Tricks Of The Trade: Cost Savings For Services

By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the October 2006 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q I have seen a lot of data concerning the cost savings of outsourcing facilities management and HVAC service staffs. However, this information does not seem to be balanced. It looks like most of the data comes from large real estate management firms that have a vested interest in presenting/selling their case to outsource.

Where can I find positive information concerning a well trained, appropriately paid, and right sized facilities management department? If I don’t overpay and I’m not over staffed, can I still expect big savings? What are some of the best practices that balance in-house/out tasked models, and who is working with them?

Steve Bonsall


A I am also a strong believer in out tasking as needed. For example, the company I work for recently moved to new offices—its first move in 15 years. Because this type of event happens so rarely, I hired an interior design firm to assist in the space planning and preparation of construction drawings. It just doesn’t make sense to have an in-house team for infrequent projects; out tasking was ideal.

But when it comes to outsourcing, there can be a problem when the individual working for the outsourcer has to perform the duties expected while staying within the operational budget (which is usually less, since this is the reason the contract was awarded in the first place). After all, companies outsource to reduce problem areas—such as mail rooms, copy centers, maintenance, janitorial, groundskeeping—not to create profit centers.

For more on unbiased outsourcing best practices, check out The Outsourcing Institute.

Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.