As a business owner, you have responsibilities to customers, employees, investors, banks and regulatory authorities. With all this and the pressures of actually running your business, it can be easy to lose sight of some of the more mundane aspects of running your own business, like building maintenance.
Who is responsible for what?
Before you worry about having to fix leaky pipes and replace faulty washers, check what you are responsible for. If you rent or lease your property, your contract will specify what obligations your landlord has and what you are expected to take care of yourself. If you’re not clear on any aspects of your responsibilities, contact the landlord or letting agent and clarify with them exactly what you are responsible for. If you do have any problems with your building that fall under the landlord’s list of responsibilities, contact them and request a repair rather than tackling it yourself. Attempting to fix something outside your area of responsibility could cause problems with your lease, and lead to difficulties in your relationship with your landlord.
It’s up to you
Once you’ve determined what repairs you have to effect or organize yourself, you need to assess your abilities in dealing with them thoroughly and how you could most effectively manage them. If you’re very handy and know what you’re doing, there’s no problem in making your own repairs. What you should do is check the details of your insurance policy to see if they require certified tradespeople to carry out repairs. If they do, abide by their rules, so you don’t risk invalidating your policy. You may have someone in your team that can take on the handyperson role, but if you plan to change anyone’s terms of employment make sure you abide by employment legislation and that the person concerned is happy with the new arrangements. If you have sufficient need, you could look at employing someone for a maintenance and repair role.
Personal recommendation is one of the best ways of finding a good tradesperson who will do a good job at a reasonable rate. If you don’t have any recommendations, see if you can find someone reputable from local online directories. If they have customer reviews, that will help your selection. Get several quotes for regular maintenance work, or for any large jobs that need doing. When you review the quotes, compare the prices for parts and equipment to make sure there isn’t an unacceptably high markup. Check prices for the same products online at relevant suppliers, such as pumpbiz.com for pump related parts and equipment.
It pays to keep on top of the upkeep of your business premises to help avoid unnecessary breakdown and resultant disruption and expense. Put a plan in place for checking cabling, pipework, drains, gutters – any of the areas of responsibility you’ve identified. Keep equipment cleaned, oiled where appropriate and get electricals checked and tested. The investment of time and money into regular maintenance might seem like an annoying use of your valuable assets, but if it helps you to keep the workplace safe and to operate smoothly, the investment will be worthwhile.