What is Total FM?

What is Total Facilities Management? Over the last couple of years we’ve seen more and more demand for Total FM services, but what is it, and why should it be on your radar? We look at why it’s becoming so popular.

What is Total FM?
Total FM is when all your buildings, maintenance, cleaning and facilities management is outsourced to a single company. It can include reactive services (such as urgent mechanical, electrical and plumbing repairs), planned maintenance, statutory compliance, good practice and lifecycle maintenance, for a whole range of functions. Dependent on the client and their needs, Total FM can include services like caretaking and handyperson tasks, building management, cleaning, security, front of house, vending, small projects such as minor refurbishments, grounds works, external cleaning (such as window cleaning), portering, system monitoring and consultancy.

What are the benefits of Total FM?
If a company outsources all its FM needs to a single company, it takes away a big management burden from your in-house team. There’s no need to source and manage separate contracts for internal cleaners, window cleaners, caretakers and reception staff – you just have one single contract to oversee, and a single point of contact when you need anything.

Total FM contacts can also be cheaper. Economies of scale mean that bundling everything together can often be better value than sourcing single contracts for different services, as the overheads are shared.
Also, you take away the hassle of having to directly employ and manage multiple people. Your cleaners, caretaker and tradespeople are from a single team, work well together, and can collaborate to fix problems. If one of the team is away, they can cover for each other, so the job still gets done.

Why is it becoming so popular?
We all know that since the pandemic, recruiting staff has been difficult, to say the least. Even if you can source a gas engineer, they’re often unable to get to you quickly, leaving you having to manage that broken heating system for weeks before they can visit you.

With a Total FM contact, all the staff are employed by the FM company. They’ll take the burden of finding the right candidates, recruiting them, paying and managing their performance, and replacing them if they leave, leaving you free to concentrate on your day job. Your regular cleaner is off sick for a couple of days? No problem, the caretaker will cover for them. The receptionist will be off for weeks? They’ll send a replacement receptionist to make sure you’re not left short staffed.

Katie Crosby, Business Manager at Sewell Facilities Management, says that their clients often come to them after struggling to source single service suppliers.

“We’re definitely seeing a trend of people coming to us for Total FM solutions,” she said. “Customers are telling us they’re struggling to manage multiple contracts, and want the simplicity and cost effectiveness of a single supplier who can deal with all their maintenance and building needs, from cleaners to plumbers.

“If you have a water leak in an upstairs boiler, you need a plumber to come out to fix it immediately, especially if it may affect your operations. Then you may need a plasterer to fix the downstairs ceiling, a decorator to paint it, a cleaner to tidy up the area and a regular maintenance and inspection regime putting in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. With a Total FM contract, you don’t have to worry about getting in multiple companies to deal with the problem – you just make one call, and it’ll all be sorted, quickly, and you can get on with business as usual.”

What should I look for in a Total FM company?
Although your FM staff are employed by another company, they’re representing your brand. You need to make sure you choose an FM company who have a good track record of providing quality facilities management services, who treat their staff well, and who can cover the whole facilities management spectrum.

Celia Castro is a cleaning supervisor, and has worked in schools and commercial properties for eight years. She thinks a sign of a good FM company is how well they treat their staff.
“I’ve worked for Sewell Facilities Management for seven years, and all the staff work really well together,” she said. “Because the cleaners, the handypeople and the tradespeople are all employed by the same company, we know each other and can help each other out.

“I’ve always taken pride in my work – I think if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. If a company treats you right, you’re happier, you enjoy coming to work, and you want to do a good job. It really makes a difference.”

Responsiveness is also key to a good Total FM provider. It’s essential they can provide 24 hour cover, 365 days a year – you never know when you’ll need them.

Quick delivery of services is vital to keeping you operational. Even simple issues, such as a malfunctioning door, can mean your business can’t function. Our technicians can get there quickly, fix the issue, and make sure you can continue providing a great service for your customers.

I don’t think Total FM is right for me
That’s absolutely fine – every business is different, and some organisations may want to manage some functions in-house, or just want to outsource a specific service such as gas maintenance, or water hygiene checks. There’s no definite ‘right’ answer when it comes to facilities management – you know your business, so you’ll know what works for you.

What next?
If you’re looking for a Total FM provider, or just want to outsource part of your FM needs, we can help. Get in touch for a chat and some advice on the type of service that’s right for you. Speak to one of our team.