You will get what you pay for! Of course, the adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," applies to elevator maintenance just as much as it does with other products and services. Bargain basement contract prices likely won't provide for a true preventive maintenance plan, but will focus more on call-back maintenance. Or the contract may allow the maintenance company greater discretion in deciding how often they'll service the equipment; either way the elevator owner ends up losing.
In contrast, a comprehensive service plan will identify the number of hours of maintenance each elevator will receive each month; depending on the age of the elevator, this can range from one to about five hours. The plan also should outline the services to be performed. For instance, the technicians should clean the car tops and machine rooms to keep dust and grime from getting into the equipment. They also should inspect the machine room and check that the equipment is working properly.
The goal when analyzing a maintenance agreement is to focus on value, rather than the price tag. Companies that offer really low bids may require more supervision to ensure that they're not skimping on their obligations.
Another area to check is the availability of both local and regional resources. A company may boast a stellar staff in one city, but have fewer or less experienced employees in another. You'll want to meet the local team, because that's who will be first on the job.
At the same time, the local team may need to call on its regional counterparts for information or additional resources when troubleshooting more complicated problems. As a result, it's important to know what other experts are available, and how quickly they can respond to problems.
It also makes sense to evaluate the companies' average response times for unplanned service calls; while the goal is to minimize the frequency of these calls, they will occur and you should know the response time expectation.