How to Write a Maintenance Contract

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Set clear expectations with outcome-based standards.
Set clear expectations with outcome-based standards. (Image: Thomas Seybold/iStock/Getty Images)

An accurate statement of work is key to establishing a successful relationship between your business and a maintenance contractor. Setting clear service expectations before bidding begins can help you avoid misunderstandings that are the most common cause of maintenance outsourcing failures, according to the FacilitiesNet website. Once you have a winning bid, negotiate terms and write a clear, well-defined maintenance contract.

Maintenance Service Requirements

Replace the traditional input-based service-level agreements seen in most service contracts with outcome-based maintenance requirements. Unlike service-level agreements, which typically include both task and required materials lists, maintenance requirements define both the outcome and key performance indicators but allow the contractor to determine what steps and materials are necessary to meet the goal. Outcome-based requirements are especially important if you are outsourcing facilities or equipment maintenance services because you lack in-house knowledge or skill.

Contract Parameters

Define parameters that allow for effective contract administration. For example, include a clause defining a work-order system that ensures maintenance personnel do not accept maintenance requests directly from employees and also provides a way for you to monitor contractor performance and urgent or emergency maintenance requests. Include a clause that specifies who is responsible for providing -- and paying for -- the tools and supplies required to perform maintenance work.

Prioritize Emergency Situations and Response Times

Address maintenance emergencies by including an after-hours on-call requirement and by prioritizing after-hours response times according to the degree of urgency. Depending on maintenance service requirements, you might set a weekday-only on-call expectation or one that requires the contractor be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Prioritize after-hours trouble calls as routine, urgent or emergency, and set respond-by times for urgent and emergency maintenance calls. For example, categorize malfunctioning air conditioning as urgent, and require on-call maintenance personnel to be on site and working on the repair within two hours.

Describe a Payment Model

Decide on a payment structure that works for you and the contractor. A combination of fixed-fee and variable payments works well for most maintenance contracts. Use a fixed-fee payment model for routine, on-duty maintenance and a variable payment model for both on-duty and after-hours urgent and emergency trouble calls. For example, increase a fixed fee payment by 10 percent for urgent after-hours calls and 20 percent for emergency calls. Include a reimbursement model if you plan to reimburse the contractor for all or a percentage of the tools and supplies he provides.

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