue well, and the operations of the service provider looking to back up your warranty can too. 

Let's talk about being proactive with your contracts, as being reactive can come with a heap of costs and anxiety

Nobody likes extra bills, though setting up those building services maintenance contracts you've most likely been referred to may be just the kind of service that actually saves you cash in the long run, and brings along with it several benefits. Servicing contracts can ensure compliance with statutory obligations, warranty requirements, and less unplanned operational downtime, while also allowing for accurate budgeting by incorporating all repair and maintenance costs. 

Fundamentally, having your core contracts for these in place can eliminate unexpected financial surprises. 

How come, you ask?
Because monthly costs can be allocated accordingly, ensuring financial stability.  

Furthermore, a good contract facilitates strategic planning for staged replacements of equipment, preventing sudden failures and disruptions. 

By proactively maintaining essential building systems, you can gain peace of mind, financial predictability, and the assurance of a well-maintained establishment that operates efficiently. In effect, this means you may have more time to invest your own time in areas of your business that only you can address and see a higher ROI on your time. 

If you're not sure where to start or how to spot a great contract, we're happy to give you some points to look out for.

Generally speaking, a maintenance contract will take care of the following: 

1. A Maintenance Plan: The contract will outline its direction, going over how the maintenance schedule will operate, and when each particular part is likely to take place, to create a comprehensive overview of the specific tasks and schedules for each building service.

2. Schedule Regular Inspections: Leading on from the maintenance itself, a contract can help keep you informed so you can schedule routine inspections to complete maintenance activities and checks throughout your slow and busy periods as needed. 

3. Maintain Records: A sturdy contract will leave a trace and can help you record all maintenance activities and inspections. This documentation will be valuable for compliance purposes and may also be required for insurance or legal purposes down the line, should anything ever go wrong.

To take advantage of the benefits offered by maintenance contracts, consider these steps:

- Choose a reputable maintenance service provider with a track record of reliable service.

- Negotiate contract terms that align with your specific maintenance needs and budget.

- Ensure the contract covers all critical building service systems and components.

- Regularly review and update the contract to accommodate any changes in your business.

But remember, determining responsibility depends on your lease agreement, whether it falls on the landlord, the tenant, or is shared, so understanding the lease terms and maintenance obligations is crucial to avoid any unpleasant financial surprises. 

Final thoughts:

Protecting your business from unexpected expenses should not be overlooked, especially in seemingly boring topics like building service maintenance, as neglecting it can lead to avoidable problems that disrupt your operations and drain your resources. If you need more inspiration, just envision that expensive gorgeous holiday you've been wanting to go on or that new high-tech update for your business you've been fantasising about... now imagine them both gone. For the price you may one day have to pay down the line for ignoring building services, you could be doing either of those two things instead.

We know which of the two we would choose.

Do you still need a bit of advice? Let us help you stay afloat by setting up a maintenance contract with a trusted advisor. We'll take care of the technicalities so you can focus on what you do best: growing your business, pleasing your customers, and achieving your goals. Just get in contact with us and we'll walk you through the process.

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