Questions for vetting third-party management services

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 10 Apr, 2017

Businesses are frequently on the receiving end of solicitations for services sold by one party and delivered by another. One example is lighting contractors .

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the benefits of retrofitting incandescent or fluorescent lighting to LED lighting .   Anytime there is a new development in technology, there are often new companies entering the marketplace to offer their services. Like with any industry, some companies are better than others. So, we’ve developed a list of questions to help you determine which ones may be a good fit:

 

1.  Why did they get in the business?

 

2.  What is their business model? How are they funded?

 

3.  Who performs the work? Do they outsource this?

 

4.  If they use contractors, what is the markup on contractor services? Good companies will disclose this.

 

5.  Do they have licensed staff?

 

6.  Does the lighting contactor have a licensed electrician that performs the assessment?

 

7.  What kind of service exists after the sale?

 

8.  Who performs the warranty work, who would you call? The distributor, the manufacturer, the installer?

 

9.  Do they use generic or name brand products?

 

10.Can the lighting company install lighting controls first? What other solutions exist to help with energy savings?

 

11.Ask yourself, are we just building this project around the lowest possible cost and quickest payback or are we looking at quality of product and installation?

 

12.Some installations can be complicated. So, are they evaluating the project from the ground or do they inspect the existing lighting to capture full requirements?

 

13.Are they quoting complete fixtures, or just light bulbs?

 

14.How do they calculate the required LED equivalency?

 

15.How do they calculate the anticipated savings?

 

16.What advantage do they offer? Purchasing Power? Selection?

 

17.What is the lead time for acquiring the product?

 

18.How do they communicate delays?

 

19.What approval processes are required on their end? How long do those take?

 

20.Can they provide references for recent installations?

Facility managers told our electrical technicians they wish they had asked these questions before signing a contract with a specialty provider.

 

Baxter Commercial Services offers a range of lighting services, including energy efficient upgrades and commercial installations. Contact us for more information about how our electrical contractors can help you.

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Ever notice that the light bulb section in your local hardware store is getting bigger and the choices are getting more complicated? Bulb size, wattage, base type, dimmable or not, color temperature and more are all decision points today. Not to mention price. If you have ever come home with the wrong light bulb, you have plenty of company. For commercial lighting applications, multiply the difficulty level several times.

 

A simple looking ceiling fixture may not be as simple as it looks. Historically, commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for office areas and a combination of other fixtures for warehouse and even parking garage lighting . Many businesses are converting both types of lighting to LED lighting for energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and improved light coverage. Converting from fluorescent to LED may be as easy as swapping out one light bulb for another, but, given all the nuances of commercial lighting fixtures, spending some extra time researching and planning will save time and headaches in the end.

To make a comparison, with automobiles, some parts like wind shield wipers are interchangeable between vehicle brands and models, while other parts are very vehicle specific. The same concept applies to commercial lighting fixtures. To add a level of complexity, if portions of a commercial building were built at different times, light fixtures may appear to be the same, but, can actually be different.

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The enactment of the Montreal Protocol came with implications for owners, equipment operators, and managers of commercial buildings.  The international environmental agreement requires nations and states to phase out all the refrigeration and air conditioning systems , that uses the R-22 refrigerant, a commercially-produced hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC-22). This substance is listed among the most notorious ozone depleting substances. It was expected that by 1st January 2015, all the existing refrigerators running on the fluid, would be phased out. However, some companies and individuals are yet to do so.

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By Josh Morphew 10 Apr, 2017

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By Josh Morphew 10 Mar, 2017

Consider the following scenario: A vicious ice storm is looming. Jim’s boss Cindy says she can’t afford downtime from an extended power outage and tasks Jim with finding a solution. Armed with the Internet, Jim searches for a rental generator . The closest generator he finds is 4 hours away and even if he could pick it up, he can’t find an electrician to help hook it up.

 While Jim had managed the facility for years, backup power was never a priority for the previous owners. The plant was already operating at maximum capacity, so they couldn’t make up for lost time with additional shifts. Regardless of what happens with this storm, Jim knows he needs a better plan to deal with any type of future power outage.

 Jim’s situation is very common. Many businesses think of backup power as an all-or-nothing scenario. Permanently installed generators are cost prohibitive so they settle for nothing instead.   Today, facility managers and building owners have more choices, providing them with the reassurance of having backup power at a fraction of the cost.

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