Vendor Compliance and Liability 101

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By Katie Torres

Hiring vendors to perform repairs does come with some risks, but these risks can be easily avoided by taking the right steps.

There can be risks such as noncompliance with policies, violation of regulations, loss of data or assets, or even problems with the service itself. 

Compliance and liability is about reducing this risk and keeping great relationship with the vendors who you choose to work with, and it's actually really simple to do with some careful planning and intentionality.

Here are some best practices to reduce risk, and increase the chances of keeping everybody happy.

Every vendor needs to be certified, and have the paperwork to prove it.

Make sure you get their certificate of Insurance and W9. A good maintenance software will track this for you, and can even send automated reminders to your vendor if they fail to provide it within a certain time frame.

So when your vendor is good to go on this front with no questions of certification, it's time to move onto the rest of the plans and policies for compliance and liability. 

Get to know your vendor.

What is their reputation? Are there other companies who can vouch for the kind of work they perform? Ask them about their qualifications. Make sure they share your values and will work according to those values. Find out what their systems and processes are - what is their procedure for arriving on a job site and how do they go about sharing updates?

Identify potential risk.

Know which areas could pose obstacles. Decide ahead of time what the process will be to avoid the problem before it happens, and what you will do in the event that something does go wrong.

Know what the weather will be, what parts need to be ordered, tracking numbers on shipments, etc. When we know all the information, we know what to do to avoid potential failures in the plan.

Set clear expectations

Your processes and procedures must be made clear and simple. If your vendor needs to check in or make notes as he goes, make sure to communicate clearly how this needs to be done. 

You'll also want to set clear expectations in other areas such as:

  • your level of expectation in service
  • what happens in the event that something goes wrong
  • what happens if the vendor cannot complete the job
  • warranties, liability, and other data

Make sure updates are happening often.

Know what's going on. If the vendor has a hard time getting to the site, or parts haven't arrived on time, you need to be updated about it. If a mistake is made and you know about it, it gives you the opportunity to correct the problem.

Of course, getting updates from vendors assumes that the vendor will take initiative in providing this information. That cannot be assumed, and you will have to be intentional about it. Management software helps with this.

Review your processes.

There is always room to improve, and you can never been too intentional about making sure things are squared away.

If you're finding that mistakes are still being made, revisit the processes and procedures. Talk with your vendors and find solutions that will benefit everyone involved.

Overall, vendor compliance and liability can be simple and stress free. As long as you are intentional and know what you're looking for going into a job, you can take the steps to have a great experience and a job well done.