Good elevator service is vital. This simple guide covers 14 crucial factors to consider when choosing your elevator maintenance company.
Since we’ve already discussed elevator service contracts, this post will focus on elevator companies.
Finding the right elevator service company to partner with will make a significant difference with overall elevator expenses and performance. The challenge is knowing what to look for.
Let’s examine the top 14 factors to consider when choosing an elevator service company.
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1. Experience and Expertise with Your Elevator Type:
The most important factor to consider is how much experience and expertise the elevator service company has with the specific type of elevator in your building. There are many different types and applications for elevators, including:
- traction elevators (geared or gear-less)
- hydraulic elevators (conventional, hole-less, roped)
- hydraulic/traction combination
- machine room less elevator
- residential (incl. pneumatic vacuum elevators, winding drum and counterweight chain drive)
- low-rise multi-story buildings
- high-rise buildings (7 stories or higher)
- freight/cargo elevators
The ideal elevator maintenance company will have adequate expertise and experience with the specific elevator type, manufacturer, control system, and application involved. The level of this expertise and experience will determine their ability to effectively diagnosis, repair, maintain, and optimize the elevator and equipment being serviced.
Understanding the intricacies involved with the elevator’s electrical and mechanical design helps experienced technicians resolve issues faster and more effectively. Considering the safety and compliance risks involved with mechanical failures, ensuring proper elevator repair and maintenance is essential for building managers.
2. Mechanical and Electrical Tools Required for Your Elevator:
Building managers need an elevator service company with the right mechanical and electrical tools to manage the specific variables involved. For instance, do they have the correct service tools to maintain and repair elevators in high-rise buildings, or gain access to the software interface on the elevator controller?
An elevator service companies overall effectiveness will largely be determined by the mechanical and electrical tools they have available.
The intricate design of elevators and escalators often requires specific diagnostic equipment and specialty tools for repair and maintenance; if services lack these tools, repair and maintenance will take longer, cost more, and be less effective.
3. Reporting and Documenting Capabilities:
How potential companies handle reporting and documenting elevator performance, maintenance, and repair data is an essential factor to consider for building managers. Detailed reports and documentation can be beneficial in many ways, including:
- strategic development with modernization upgrades
- documentation for litigation issues
- safety and compliance risk assessments and audits
- projecting repair and maintenance events and expenses
- energy usage and efficiency efforts
- performance reviews with elevator equipment and service
- preventing repairs and service failures
With the emergence of smart technology, newer elevators and escalators may have more robust capabilities, such as continuous usage and remote monitoring from a mobile app. The age, type, and manufacturer of the elevator and control system involved will make a difference in overall reporting capabilities; building managers should ascertain how potential companies plan on managing this critical historical data.
4. Elevator Connectivity to the Internet (IoT):
In our modern digital age, building managers should consider how potential elevator service providers use the Internet to enhance maintenance and repair efforts. Whether the elevators involved are IoT enabled or not, building managers will benefit by knowing how possible companies leverage the Internet for maintenance and repairs.
Working with an elevator maintenance vendor that’s tech-savvy and can leverage the internet will help building managers make strategic technology upgrades and gain valuable insights. This is important, as globally more than 1.1 million elevators with smart designs are projected to be ordered for new installations in the next three years.
Here are some of the benefits of smart design elevators:
- detailed monitoring and data gathering of operating conditions
- enhanced predictive maintenance capabilities
- remote diagnostic capabilities
- real-time notifications for events
- improved performance reliability and continuity
- streamlines service coordination with automation functionality
Essentially, the power of the cloud and mobile computing can be leveraged with IoT enabled elevators and escalators, yet building managers need to ascertain if potential services have the capabilities to connect and leverage this technology, as some smart designs use proprietary software and limit connectivity.
For building managers interested in integrating IoT solutions now or in the future, choosing an elevator service company that can leverage smart technology is an essential factor to consider. Their ability to access, manage, and use live controller data online will make a huge difference with their effectiveness, as well as for future upgrades and developments.
5. Location – Elevator Service Companies Near Me:
Where the elevator maintenance company is located is an important factor to consider, as this will impact their overall ability to deliver time-sensitive repairs and emergency services. Building managers should ask how potential companies plan on managing the logistics with mechanics in the case of emergency repairs. This includes their backup plan when primary mechanics are on vacation or unavailable.
Also, building managers will benefit by working with a company that’s part of their local community, as this will enhance networking capabilities and improve service accountability. Some elevator service companies serve a national or regional customer base, while some serve a local area exclusively – this can make a difference with the companies local capabilities and commitment.
6. Mechanic Availability and Workload:
Building managers want to ensure that potential companies have the availability to maintain their elevators or escalators properly. The number of elevator technicians they have available, and the density of their workload will impact the quality of their regular services, as well as their availability for unexpected repairs and issues.
If elevator mechanics are overworked with large routes and complex buildings, their ability to dedicate enough time to clients will be degraded, and overall service will suffer. This is why it’s important for building managers to ask how many elevators and what type of buildings are serviced by mechanics on their regular routes.
