If you manage facilities for a retail chain with stores located throughout the country, how are you hiring contractors to service HVAC and other critical building systems in each location? What’s your process?
It seems like a simple question. But when we at CLS Facility Services pose it to our current and potential clients, we often hear many of the same answers:
- Yellow Pages.
Resources like these are okay as a starting point. But big money is on the line when you account for the maintenance and repair of hundreds or even thousands of HVAC units and systems in different geographies. You should know who’s doing the work. What are their qualifications? Are they trustworthy? Are they accountable? Are they even licensed and insured to do the work in the first place?
It’s a tough proposition, made even tougher when the stores and locations really start adding up. Thankfully, there is a better way – at CLS, we call it QC Logic®, a proprietary solution that helps quality control (QC) third-party contractors to help ensure that they are trusted, capable and accountable.
In our last post, we referred back to “The 13 Questions to Ask a National HVAC Services Provider” that we posted in a three-part blog series in May 2014. We’re referring you to that post again because it focuses on the very questions that CLS’ QC Logic® addresses.
QC Logic® is a four-stage solution. Here’s how it works:
Stage One: Initial Evaluation
When it comes time to hire a third-party HVAC vendor in any of your given markets, we at CLS grab the reigns and undertake a systematic, thoughtful evaluation process on your behalf, similar to a typical employee hiring process. We ask the vendor for his/their resume. We ask for a copy of their license in order to verify that they’re insured properly. We ask for references.
If a provider measures up at this first stage, then we offer them a small quantity of our client’s work at the outset, and we carefully gauge their performance in the delivery of that work. This means we watch their response time – how quickly their quotes arrive, whether they show up to scheduled appointments on time, and how efficiently they work while on site – and we also solicit feedback on them from the store manager on their presence, and their work. If that vendor continues to perform well, then they will continue to earn a greater percentage of our client’s work, and as long as they continue to do a great job, that volume will continue to build.
Stage Two: HVAC Contractor Quote Evaluation
In the second stage of QC Logic®, we evaluate the quotes you receive from the vendors we screen during stage one. Once we’ve hired contractors in given markets, those contractors will be sending you quotes for preventive maintenance (PM) and repairs. Without digging deeper, or without sufficient industry expertise at your disposal, it’s difficult to know whether or not those quotes represent the best possible costs for the work.
In stage-two of QC Logic®, CLS’s certified HVAC technicians – CLS employees – review and evaluate any work quotes that come in. In cases where we perceive potential issues, we will contact vendors and question those issues, whether they be the cost of a compressor or the number of hours estimated. In stage two, we act on our client’s behalf – we question the quote, and the labor and the material cost in order to determine what’s fair and accurate.
Stage Three: Third-Party HVAC Contractor Audits
As valuable as stages one and two are, stage three of QC Logic® is unique in the industry: third party audits. At this stage in the process, we’re confident that we hired the best possible vendor for you, our client – we took our time, and we interviewed and investigated them thoroughly. We’ve also been watching them on the job, and they’re doing pretty good work so far. Yet even at this point, they’re still not completely “our” guy just yet. The only way to really validate the quality of their service is to look at the service that they actually provide.
Therefore, we audit our key contractors on a regular basis. If they just performed a large repair, or a normal PM, then we photograph the work – just to make sure that they changed the filter that they were supposed to change during the PM; that they replaced the old compressor that may have been scheduled for replacement; that they cleaned up the area after they finished their work; and so on.
Stage Four: Vendor Scorecard
Finally, we take information and data from the three first stages of QC Logic®, and we process it in order to develop a scorecard for every vendor. Scorecard components include:
- How quickly the vendor sends quotes in, and how accurate they are;
- How many of their quotes are approved;
- How quickly they respond to emergency calls;
- Intangibles – were they polite and presentable; did they check in and out properly?
We then share our scorecard with its corresponding vendor. Our message to them: “If you keep a high score on your scorecard, then we’ll give you a steady flow of our client’s (translation: your) work. You won’t need to worry about a competitor undercutting you by a few dollars per hour on this particular client. We’ll turn to you if you keep a high score, which means treating our clients like we want you to. If you don’t treat them well, then you’ll lose business.”
It’s as simple as that – QC Logic® helps us do everything that we possibly can do to ensure that our client gets what they pay for.
The HVAC industry is driven enormously by cost – it’s one of the most cost-competitive industries we can think of. One provider just cannot charge much more than other or he’ll eventually be undercut and lose the business. All things being equal, then, wouldn’t you rather do business with a company that undertakes a solution like QC Logic® in order to minimize your headaches and your problems, as opposed to a company that doesn’t?
We hope you found our two QC Logic® posts informative and thought provoking. If you’d like to learn more, we would welcome the chance to start a discussion. Until then, please call us at 800-548-3542 to learn more about CLS’s facility services, including national HVAC, electrical, lighting, plumbing and project management.