“Be very clear on what pests are covered and what is outside the scope,” says Vance. “That way the provider isn’t trying
to build in additional money in case of extra pests that they
might have to cover, even if they may never show up in a certain client’s geography – instead, those extra billable charges
are only added when a rare pest is present. Sometimes, in their
enthusiasm to be all-inclusive, a company will include every
pest under the sun in their scope of work. When providers see
it, they say ‘What allowances will I have to make in case I have
to treat for a gopher, skunk, or feral cat?’ Realistically narrowing the covered pest list makes more sense for both sides.”
2) Reduce Daily Tasks
Small savings on daily requirements frequently add up faster
than cutting out one higher-priced item, Bartell explains: “If you
have expensive quarterly or semiannual projects, such as floor
refinishing, cutting out one of those could save $1,000. However,
if you reduce the daily cost by just $10 over 260 days, you can
save more than two and a half times what you would have saved
by eliminating the major cost. The real savings is in daily tasks.”
Services such as cleaning involve scores of small tasks that
can be customized, Bartell adds. Request a detailed list of
tasks and their frequency to give you a good starting point for
Bartell also recommends enlisting the help of building occupants to determine where cuts can be made – for example,
employees can dust their own desks and computer screens
instead of relying on the janitorial staff to do it. This also helps
cleaners use smaller quantities of cleaning supplies, leading to
fewer containers and wipes heading to the landfill.
“The one I always point to is the trash can. Is the can in your
office full to the brim every night? The answer is almost always
no. So why are we emptying it every day and throwing away
usable liners when we could empty it twice a week instead?” explains Bartell. “Another task that takes a long time is vacuuming.
Could we vacuum the reception area and the conference room
where you have meetings every day, but only vacuum general
Faced with budget cuts, the last thing most FMs want to do is slash their provided service levels. Unfortunately, as material costs continue to rise, sometimes that may
become necessary. If you’re outsourcing any building services, enlist those providers to help cut costs when it’s time to
renegotiate contracts – they may be able to help you secure
savings without sacrificing sustainability.
“The best thing to do is just ask,” says Ken Bartell, vice
1) Clarify the Scope of Work
president of enterprise solutions for ServiceMaster, a janito-
rial provider. “That’s happened with many customers. They
say ‘We’ve got to cut costs, so how can we do it?’ Providing
that your current vendor is doing a good job, they know the
building’s idiosyncrasies and its tenants or employees, so they
can help you decide what the resistance might be on changing
certain aspects of service.”
Try these six cost-saving ideas to find contract savings while
preserving your green operational goals.
The services in your contract should be based on the risks
of your particular facility, explains Michele Vance, vice president of commercial sales for Terminix, a pest control provider.
With pest control, for example, providers can consider your
geographic location, the type of building you have, and any
sanitary or structural issues that could contribute to pest problems and tailor a program to your building.
“Break the building into high-risk and low-risk areas. Rest-
rooms, anywhere that has food, and areas involved in shipping
and receiving should be serviced more often than lower-risk
spots like individual offices or equipment areas,” says Vance.
“Pests tend to be more present on the lower levels of build-
ings, so the higher up you go, you could in theory reduce the
frequency of services to help lower the overall price without
Work with your provider to create a scope of work that
addresses the real risks instead of going with a boilerplate ver-
sion that addresses every possible occurrence, Vance adds. Err
on the side of detail so that no questions are left unanswered.
6 Ways to Cut Service Contract Costs
Find savings opportunities while keeping operations green