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Small Business Digest



Small Businesses Can Save by Outsourcing Coordination of Building-Maintenance Services

Keeping a commercial building operating smoothly often requires the expertise of a plumber, an electrician or a carpenter to troubleshoot - and repair - nagging issues before they get out of hand.

But for many building owners and managers, having a half-dozen trained professionals on staff to oversee one facility is an expense that can't be supported.

Troy Norberg, general manager of Tru-Serve, a facilities-maintenance company in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, says hiring an outsourced contractor eliminates the need for an extensive payroll and working with vendors who may not be available when you need them.

More times than not, we are less expensive and more efficient than using a separate plumber, electrician or carpenter,” says Norberg. “Our professionals can come into a facility at one time to do the work of all those vendors.”

Outsourcing lets owners and managers control operating costs, trim down capital expenses and reduce the need to hire and train onsite staff. In addition, the outsourced company can easily change as the needs for facilities maintenance change — either an increase or a reduction in trained professionals.

For example, at Tru-Serve, Norberg says, the contractors are qualified to provide day-to-day facility maintenance along with preventative maintenance on machines and equipment. Contractors can also substitute for a facility’s permanent employees who are either vacationing or ill.

Along with project management, Tru-Serve also provides services in remodeling and repairs, plumbing, HVAC maintenance and cleaning.

But Norberg advises that not every facilities-maintenance company has the right qualifications. A competent outsourced contractor is efficient; has qualified professionals doing the work; has flexibility and a range of services; has an inspection and documentation process; and has a proven service record backed by solid references.

“Keeping good records and caring about the quality of the work will go a long way in maintaining facilities and equipment,” Norberg says. “The outsourced contractor who is competent and reliable will have good references. Be sure to check them.”

Tru-Serve provides facility-maintenance needs to healthcare, residential, commercial and nonprofit industries in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The company also specializes in other comprehensive services, such as compliance with safety, fire and building access; a check of gauges, sensors and time clocks to ensure automated services are working correctly; and interior and exterior repairs and cleaning.

Because maintenance tends to be left until repairs are needed, Tru-Serve also has a preventative-maintenance planning service that helps facilities stay on top of maintenance, control costs, conserve energy and reduce down time.

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