Is a Facility Maintenance RFP the Most Ideal Strategy to Onboard a Partner and Vet Pricing?

The facility maintenance industry — like many other markets — has experienced tremendous transition, turnover, and cost increases in recent years. Inevitably, businesses are concerned with vendor reliability, consistency, fair pricing, and true partnership when it comes to selecting ideal facility service providers for their HVAC, electrical, plumbing, signage, LED projects, and energy needs.

While the facility maintenance RFP and RFQ format has traditionally been the method for vetting pricing and potential new partners, it creates a tremendous amount of work for all parties involved. What are some of the challenges that an RFP can create?

6 Challenges in Formatting, Executing, and Evaluating a Facility Maintenance RFP

  1. Response Complexity — Procurement teams must spend significant amounts of time creating a properly-formatted, detailed facility maintenance RFP which meets the needs of their company and simultaneously accomplishes what the facility maintenance department is looking for as well. Learn more about the challenges that go into creating facility maintenance RFPs here.
  2. Vendor Selection — Both the procurement team and the facility maintenance team must go through a process of vetting vendors who they wish to participate in their RFP and achieve a commitment from those vendors to participate.
  3. Vendor Burden — To complete an RFP thoroughly and competitively, vendors must utilize a significant amount of time and resources to build customized pricing models, gather detailed information, complete lengthy questionnaires, and assure the documentation is all completed in full.
  4. Vague or Misleading Intent — Vendors oftentimes feel that regardless of their team experience, added value, strong network, and detailed reporting, the RFP will either result in pricing that factors in a large percentage of the selected company, or that the partner was merely vetting pricing and had no intention of making a vendor change as a result of the RFP.
  5. Response Reviews — The procurement and facilities teams must spend hours reviewing RFP responses, evaluating dozens — perhaps hundreds — of different answers to key questions, as well as varying pricing models.
  6. Communication Barriers — Oftentimes, communication between RFP creator and RFP participant is limited to email and electronic entry, further eliminating verbal and face-to-face communication and interaction.

Help your team out: Download our helpful five-step checklist for creating successful RFPs.

What are Alternative Facility Maintenance Options to the RFP Format?

While the facility maintenance RFP format offers formal details and written responses, a more informal RFP can often foster stronger results with more detail and stronger feedback. It also allows the RFP creator to more visibly see how potential facility maintenance vendors can customize a business model that best meets what the creator was looking for. While coordinating schedules to conduct virtual meetings may at times be tricky, a 15 to 30 minute call with a prospective facility maintenance services partner may paint a much more accurate picture of what onboarding a new vendor partner entails.

6 Advantages of a Non-Formal RFP Approach in Evaluating New Facility Maintenance Service Partners

  1. Process Efficiency — Having companies submit an easy-to-read, time-friendly one-page summary of “why would you be our ideal vendor partner” can help businesses to quickly narrow down a top five vendor candidate list without having to read through lengthy RFP responses or spend hours building the perfect formal RFP.
  2. Pricing Integrity — Requesting pricing from companies in their standard format allows businesses to see the level of effort and detail companies demonstrate in building their pricing, avoiding hidden fees, and providing needs. Follow-up questions can always be asked if the business feels the information is lacking.
  3. Stronger Partnerships — Setting up a formal 15 to 30 minute virtual call with the prospective vendor allows companies to meet the people they’d potentially work with, have a stronger idea of how important the business is to the (potential) vendor based upon who attends, and to have integral back-and-forth interaction to get questions answered in the moment.
  4. Upfront Clarity — The vendor can paint a picture of the onboarding process and demonstrate their experience. RFPs often result in vendors and businesses having an onboarding call after the RFP winner is selected, leading to disappointment in the start of a new partnership.
  5. Clear Expectations — Facilities teams can verbally express their pain points, new provider goals, and company initiatives to potential vendors via face-to-face interaction. Businesses can eliminate — and further pre-qualify — vendors as potential fits based upon their trust in the people they speak with and their answers, as opposed to written responses to many questions.
  6. Better Onboarding — Face-to-face virtual calls may allow a business to more comfortably onboard multiple partners, create pilot programs and test phases, and further diversify their vendor network and options.

No matter what format a company selects in vetting pricing, in new potential vendors, and in creating change, that process is a tedious and time-consuming one for all parties involved. With procurement and facility maintenance teams being cognizant of their time and resources more than ever, making sure to select the correct vendor partners is integral. Strong back-and-forth, time-friendly interaction with prospective vendors will ultimately yield the best results.

As a nationwide aggregator, we partner with companies in multiple industries to help them proactively manage their facility maintenance needs and solve their most pressing challenges. We emphasize the more informal approach to ensure we’re able to best understand the expectations and requirements of a facility maintenance RFP and determine if we’re the best candidate to participate.

We’d be happy to discuss an upcoming RFP you may be considering and explain our capabilities so you’re fully aware of how we stand above the competition. Connect with us today to get started.