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The ‘Gold Standard’ for Vendor Sourcing & Procurement
Everybody Has Preferred Vendors, But There Will Come a Time, for One Reason or Another, When You’ll Need to Add More Vendors to Your Roster
By Emiel Bril | Other articles by Emiel Bril
With so many vendors out there, it can be hard to decide who would be a good fit for your property. Not all companies are created equal, and you want to be sure that you’re choosing the best company when you’re considering letting them bid on your annual or one-off contracts.
There are some standard ideas when it comes to the procurement process, and we will look at those here. But just as important, we will take a look at some additional things that should be taken into consideration when adding vendors to your preferred list.
To start, let’s get into the standard things that you should be looking for when choosing a new vendor.
Ask For Recommendations
The first step when looking for a vendor is to do your due diligence and complete some simple research online. A quick google search will find you everything you need, do they have a website? Reviews? Existing clients?
Another option, if you can, is to ask other property managers in your area if they have any preferred vendors that they could recommend. Or if there is a directory that has reviews and comments, this can be very helpful when it comes to initially picking vendors for a chance to work with you.
Hire a Licensed & Insured Company
When it comes to liability, a property management company must supervise renovations, construction and maintenance intently. If anything were to happen due to negligence on a job, the property management company can be held liable.
Make sure that the vendor that you are working with is licensed (if applicable) in your area. Some cities require specific licensing to work within their jurisdiction. Along with licensing you will want to ensure that they have an insurance policy appropriate for the undertaking and a bond if required. This will need to be enough to cover any damage to the property, as well as any injuries that could happen on site. In other words you will need to make sure that these companies are compliant, and you will want proof of their license and a copy of their insurance claim for your records.
Also making sure that they follow standard health and safety practices are important. Are they WSIB certified? Do they have a set of standard procedures and do they always take every precaution they can? Having insurance is the minimum, and necessary, but you will want to
further mitigate any risk by seeing what policies they have in place for the safety of tenants as well as their workers. As the saying goes “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Typically for a vendor to complete their job to the standard that we would expect they have to have some experience under their belt. While this isn’t always the case, because everyone has to start somewhere, it can definitely give peace of mind when awarding a contract.
Before hiring anyone, or even sending out an RFQ, make sure to check a company’s credibility and qualifications to determine how much experience they have. Do they hold any industry certifications? Any extra training or qualifications that make them stand apart from their competitors? Take a look through their website or online reviews, see if they have a list of current or past customers, you can usually find some pictures of past work during this as well.
Consider Your Budget
While budget is absolutely important and is something to work within, price shouldn’t be the driving factor when making a decision on a vendor.
When it comes down to dollars you can look at this two ways, first as the price, and second as the value. At first glance these can be seen as the same thing, but when you dive into it they have some major differences. In the world price is arbitrary, and value is fundamental. For example, you can get two quotes back for annual landscaping at $10,000, the price here for both companies is just that, $10,000. However the value can be very different, company one is a brand new startup with no previous customers, where the second company is an established business with 20 years experience and a list of high profile customers. It can be said that the perceived value for company two is much higher than company one.
‘Gold Standard’ Considerations
Although the standard considerations cover the basics of the work itself, there are more nuanced aspects that you can choose to consider when sourcing a vendor.
Whether they realize it or not, businesses are inextricably linked to environmental sustainability. A wide range of building maintenance services–including facilities management, property management, cleaning and janitorial services, and pest control–can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Establishing green initiatives in your building maintenance plan is an excellent way to earn points with the U.N.’s Green Economy initiative, reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment, as well as improve the quality of life of your employees and tenants. As you look for building maintenance vendors who can help you develop these initiatives, here are some green considerations to keep in mind when choosing your partner.
Building Maintenance Certifications There are a number of green certifications that building maintenance vendors can earn. To make sure your vendors’ green initiative is legitimate, check for accreditation from: The Green Business Certification Inc., or e-Standards and Certifications Institute (eSCI). Also, ask if their products contain recycled materials and if they use non-toxic chemicals. Remember— the more you know about how your vendor works toward sustainability, the better chance you have at creating an ecofriendly building!
Follow the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals, as agreed upon by all member states of the United Nations in 2015, are an agenda for global development. Follow them religiously to hire building maintenance vendors that support your green initiatives. In order to achieve these goals, countries worldwide must cut their carbon emissions and green their economies—all while providing a high quality of life for its citizens. Clearly, there’s much more at stake than just paper-pushing or hitting quarterly targets! As you’re reading this, you may be wondering what you can do to help reach these lofty goals. The first step is hiring building maintenance vendors that align with sustainable practices.
Though you can’t necessarily control what your vendors do in their day-to-day operations, you can weigh their commitment to environmental sustainability when deciding who to use for building maintenance. It’s important to understand that not all vendors will be able to meet every green initiative, so it’s up to you and your team to prioritize and choose wisely based on your company’s priorities and resources.
From political figures to commercial building owners, social responsibility is on everyone’s mind. But what does it mean to be socially responsible? And how does this impact the average business owner? In its essence, social responsibility means that individuals and companies have a duty to act in the best interests of their environment and society as a whole. You can make sure your business is doing its part by hiring vendors that are socially responsible. These vendors aren’t only doing what they can to help the community, but they are also adding to your building’s social responsibility initiatives.
Does It Really Matter?
Yes, it really does matter. Your organization’s well-being depends on a long list of factors— some of which are out of your control. But one thing you can control is who provides your business with goods and services. Why not support those organizations that share your values? A socially responsible vendor will treat you as more than just another source of income; they’ll invest time in understanding your business.
They have a stake in making sure your success is tied to theirs. This makes them more engaged and committed to quality, service, and meeting deadlines – something every organization wants from its vendors.
How Can I Tell if They Are Socially Responsible?
You can usually find information about whether a company is socially responsible in one of two places: on their website or on their social media accounts.
If they have an About Us section on their website, look there for mentions of social responsibility. Most companies are proud to promote that they’re doing good work in these areas, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
It would also be worth looking at their corporate and CEO/founder’s social media accounts—that’s often where many companies get involved with promoting their brand and offering glimpses into how they operate. In some cases, you might even get a bit of insight into what kind of company culture they have, which can give you some clues as to how things might go if you worked with them.
Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Diversity and inclusion are important not only because they’re essential for a workplace that supports people from all backgrounds but also because they’re good for business. Diversity increases engagement, leads to greater innovation, and increases retention by improving employee wellbeing. If your company is committed to hiring diverse talent, it can seem daunting to find a vendor partner who shares your values. But doing so is well worth it—not only for your business, but also for society as a whole.
Overall Company Alignment
It’s safe to say when it comes to hiring your building’s vendors, there are many questions to consider. Do they have safety training? Is their staff wellqualified? What about how they treat clients? And then there’s that one question that often gets left out of consideration: Are these people good for our community?
Vendors should not be selected solely on price and standard considerations. Understanding a vendor’s company wide initiatives like environmental and social responsibility will help align your goals and create a mutually beneficial partnership.