National Service Providers

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
I'd like to open up a discussion about National Service Companies.

Recently Chris lost a bid to a local PM. Shortly afterwards he got a call from an NSP who told him they got the account and wanted to hire him to do the work.

He told them to take a flying leap.

To me that's like a man screwing your wife, then calling you for help because he can't make her #$%.

Most of these companies know zero about powerwashing.

Unfortunately many of us, myself included, have fallen for the lure of easy accounts. Some of us are still under obligation of a commitment to these companies.

Is it time we took a different stance and started refusing work altogether from these companies?

Wait for a manager signature, call in, log in, wait for a work order, wait for a check.....the list of junk we have to go through for discounted rates is endless.

Why are we working for internet sales companies that know nothing about FREQUENT cleaning, REGULAR scheduling of cleaning, or even how to price our services?

Why are we allowing them to destroy our market?

It was a little more acceptable when they were only doing national accounts like Petsmart, Walmart or other such national retailers. But now, on our backs, they've made enough money to go after local property managers. What's next? Local government contracts? House washes? Why do we keep funding these guys?

Here is a case study from PRSM's own blog showing that retailers are slowly starting to realize the it is much more effective to keep maintenance on a local level. My personal opinion is this information is how we win back our local market.

Case Study 2 – Developing the right vendor service model: Continue with the outsourced team or bring the operation back in-house?

This fashion retailer it was dissatisfied with its third-party, outsourced service provider for maintenance needs across its numerous UK stores:
a. Poor visibility and lack of control.

b. Inflexible agreements.

c. Excessive costs.

As a result, the retailer initiated a program to bring facilities management/administration back “in-house” to:
a. Gain transparency of costs and services.

b. Increase flexibility – using specialists vs. a single vendor.

c. Align suppliers with business goals and needs.

d. Improve rapport with store personnel.

After nine months the retailer reported better relationships between FM operations and store management, appropriate expertise and knowledge levels with its vendors, more accountability across the entire value chain and an estimated 20 percent future costs savings.
 

danwagner

New member
In my somewhat limited experience with NSPs, they generally don't, as you said, have a real handle on much of anything. I've stated numerous times that NEST was horrible to deal with in every conceivable way and I 'divorced' them a few years ago.
I would totally participate and support a boycott on NSP participation when it is obviously a benefit to do so.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
Do you think we should start an educational campaign showing the benefits of going local?

By the time the company's dollar reaches the sidewalk it's worth less than 50 cents.

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Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
I don't think there will ever be a national boycott. The money just looks too good to new guys. But it usually doesn't add up.

Chris was doing $10-13k per month with one but after all the underpayments and costs making him do things outside his route he was only netting between $3-4k. He just had to let it go. Now it looks like most of them aren't getting cleaned.

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Vince Wood

New member
I have a NSP I work for. They want before and after pictures, call in, call out, get this signed, do this and do that. I finally tacked on an additional $35 charge for "administrative fees". They pay it and haven't heard a complaint yet about the additional charge.
 

Jeff Robison

New member
Every one I have worked for sucked. Too many details, late payments, resending paperwork etc. My brother in law plowed snow at a truck terminal for 15 years, they went with a national provider who then recontracted it out to him at 61% of what he used to get it for. He said he now gives them about 61% of the service that he used to!!! For him and this one instance it was worth it, but just goes to show you how low they are getting the work done for. The only one that worked okay while it lasted was Kohl's dept stores. I did them for two years then I guess they found someone cheaper.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
It damages the local market and creates a gulf of misinformation between the Managers and the PW contractor.

That creates an atmosphere of distrust.

In my opinion it takes advantage of struggling contractors also. Like our beloved Garage Doctor (who has no employees) selling garage accounts and offering 25% of the gross to any contractor who will work for that. That's what he offered Chris.

I know that's just business. But everybody loses from the customer to the contractor. Only the middleman wins.
 

Paul Kassander

New member
Education campaign is the answer. Unfortunately over the past few years it really in not about service quality or cleanliness. it is just about the bottom line. the ones who make the decisions really don't care they just want to look good for their next review or promotion then its someone else's problem. the stores that really matter or are visible to their bosses are always perfect but the rest suffer and fall into disrepair. What happens is the service gets cut and cut like Jeff said well then I guess you will just get 61% of the service now...
 

apple

Moderator
We work for one and I agree with y'all it's rough.

Problem is when it's all about the bottom line how are you going to educate the customer... On top of that someone out there will always wash it for next to nothing.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
We work for one and I agree with y'all it's rough.

Problem is when it's all about the bottom line how are you going to educate the customer... On top of that someone out there will always wash it for next to nothing.

One way is to use their own case study above.

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"Red"

Graphic Designer
I like the education idea, but there may be a way, albeit nasty, to get the PM's off the NSP list. Take the NSP job, sub it out to an unqualified low baller and then let the PM rip the NSP a new "waste management system" when the job turns out like crap. Enough of these sort of jobs will get the PM's off their pi in the sky service and back on the local talent. After that happens, you can go in and point out that the NSP has issues with quality control, and low ballers aren't the answer either. At the same time, you keep the difference for your troubles. Just a thought.
 

JimmyKantor

New member
We got a call from a NSP for cleaning 3 gas stations. The proposal was for 3 cents sq. ft... including windows and hand washing the vending machines. The acct manager even admitted that was "kind of a low price". We are just starting out here, but didn't even think it was worth out time to send a proposal back to them.
 
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