Elevator Maintenance Checklist: What to Consider When Evaluating Contracts [+ Free Checklist]
When you’re evaluating your elevator maintenance plan options, you’ll probably have in mind a general idea of what you need. However, since elevators are very complicated pieces of equipment, there are certain things many people miss when they are in the research phase. Unfortunately, this often results in an elevator owner locked into a long-term contract with an unreliable service provider.
As veterans in the elevator industry, we have a substantial amount of useful knowledge that can help businesses better evaluate their options. Use the information in this article to understand what you should evaluate when comparing contracts offered by elevator service companies. You can also download our free elevator maintenance checklist to create a scope of work for your elevator maintenance plan. Our checklist will also help you conduct a line-by-line comparison of items included by each elevator company that is providing a proposal for your elevator maintenance.
Why You Need a Maintenance Plan
An elevator is a big investment that adds significant value to a building. The value you get out of that elevator is directly related to how well it is maintained throughout its useful life. A quality elevator maintenance program is designed to minimize risk for the elevator owner. These risks include liability issues, financial exposure and tenant dissatisfaction. Choosing the right elevator maintenance plan is critical to keeping your tenants happy and your building operating smooth and efficiently.
The right elevator maintenance contract will ensure that your elevators:
- Operate in accordance with applicable codes
- Pass required state inspections
- Keep your passengers safe
- Avoid costly repairs
What You Should Evaluate in a Contract
When you’re researching elevator maintenance plans, your options will likely include two broad contract levels: Full Maintenance or Examination and Lubrication (Oil and Grease). A Full Maintenance Agreement will provide a routine maintenance program and include any service calls related to issues that occur between maintenance visits. The advantage of a Full Maintenance agreement is that the elevator owner is able to get a fixed cost for their elevator maintenance. An Examination and Lubrication agreement includes maintenance but any service calls are billed in addition to the maintenance contract. The initial price of the maintenance contract is lower but the elevator owner is taking the financial risk for any service calls.
Each elevator service company includes and excludes different services in their own versions of these maintenance plans. As an elevator owner, it’s critical to understand the different components that make up each company’s elevator maintenance contract so that you get the most value for the money you spend. It’s important to compare “apples-to-apples” when evaluating elevator maintenance options, which is why we’ve created the checklist for you. The checklist will provide you with a free resource to easily compare the elevator maintenance products offered by different companies.
The coverage level will determine how much financial risk you are taking with your elevator — basically what you’re getting for your money. Your contract should clearly state what’s included and excluded to avoid any surprises later on.
Here are some common contract details and considerations for coverage:
|Frequency of equipment examinations||How often will they actually inspect your equipment? A monthly examination schedule is typically recommended by the equipment manufacturer and often required by code.|
|Number of preventative maintenance hours per month that are included||“Drive by maintenance” or just a quick look at your equipment won’t help prevent issues. Your preventative maintenance plan should provide specific monthly tasks and include the time necessary to perform that work.|
|Is 24-hour emergency service available? Is 24-hour emergency service included in the maintenance pricing?||This is an absolute necessity. An elevator is in operation 24/7, so you’ll need 24/7 support. You will also want to know if overtime (OT) service calls are included or if you will pay extra when authorizing an OT call.|
|What is the guaranteed response time?||How long are they going to make you wait? For emergencies, this should be no longer than 1 hour.|
|What type of equipment will be covered?||Some companies may not have the capability to service proprietary or older equipment, so make sure the elevator company you choose has the necessary expertise for your particular elevator. Check references and ask about customers with the same equipment as you.|
As an elevator owner, it’s important to monitor performance during the maintenance contract term. This includes requesting reporting and monthly maintenance summaries. Some contractors may attempt to change maintenance intervals to every six weeks or even once a quarter, regardless of whether your contract includes monthly preventative maintenance. The number of hours you should expect each month for maintenance should be guaranteed, otherwise you should receive a full credit for the missed examination. But even with the credit, a company that neglects to consistently check your elevator is not a reliable service provider.
Cost will likely be one of your deciding factors when it comes to selecting a service provider but it’s important to realize that the cheapest option doesn’t always end up being the most affordable.
For example, an Examination and Lubrication agreement is usually the inexpensive option because it doesn’t include things like unscheduled service calls or replacement parts. However, with this type of maintenance plan, unforeseen repairs and service calls could make your overall expense much higher than a Full Maintenance agreement. The benefit of a Full Maintenance agreement is that you can budget a fixed monthly amount and not have to worry about repair expenses.
Here are some additional pricing details to check:
|Are you charged monthly/quarterly/annually?||How will the billing cycle work into your company’s budget?|
|What are the hourly billing rates for service calls if you choose an Examination and Lubrication style agreement?||Your elevator company will charge you on a time and material basis for these calls so you need to understand the pricing.|
|What are the hourly billing rates for overtime calls?||Overtime work will be an additional fee anywhere you go, so make sure you know what to expect if you need it.|
Safety & Criteria Factors
There is no “one-size-fits-all” elevator maintenance checklist. The safety checks will depend on the type of elevator equipment you have, so the elevator technician will have an elevator maintenance checklist that is specific to your equipment’s exact make and model. Some of the basics that a technician will assess include:
- Safety circuits
- Foot pound pressure on door closing
- Door protection
- Oil levels
- Signal and light bulbs
- Ride comfort
- Leveling at landings
Ask your maintenance provider for a checklist of safety tests specific to your elevators that are guaranteed to be performed at every visit.
Terms & Conditions
The terms and conditions of an elevator maintenance contract will include things like beginning and end dates of coverage, specific clauses and any responsibilities you will have as part of the agreement.
These are some additional examples:
|Is there an evergreen clause?||This is an automatic renewal for a full term, unless it’s cancelled prior to renewal.|
|Does the contract have an obsolescence clause?||This allows the elevator maintenance company to bill you for obsolete parts.|
|What are the contract terms?||Quarterly? Annually? Month-to-month basis? Make sure the terms work for your budget.|
|Can you cancel the contract for non-performance?||You should request a 30-day cancellation clause. This ensures your maintenance company has incentive to perform.|
|How much notice do you need to give before cancelling the contract?||This is typically at least 30 days but you should check to see if there are any penalties associated with cancelling before or after that time period.|
These include the little things about the company that you may not think of while you’re assessing a contract. These criteria are specific to the service provider:
|How long has the company been in business?||In any industry, a company’s longevity proves they know what they are doing.|
|How many service routes, repair teams and field supervisors are in your area?||You won’t want to wait long for a technician to come to you, especially in the event of an emergency.|
|Do they have an onsite and local parts inventory?||Onsite and local parts inventories mean you won’t have to wait long for replacements or repairs.|
|Do they service equipment similar to yours?||You don’t want your elevator to be the first of its make and model that they service.|
To verify the company’s experience, have them provide at least five references from businesses they’ve worked with for at least five years. This should include businesses with elevator models similar to yours, so you can be confident in knowing that the company is familiar with your specific equipment.
Get a Free Elevator Maintenance Checklist
To make the contract evaluation process easier, we’ve created an elevator maintenance checklist that will help you better visualize your options.