Facility managers are responsible for handling all aspects of repair operations, all the way down to where the repair labor will come from. The decision to use either in-house staff or to hire outside contractors should not be made lightly, as it can have far-reaching impact on budgets, maintenance schedules and quality of repairs. When it comes time to process work for building maintenance, there are a few things that a facility manager should keep in mind before making the decision to hire out or keep it internal.
Obviously, one of the main considerations facing a facility manager in such a situation is balancing cost. Outside contractors may represent an additional cost, but they also remove the necessity of ensuring your staff is equipped with the proper tools, equipment and parts to do the job. Another factor that may affect cost is somewhat less obvious. In an article for the American Public Works Association, Joe Sisler writes that independent contractors are first and foremost profit-motivated. Though certainly not true of all or even most contractors, it's not unheard of for corners to be cut despite the premium costs being paid to do the job.
It's important that you ensure the building maintenance is done properly, both to prevent future occurrences as well as the need for costly follow-up visits. While quality can be a tough thing to measure offhand, in general, a facility manager will have cultivated a staff that is thorough and skilled. More importantly, Mr. Sisler pointed out that in-house staff have one thing that contractors don't - a vested interested in the ongoing health of the building. Unlike a third party who performs repairs and then may very well never set foot in the building again, in-house staff members are responsible for dealing with building maintenance concerns on a daily basis. Thus, not doing the best possible job the first time is really only making more work for themselves later down the line.
Unlike an outside contractor, your own staff may be juggling several maintenance duties at once. Especially in larger facilities, keeping a regular preventative maintenance schedule is a complex and time consuming process that must be rigidly adhered to to keep everything running as it should. One thing to keep in mind is whether diverting in-house staff to cover a repair will siphon necessary manpower away from other previously scheduled tasks. Fortunately, this juggling act can be mitigated with an integrated CMMS, such as MaintenanceEdge from FacilityDude, which helps track all outstanding work orders and upcoming repairs.