Before I took this job, I asked building managers at certain facilities “how did you come to a conclusion to use XXXXXXX Fire Protection Company?” The usual responses were:
- They were in my service area and they returned a competitive quote
- We’ve been using XXXXXXX Fire Protection Company forever (even before they started working there)
- The city runs this facility and determines who we use
So, 2 out of 3 building managers really have no control who they use for fire protection. While one out of three claim that, as long as you’re in the area and have a competitive quote, you’re in contention for business.
Well, just like any other market, there’s competition everywhere. Go ahead, type in “Fire Protection Companies near me” in Google and see who pops up.
You’ll see many companies will be local and will probably return competitive quotes…so, how do you decide on which company to choose?
Here are 5 determining factors that will help you choose the best fire protection company:
There’s no denying you’ll want to choose someone local. Certainly, someone in California will not be able to inspect your fire extinguisher in Ohio tomorrow. The only thing you can do is check a company’s location page, see if your business is located in those areas, and make your decision then.
If they aren’t, cancel them off your list.
2) Word of Mouth or Online Reviews
Have you ever asked your friend how that new restaurant down the street was? Why not do the same with fire protection?
The facility next door has to pass the same fire inspections you do.
Maybe they like their fire protection company a lot, and therefore, you can choose a provider that way. If you’re not close with your neighbors, Google search “fire protection companies near me” and read the reviews for the top 3 or 4 search results.
What you want to look for are company ratings in-between perfect and non-existent. Some companies have ten perfect 5 star ratings (perhaps friends and relatives were a part of that) and then there are companies that have zero reviews. A fire protection company with “authentic” reviews will look similar to this:
Notice how there’s detail about names and the types of service performed. Here’s an example of a “blank” 5 star review that should be taken with a grain of salt:
3) Customer Service
Customer service in fire protection is paramount. When you need an emergency hood cleaning, you hope a company responds quickly, schedules the cleaning, shows up, is courteous, is clean, fast, and gets the heck out of there so you can continue running your business.
When the Fire Marshall says your fire extinguishers are out of date, and they’ll shut you down in a week, you’ll be thankful you work with a reliable, responsive fire protection company.
Customer service in fire protection also comes in the form of convenience. Most companies stay up-to-date with technology about scheduling cleanings and inspections in advance. No more worrying about the next inspection happening in 6 months.
They will also have all your paperwork online, and will send you every detail about the job through a document sent to your email. No more wondering if what you’re paying for is actually done or not.
Per NFPA and OHSA standards, every company must have at least one fire extinguisher. But almost every company has other fire protection equipment that needs service and inspection as well.
For instance, a large building may have a standard fire alarm system and/or a special hazard fire protection system. A restaurant has extinguishers, but also may have an ANSUL Fire Suppression System that needs inspected and cleaned frequently.
Why not have one company do everything for you? If you’re using different companies for each fire protection need, you can save a lot of headaches by condensing into one full-service solution.
5) Experience and Certifications
Certainly, you wouldn’t use anyone who doesn’t have years of experience in fire protection, but also someone who has experience solving similar fire protection issues as the ones you have.
For example, setting up a custom special hazard system that protects a large aluminum powder based 3-D printer, is a task many fire protection companies don’t have experience doing.
Also, you must look at company certifications. Some can only perform work on ANSUL systems, others on Buckeye, others on Piranha…but some companies can do all three, and more.
Hopefully, these tips will help you choose a fire protection company to service your needs for years to come.
If the goal is finding someone local, who has a good reputation, who provides great customer service, and has experience and certifications in all aspects of fire protection…there’s really no need to look for anyone else.