In-house or outsourcing maintenance services?

Qube Magazine

As all facilities and building managers know, effective and regular maintenance is crucial for the reliability of businesses and institutions in every sector. Ensuring you have a proactive maintenance system and routine in place ensures the longevity and condition of your business’s assets and equipment, therefore providing benefits such as cost-effectiveness and improved safety.

An effective plan should cover all features of your facility’s maintenance policy. This means having an exhaustive inventory of assets with numerous items such as boilers, pumps, roofs and all your most vital assets. However, this raises the question — should you in-house or outsource maintenance tasks?

Why is maintenance crucial for your business?

Maintenance is crucial for ensuring the reliability and efficiency of assets, including machinery, equipment, property and quite literally anything else that’s essential for your business. Without maintenance, the risk of equipment and asset failure or malfunctioning comes into play, and this not only comes with the cost of replacements and repairs, but also hinders productivity and risks the safety of employees.

With an effective maintenance plan in place, businesses have peace of mind knowing their assets are in good condition at all times, and any malfunctions or damage will be noticed sooner rather than later. This prevents many issues that stem from insufficient maintenance and have a severe impact on businesses.

Incorporating planned preventative maintenance into your maintenance regime keeps assets in good condition at all times and minimises maintenance costs through the avoidance of full breakdowns of assets and early replacement costs.

The in-house or outsourced maintenance debate

Some organisations prefer to handle maintenance in-house to ensure complete control and maximum awareness across their business. For example, using in-house facilities managers can align better with daily business needs as it is easier to coordinate tasks, meetings and even in instances such as crisis management.

However, this is not the case with outsourcing as you are unable to instruct or manage an outsourced maintenance workforce. This can sometimes lead to clashes in maintenance approaches or management styles. Furthermore, by remaining in-house, employees witness the everyday occurrences in the workplace, so they are not solely relying on data to make impactful decisions.

Because in-house employees are familiar with the business and its requirements, some business owners can feel uncomfortable bringing in outside help and prefer to invest in their employees by personally training or promoting them. However, this is only an advantage if you are looking to implement a permanent in-house maintenance team and are willing to invest in their development. This also prevents the redundancy of management roles.

Furthermore, in order to maintain high-quality business operations and avoid your expectations not being met, it is imperative to establish goals and tasks upfront when working with an outsourced provider. If you neglect this key aspect, sometimes an outsourced provider’s level of service may disappoint you and not align with your business needs at all.

Advantages of Outsourced Maintenance

When outsourcing maintenance, an opportunity exists to benefit from external parties’ expert knowledge, technology and the guidance they offer. However, cutting costs is a top priority for every business and a key motivation for outsourcing. Generally speaking, the fees payable to an outsourced facilities management company tend to be less than the salary of an in-house employee, particularly when coupled with savings on training, ongoing education, employee benefits, and other overheads.

When you outsource industry-leading specialists, you instantly gain a wealth of varied maintenance skills, knowledge and guidance. Experts who work with many sectors can provide valuable insight and creative approaches to your maintenance challenges. Outsourcing can provide a more specialised and deeper well of knowledge from experts who are consistently looking for ways to improve maintenance solutions across the board.

Facilities Management contractors focus on managing general facility needs while also helping you prioritise your goals. They are able to operate daily systems and keep them running smoothly, repair any faults or quick fixes and have the resources to help facility expansions. Also, outsourcing is also a lot easier when it comes to scaling your business faster.

One of the most important aspects of your business is the time and energy you spend focusing on actual business needs. One of the most crucial advantages of outsourced maintenance is having more time and freedom to focus on the many aspects that help companies grow and achieve new levels of success. While the maintenance specialists work, you can focus on what you do best.

Sourcing the right maintenance tools and approach

When considering outsourcing options, make sure that the work is easily accessed and reviewed, as well as in alignment with industry standards. For example, SFG20’s cloud-based software is consistently updated to meet legislation and regulation changes and can be easily integrated with CAFM software, meaning maintenance operations can be streamlined and task guidance can be easily shared with internal maintenance teams, used to audit specialist sub-contracted services and provide stakeholders with compliance records.

However, most business owners believe the myth that when outsourcing maintenance, this puts the compliance responsibility on the contractor. This is far from the truth. As an employer, your duties include the:

safe provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work associated with them
provision of information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure the health and safety at work of employees
maintenance of a safe place of work including access and a safe working environment

Although you might be able to delegate performance of specific functions, that does not release employers from their legal duty.1

However, by following SFG20 – the definitive industry standard for planned preventative maintenance – ensures that maintenance teams complete their work in accordance with UK legislation and regulation, providing peace of mind for all involved.

Making the right decision for your business
There is no excuse for not having efficient and adaptable maintenance systems in place. So, regardless if you are outsourcing or remaining in-house, your business must align with industry standards. If you wish to promote or train your employees, having someone in-house might be the better option. However, if you are rapidly growing and find yourself needing to focus your attention on other tasks, outsourcing will provide you with an expert opinion and may give you a better return on investment. Ultimately, you must choose what works best for your business.

1 Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA)


In-house or outsourcing maintenance services?