The recent Toronto Star article entitled Trapped in a stuck elevator? The problem is worsening in Canada, experts warn is making some waves in the elevator industry. Most of what this article states is correct and lines up with our observations of the industry in Ontario, Canada and specifically in our service district north of Toronto.
Over the last 30 years I have seen the elevator industry as a whole gradually move from a place of high esteem in the eyes of the public to where it is today. Today, we at Elevator One do everything we can to communicate and demonstrate that we are different from the majority of the industry, an industry as a whole that I am no longer proud of. Elevator One Inc. still provides the old-school type of elevator maintenance service that keeps the number of unscheduled breakdowns in our portfolio to about 1 unscheduled breakdown per year per elevator. This breakdown rate is less than 1/5th of the industry average.
Continuing to provide high quality service comes at a higher maintenance price per month as the article states. We are often frustrated in our dealings with some short-term thinking building owners and with most publicly funded elevator owners because their decision making process for elevator services is driven by the lowest initial cost. This happens in both the ordering of the initial elevator equipment and in the maintenance services thereafter. We have many clients who love our services and are forced to make a change of service providers due to financial pressures inside their organizations. They soon see their service level and elevator reliability plummet. We then see the replacement of large portions of the elevator equipment being tendered prematurely, when good preventative maintenance would have extended the reliable life of the elevator equipment by many years. As a taxpayer, it is frustrating that the lowest initial cost is clearly not the lowest total life-cycle cost for elevator services in these situations.
How to find a good elevator contractor?
There are good quality smaller independent elevator companies in most parts of the province of Ontario, that still provide good quality maintenance services. These companies often take some work to find because they are best at working on elevators and not at marketing and self-promotion. Good companies like this grow quite nicely through positive word of mouth and do just fine without a slick and professional sales and marketing department. Use your network to get some referrals for good elevator contractors.
Ask your potential contractor to see a copy of their TSSA rating. TSSA’s rating system is not perfect, but the better contractors always seem to come up near the top in the rating process.
Here are some links to some related articles with more information on some of the items touched on above: