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Does a Service Level Agreement Make Sense?

Most property and facility managers play the business card ballet as their backup system for restoration services. They have three or four business cards from restoration contractors who they can call in the time of need. This can work for the majority of situations, but when an entire region gets slammed with a hurricane, polar vortex or other severe weather-related condition, fahgettaboutit!!!! That backup method is a huge liability if you’re in charge of expensive real estate. 

Is there a better option than attempting pirouettes in the time of crisis? Yes, for the right organizations there are Service Level Agreements. What is a Service Level Agreement or SLA? It’s a contractual agreement between service provider and an end-user guaranteeing very specific service levels and pricing. If the service provider fails to perform within the mandates of the SLA, the end-user can claim compensation from the service provider. 

First and foremost, most restoration contractors don’t offer true Service Level Agreements. SLA’s require a service provider to invest heavily in equipment and manpower well ahead of time. To offer an SLA, a restoration contractor must have 40 to 50 times their normal day-to-day equipment needs stockpiled on their shelves. And this is just for starters!

No company can offer an SLA and then call an equipment rental company or partners or the corporate office to supply them in times of major weather events. These other resources always need to truck in equipment from all over the country, which takes time (remember “Every Minute Counts”) and increases costs significantly.

Within a few days after a serious weather event, equipment becomes the biggest problem in this industry. If you don’t make that 72-hour window, a drying project becomes an expensive demolition and reconstruction project. If your contractor doesn’t have the equipment to begin the process, you’ll watch your facility begin to melt down in a short amount of time.      

Most restoration contractors are also obligated to insurance companies for their vendor programs. During severe weather events, these restoration contractors are deluged with small- and medium-size residential projects around the clock and very quickly. A homeowner usually identifies damage to their home at the time of the incident because they live there. Unless there is someone onsite for a commercial property, the damage may not be discovered until the following day or worse.

If you’re relying on residential contractors to recover from a severe weather catastrophe and you need services well into the event, fahgettaboutit. Slide on those ballet slippers and try to get comfortable in that tutu because you have some long days, weeks and maybe months ahead of you.

PBI receives hundreds of calls during these events, and many are from commercial accounts doing their ballet dance. Some we can help, but our clients we have agreements with always go to the front of the line. If you would like to discuss whether you qualify for our SLA or other Commercial Agreement, please contact me personally using the email address below. 

Mike Popowski is President of PBI Restorations.  Reach him at