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Elena Kuzmina: The owner must be aware of a high quality service cost

cleannow_ElenaElena Kuzmina, the Head of Cleaning Division at Becar told us about the involvement of cleaning contractors by means of tender mechanism. The involvement of cleaning operators through competitive procedures is becoming more and more common in Russia. However, the way this system works today does not clearly contribute to the transparency of competitive relations and rendering quality services.

In accordance with the current legislation, the basic procedure for procurement among state and parastatal organizations is defined by Russian Federal Law No. 44-FL dd. the 5th of April, 2013 “About the contract system in the procurement of goods, works and services for the provision of state and municipal needs” and Federal Law dd. the 18th of July, 2011 No. 223-FL “About the procurement of goods, works, services by certain types of legal entities.”
Russian Federal Law 44-FL fully regulates the procurement process of all government customers, as well as the conduct of the trade procedure itself. 223-FL regulates exclusively general principles of procurement. Commercial organizations, unlike state ones, do not have to choose contractors through a tender in accordance with the current legislation. Until recently, most companies built relationships with contractors at their own discretion; in particular, they held closed biddings or simply invited highly-qualified specialists who are widely recognized as professional, effective and high skilled specialists in the market.

Due to the economical recession, the situation has changed dramatically. So, in pursuit of budgets optimization, private business had to pay attention, in particular, to the bidding issue for contractors involvement. But what did the practice, correct at first thought, result in within a short space of time? – To a sharp revival of companies-discounters, who won tenders with a fall of 50% or more.  As a result, customers have stopped receiving a price-balanced and quality- balanced offer.

Many customers, who take into account only cheapness of the offer, miss a few fundamental issues: a low price does not yet guarantee the quality of rendering services. Moreover, it does not guarantee that the contractor will be able to render the services defined in the contract conditions. Laypersons are enough in any field and, if such a company wins the bidding because of low cost – You’ll run a risk to waste money and time for nothing.
If the state customer forms the initial (maximum) price of the contract based on the settlement methods determined by the Federal Law 44-FL, then private companies do not usually conduct such analytical studies. Of course, there is always an opportunity to employ services of third-party audit companies. There are organizations that can provide such calculations free of charge. But in 99% of such cases the amount of the contract will be far from reality. As a result, companies participating in biddings have to work with the amount that bad estimators have counted and face many difficulties and problems due to this. And here is the question arises whether it is better at the initial stage to attract a competent consultant who understands the industry and is able to estimate the cost based on market realities. The cost of a professional consultant, who will lay the groundwork for the tender conditions will be formed, hovers around 1% of the cost of the annual maintenance of the building. But in the end it will allow you to save much more, as well as help you to avoid the risk of choosing the wrong contractor.

State organizations, in order to exclude the risks of attracting unprincipled contractors, establish the so-called maximum rate of decline or require from tender participant economic feasibility of low price. That is, if, for example, the fall of price is more than 25% of the maximum contract value, the contractor agrees to provide a justification for what he plans to pay employees “white salary”, pay taxes, etc. Commercial organizations, alas, adopt state mechanisms only partially. For example, private customers, unlike state customers, as a rule, do not define detailed requirements for the tender, do not establish any criteria for quality, volume, work experience, workforce, and also do not work out competent documentation that could at least somehow guarantee an honest selection of contractors. They are not ready to spend time and money for attracting professional consultants who would do this work for them. Moreover, many customers often start working with contractors without a preliminary analysis of the facilities already maintained by them. All they really need is money saving.

A competent owner should always be aware of how much a quality service rendering costs corresponding to the class of his facility. If the owners become more conscious choosing the partners, the competition between cleaning operators will increase exponentially.

And the customer will benefit from this. After all, it is important to understand that prices of large and experienced companies that value their reputation are approximately the same. And the main criteria in favor of a contractor should not be the price of the contract, but experience, innovative technologies, software and any other “chips” that they can offer to the customer at the site in order to optimize the cost of maintenance.

At the first stage of the recession, due to currency rate increase, prices jumped sharply, all operators ran to the customer to negotiate: some companies reduced the staff, the other companies – the frequency of cleaning, in short, optimized all that was possible. At the second stage, the companies moved on to finding analogs of the used equipment and cleaning chemistry. But now it is time when it is already impossible to play with the price. You can only try, without budget increasing, to maintain quality of service. But only a professional can cope with this.

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