Contract sweepers can get more work but often at less margin by teaming with national service providers.
Remain positive. "I understand that the immediate reaction can be negative toward the management company and/or the larger provider that's picking up the service," says Dentco's Kevin Dent. "It's important contractors recognize that their customer is the one who made the decision to centralize the process. Contractors need to see our great potential to them and continue to provide the best service because they will grow through us if they are meeting the specs regarding the service and scope."
Know what you expect from the relationship, communicate your expectations to the NSP, and be satisfied when those expectations are met.
Be realistic about the work you can and can't do. Don't over-commit as far as a geographic area goes.
Be aware of all reporting requirements. Manage your business well enough to handle the paperwork NSPs require.
Be aware of all licensing and insurance requirements; make sure to comply with them. Don't balk if you need to add an NSP to your policy.
Operate and maintain professional equipment. Have backups.
Respond in a timely fashion to your NSP contact. "View us as a customer," says one NSP. "Respond to us like you would your other customers."
See a potential for growth. "Don't just see us as taking away some margin on an individual account," says Bob Steinhagen, U.S. Maintenance.
Do your research. Check with naPSa, the Better Business Bureau, obtain a "reverse reference list" of sweeping contractors — and use it.
Learn the billing schedule. If you are following procedures and there is a change in the payment process find out why.
Provide quality service at a fair price. "We can never have enough good contractors," Dent says.
Know the contract on each job; do the work the contract demands.
Follow the contract. If the NSP says to do work different than the contract reads, find out the reason for the change. Get the directive in writing.
Get to know the local property manager. Though you aren't bidding to him you are working for him and he might have to approve your work.
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