By Sierra Stonich
If you are a property owner or manager whose portfolio includes properties with elevators and/or escalators, you have most likely experienced some level of frustration with your maintenance, repairs, invoices, or your contract, and if you haven’t – consider yourself lucky! While it’s true that elevators are dynamic pieces of equipment that require a baseline of technical knowledge so the equipment runs optimally, once you’ve hired an elevator maintenance company, you shouldn’t have to be an elevator expert to get quality routine service and honest repairs and invoices.
Unfortunately, lots of property managers and owners are frequently frustrated, confused, or overwhelmed. To help, here are AuditMate’s Top Three Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Elevators:
- Don’t assume you are receiving all the preventative maintenance outlined in your contract. If your contract states “monthly” or “quarterly” service, make sure you have a method for tracking the technician’s visits so you can hold your vendor accountable if visits are missed. It can also be beneficial to keep records for the duration of the maintenance visits, so you know if the technician was onsite for 15 minutes or 2 hours. The benefit of keeping these records include:
- Having back-up documentation to contest/support expensive callbacks or repairs that may have been prevented by more consistent preventative maintenance
- Having records that outline the quality of service you’re receiving so you know if you should continue using your vendor when your contract renewal period is up
- Ensuring you can track your code-required testing and timely completion of outstanding inspection/correction items
If your current contract states “periodically” as your service interval, your equipment is open to significant lack of preventative maintenance, and you should work with your vendor to renegotiate a defined maintenance interval, so your equipment is better protected, and your property is less exposed to liability issues from lack of proper maintenance/testing.
- Don’t assume that your invoices are correct. Review all charges for accuracy before you pay. At AuditMate, every customer invoice goes through our rigorous auditing software to ensure our customers are paying only what they owe. So, when you receive an invoice from your elevator vendor, make sure you check the billing rates for the technician and the travel time, the reason for the invoice, and any “special” charges. You may notice you have been over-charged for the hourly labor because your contract has special billing rates, or that the service is something that should be covered under your contract terms. You may also notice erroneous charges for “expenses” that are above and beyond the travel time and labor that should be contested. Pay close attention to the details here and you may save yourself some money. Elevator companies are notorious for sending out invoices that are incorrect or that shouldn’t be sent at all.
- Don’t assume every repair or upgrade proposal is legitimate. The best thing you can do as a customer is understand that not every repair/upgrade proposal you receive will be something you NEED to buy. This part can be tricky. Elevator companies must sell repairs and upgrades to meet their sales goals so they will constantly propose repairs/upgrades to customers. Sometimes, customers even receive repair/upgrade proposals for items that are already covered in their contract. So, check your contract first. Check your repair coverages. THEN decide how to proceed. There will be times when your expensive repair is something you will need to pay for – but by having a system for validating your maintenance visits, vendor invoices, and repair proposals, you can prevent your company for paying too much for services you should already be receiving from you contract.
Here at AuditMate, we KNOW how tough it can be to make sure you are getting fair service at a fair price. We also know that tracking the maintenance performed, auditing invoices, and approving or rejecting repair and upgrade proposals is time consuming! That’s why we consistently save our clients 75% of the time they spend managing their elevator vendor.
If you would like to have all this information, and MORE, in ONE portal with real-time updates, all your account history, and your contracts, contact AuditMate to learn more. Our mission is to empower owners with data-driven auditing products to radically simplify your vendor management.
We also know that every elevator is unique, so please reach out if you have any services issues, expensive repair proposals, or an unresponsive vendor. We are happy to help you understand your options, so your equipment stays healthy.