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The trend to use contract labor for municipality needs is on the rise as local governments rely more on outsourced contract work to provide basic services once fulfilled by city and county workers. This offers clear advantages as private companies adapt more easily to fluctuations in demand and regulatory changes, while providing services by workers with specialized property skills.
During the pandemic slowdown, facilities were able to get by with limited staffing and deferred maintenance. As the general public begins to congregate in greater numbers, city governments, county departments, business improvement districts (BIDs), and even schools are turning to commercial property services companies for assistance with primary property needs.
CAM Property Services, a California-based company, recently secured a contract to provide “janitorial services in three City of Pasadena parking lots.” Contracted services include daily cleaning of parking lots including use of a sweeper truck, picking up trash, emptying public trash cans, and pulling weeds in tree wells. While this is not their first municipal contract, it represents a shift toward more basic services than previous contracts covered.
As cities face difficulties in meeting their standard labor needs, they are outsourcing tasks that have traditionally been handled internally. They are finding mid-sized companies that provide a variety of services are in the best position to meet these needs.
Service companies also tend to provide staff with a higher degree of skill and expertise in a particular service. They often come with specialized equipment and experience across multiple asset classes, therefore can provide a higher level of professional service than a general laborer might.
Janitorial, day porter, facility repair, parking lot maintenance, sweeping, landscaping, and power washing are some of the services now being outsourced on a regular basis as municipalities turn to property service providers to fill the void left by unfilled job vacancies.
On the other side of this equation, property service providers can also face labor shortages and tend to lean toward servicing entities with which they have a prior relationship or wish to establish a new, long-term business arrangement.
Picking up government contract work is no easy task for companies either. The process requires strict adherence to bidding guidelines. Financial transparency, substantive liability coverage, human resources adaptability, and proven operational proficiency are a few of the hurdles required just to qualify and submit a bid for government contracts. Besides the significant amount of work that goes into bidding these jobs, the minimum performance qualifications present a high bar that many service companies are unable to meet, thereby excluding those companies from submitting a bid.
If you are a government entity, you may wish to establish a relationship with a property service company before the need becomes dire. Working out the nuances of bid contract work and building rapport is better achieved under normal circumstances.
As every sector readjusts to post-pandemic conditions, many of these variances may become the norm. Municipalities will adjust their labor needs and processes, the benefits of outsourced property services will be realized, and the labor force will take on a different form. A shift in the way you contract business today will help keep your “supply chain” of property services steady to meet future needs.