When it comes to budgeting for your healthcare facilities, it’s natural to want the lowest possible labor rate for essential maintenance across your portfolio.

It sounds like a no-brainer: If you spend less by the hour per job, you’ll spend less on maintenance overall. In turn, you can run leaner operations and divert spending to other critical business areas.

But contrary to this common assumption, an attempt to avoid paying a higher maintenance labor rate can actually cause you to spend quite a bit more on your facilities program. This ends up diverting spending and doesn’t create the best possible environment to serve patients.

Here’s why.

Labor rates naturally increase with skill level

In nearly every case, a more experienced maintenance technician is going to charge a higher hourly rate than a less experienced one.

There are a few important reasons for this.

A more experienced technician has seen a variety of similar problems and can more easily troubleshoot for your specific circumstances. There’s greater value in their expertise.

A more experienced technician likely has access to better tools and equipment, since they’ve had the time to make more considered choices throughout their career.

And a more experienced technician is usually able to complete maintenance within a shorter time frame. Though their time is considered more valuable, a more skilled technician will also understand the value of a fast turnaround.

You’ll spend less by hiring more experienced technicians

If you hire a more experienced technician, you’re more likely to spend more by the hour—but you’ll notice a marked increase in your first-time fix rate, too.

A less experienced technician may only charge a fraction of what the most skilled technicians do, but the staying power of their repairs are more likely to be called into question and be a source of recalls.

Suppose the technician doesn’t completely understand your needs, or only knows enough to apply a “bandage” fix for your specific circumstance.

When the root cause isn’t addressed, you’re likely to require multiple return visits. This means another trip charge, another problem assessment, and more time billed to properly resolve the issue.

In an industry where equipment downtime is critical and patient satisfaction ranks high, it’s important to make sure that the work is done correctly the first time, avoiding any potential equipment failures and shutdowns.

Lower labor rates don’t match with your company’s goals

As a healthcare facilities professional, it’s your goal to help bring your company’s mission to life. Your company’s facilities play an outsized role in ensuring lasting patient satisfaction and trust in your brand.

Your patients are focused on the care and experience that you’ll deliver for them. They’re focused on whether they feel safe, comfortable, respected, and supported in their choice to trust you with their care.

And though it may seem like a step in the right direction to choose a vendor with the lowest labor rate, there’s a number of downstream consequences to consider.

Initial sticker cost isn’t everything. By choosing less experienced service providers, you run the risk of applying mere bandage fixes to deeper problems within your facilities portfolio.

Over time, the cost of correcting those issues grows larger and larger—without investing in the most experienced, qualified providers, you could be stuck in an endless loop of expensive maintenance.

To really deliver for your patients over the long term, focus on the bigger picture—focus on value. Your vendor choice should align with overall brand quality, brand strategy, and your organization’s values.

Want to do even more for your patients, associates, and your brand vision? It helps to partner with a team of dedicated experts. Get in touch with SMS Assist to learn more: weknowFM@smsassist.com.

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