Building maintenance: contracts vs once-off projects

Building maintenance - Contracts vs once-off projects - LinkedIn

Once-off projects

Contacting a service provider on a case-by-case basis can work in your favour, depending on your management style and properties’ demands. But the freedom of using contractors for once-off projects could also leave you unnecessarily out of pocket. Here’s a quick overview of how once-off projects can help or hinder you:

The Pros

  • Contracting a number of different building maintenance companies for once-off projects can be a good way to test out potential long-term partnerships. You’ll get a real feel for what it’s like to work with them, and judge first hand if the finished product was value for money. 
  • If you’re faced with an emergency repair and don’t have a regular service provider, a once-off project can be a lifesaver! After all, signing long-term contracts shouldn’t be considered when you’re faced with a building maintenance emergency.
  • Pairing your in-house team with a series of contractors working on once-off projects can give them a great feel for what a long-term partnership may be like. If you’re considering a long-term contract, there’s no need to rush — get your team to “review” each contractor's work and the experience of working with them.  

The Cons

  • Initially, once-off projects can seem like a good way to keep costs down but this is a false economy. Without a trusted building maintenance company as a partner, you may easily fall behind on your maintenance schedule, overlook proactive maintenance that needs doing — leading to more expensive fixes or emergency repairs in the long run. You may also lose out on discounts available on retainers.
  • An unknown contractor working on a once-off project may be a fly-by-night risk. They may disappear before the work is 100% complete, or you may not be able to trace them if you need to report faulty work that’s still under guarantee. There is a balance though, and you may find a building maintenance company that offers the freedom of once-off projects with the guarantees of a long-term contract. Find out how we do things at First Response when it comes to building maintenance

Building maintenance contracts

With building maintenance contracts, the pros far outway the cons. Here’s how a long-term service partnership can help or hinder you.

The Pros

  • When it comes to budgeting, long-term building maintenance contracts have one major advantage over once-off projects — their effect on your budget. Proactive maintenance can save you tens of thousands of dollars, as staying ahead of what eventually could become major repairs helps prevent unplanned or emergency procedures. When emergency response and repairs can end up costing thousands of dollars (and surprise you at awkward times!), preventing them through proactive maintenance can be the single biggest way you keep costs down. 
  • Signing up for a preventative maintenance schedule also makes financial planning easier. While once-off projects may seem to have the lower price tag, as you “only pay for what you need”, this can be a false economy: a building maintenance contract builds in preventative maintenance that keeps costs lower in the long run. 
  • In the same way, they guarantee you emergency support when you need it. While they minimise the likelihood of emergencies happening at all, they also save you the time and worry of sourcing and comparing quotes from different companies when all you want is to get that leak or roof fixed! 
  • The legal and financial risks of long-term building maintenance contracts are much lower. Working with a reputable building maintenance company, on a long-term contract, will ensure you get quality work that’s guaranteed — as you’re both aware you’ll be working together for some time. Outsourcing your building maintenance work also helps mitigate legal risks you’d otherwise assume if using your in-house team. Keep in mind that a company of licensed tradesmen would carry the legal risk for the job and come with all necessary insurance in place. 

The Cons

  • You may feel locked-in to one service provider, to the exclusion of other possibilities. This may not be the case though! Check your contract for cancellation or renewals clauses, and to see how work done by alternative companies may affect guarantees on work done by your usual service provider in the area concerned. You may find you have more flexibility than first anticipated, and can try out new companies for smaller or more specialist work without jeopardising your standing arrangement.
  • This could be a pro or con depending on your preference, but signing a building maintenance contract does mean you’ll develop a long-term relationship with your contractor. Over the year(s), they’ll get to know your property and work preferences better, and you’ll also become familiar with their approach and their team. This could be an advantage, but you may prefer to keep relationships more transactional.

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Guide to First Response Maintenance Services


When to turn a once-off project into a building maintenance contract

Maintaining your property means making some tough decisions, but how to keep up with building maintenance needn’t be one of them. Some companies, like First Response, gladly offer once-off help as well as working on long-term service retainers.

At First Response, we understand that your unique situation demands a tailor-made solution — and what matters is what’s best for your property. Sometimes that will be a quick once-off emergency fix, and other times that will be a preventative maintenance schedule. Contact the team and get a free, no obligation quote for your next project, or to explore whether a long-term building maintenance contract may suit your needs.  

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