7. Initial Service Transition Process and Strategy:
The transition process between elevator service companies needs to be optimally handled to ensure service continuity, safety, and optimal use of existing systems. Building managers should ask potential service providers what their strategic approach is for managing this crucial transition. For instance, how will they:
- program emergency phones
- manage access to machine and control rooms
- learn the details of existing systems and equipment
- use historical data to gain insight with past performance and faults
- deal with major weak points
- utilize control systems to improve reliability
8. Emergency Overtime Coverage:
By carefully examining the details of elevator service contracts, building managers can learn how potential companies will charge for emergency overtime coverage. This will help them avoid costly surprises down the road when and if emergencies occur.
Essentially, cheaper elevator service contracts aren’t always the most affordable, as they may not include certain maintenance tasks, repairs, or emergency overtime coverage. By examining elevator service contracts closely and asking potential service companies how they charge for emergency OT coverage, building managers can avoid exorbitant surprise costs and plan accordingly.
9. Major Repair Capabilities:
How potential elevator service companies handle major repairs will depend on their availability, capabilities, location, and tools. While these individual factors have already been mentioned, building managers still need to ascertain how potential providers will specifically handle major repairs.
Major repairs, like machine or cable replacements, are handled by a separate team of mechanics, rather than primary mechanics. Building managers need to understand how many of these teams potential service companies have available, to accurately estimate wait times for major repairs. Partnering with a service provider with the major repair capabilities needed will ensure minimal elevator service interruptions occur.
10. References and Past Project Completions:
Like other high-value business partnerships, hiring the right elevator service company requires diligent research into their references and past project completions. Good references include:
- clients with similar buildings and elevators/escalators
- a building manager’s personal network
- unbiased elevator consultants
Researching their references and past project completions will help building managers gauge their skill sets, capabilities, and customer service. Additionally, a recommendation from an unbiased elevator consultant will help ensure their overall suitability for the job.
11. Customer Service and Communication Capabilities:
Building managers want to avoid working with an elevator company with poor customer service and communication capabilities. These factors will negatively impact a building manager’s ability to coordinate services, resolve emergency repairs, and gain a clear understanding of maintenance contracts.
Here are some questions to ask potential services:
- What communication processes are used?
- Is there a dedicated team for the account?
- What’s the main point of contact for emergencies?
Other than these specifics, here are some customer service factors to assess:
- Do they always seem rushed or do they take the time needed to serve each client well?
- Timeliness with appointments and callbacks
- Ability to speak with the primary mechanic to coordinate services and answer questions
- How they approach dealing with customers and residents of buildings during maintenance and repairs
Essentially, building managers want to work with an elevator service company they feel comfortable communicating with through preferred channels. They’ll also want a company that values the customers and tenants of the buildings they manage. Finding these qualities will ensure a viable working relationship for short and long-term elevator projects.
12. Performance Expectations with Elevators:
Drilling down even more in-depth, building managers should identify the performance expectations potential companies have with the elevators involved. This can be accomplished by asking how they expect the equipment to perform once they take over and what standards they use to make this assessment.
Importantly, building managers will benefit by understanding the level of confidence potential companies have with the reliability and performance of their elevators. Asking for the reliability metrics of the other equipment they maintain will show managers how well they measure reliability and respond to performance issues.
13. Willingness to Sign a Contract That Includes Performance Details:
Unless building managers are fluent in legalese and have expertise with elevator service contracts, this aspect of hiring an elevator company can be very challenging. Nevertheless, signing a favorable contract for the building manager will make a massive difference with service quality and cost.
There are four general types of elevator maintenance contracts to be aware of:
- Full Maintenance Contract (FMC)
- Parts, Oil, and Grease Contract (POG)
- Examination and Lubrication Contract
- Survey and Report Contract
Regardless of the type of contract used, building managers should ask potential elevator maintenance suppliers if they’d be willing to sign a contract that includes performance details. Adding non-performance termination language to contracts is the best way to ensure quality service is delivered.
Here are some performance details that can be included in elevator service contracts:
- Minimum maintenance hours
- Performance metrics (length of time for repairs, repeat repairs, ongoing reliability issues, etc.)
- Minimum tasks (inspection and safety testing, lubrication, reporting, reviewing, performance testing, etc.)
- Safety and compliance issues (code violations, customer complaints, service failures)
Ultimately, building managers want to partner with an elevator service company that wants the best for their clients and has confidence in their ability to deliver quality services. Their willingness to include performance details in elevator maintenance contracts is a great indicator they have both of these attributes.
14. Partnering With an Elevator Consultant:
When choosing an elevator service company, building managers should consider the benefits of partnering with an elevator consultant. Their unbiased guidance and industry expertise will help managers navigate the multitude of complexities involved and, ultimately, choose the ideal company to hire.
With thousands of elevator maintenance companies in the U.S., it can be a challenge for building owners to choose the ideal provider for their specific needs. These are highly-specialized companies that widely vary in size, capabilities, quality, expertise, and experience. Working with an elevator consultant can help alleviate this challenge by filtering down the choices and ensuring favorable contracts are signed.
Considering the significant expenses involved with elevator maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, favorable contracts have the potential to save buildings a substantial amount of money.
Also, quality elevator service will reduce safety and compliance risks and improve overall equipment performance. Building owners and managers should carefully choose their elevator service company by considering these 14 factors.
Do you agree with these top 14 items? Comment below.