Employee services Featured

1:14pm EDT October 20, 2006
The ‘check-oil’ light came on in your car as you drove into work this morning. You need to take your clothes to be dry-cleaned. You need to get a document notarized. The only problem is, you only have an hour for lunch and time is of the essence.

Some commercial building owners asking vendors to provide on-site services for their tenants. “Providing a full array of services to the tenants of the buildings we manage, whether they are office, retail or industrial, is an advantage for the employees,” says Carol Bell, managing director of asset services for CB Richard Ellis in Atlanta.

Smart Business spoke to Bell about the kind of services it offers its tenants.

What are asset services?
It’s helping the building’s tenants be as productive as they can by making services available where they office so they don’t have to go out and search for them on their own time. The extra time this creates during the day makes the employees that much more productive and happier. Examples of these services include a dry-cleaning business, a car-detailing service and a notary public all made available at the building, whether they are permanently located there or are brought in on certain days.

We connect tenants with a concierge or telephone service that they can call if they’re looking for tickets to the various events around town. We provide personal shoppers, if that’s what a tenant needs, to do everything from picking out a gift to picking up groceries.

We also provide administrative/secretarial services for tenants that they can use as a back-up if their systems go down. These services include everything from quick copies to typing and faxing.

Basically, we try to take the level of service one step higher.

Why is this higher level of service necessary?
The answer is simple: tenant retention. Concierge services have always been available at the larger Class AAA and Class A buildings. These buildings have enough square footage, tenant mix and funding for the owners to hire and have onsite a concierge that can provide these services for all their tenants.

A lot of buildings don’t have the funding for a full-time concierge service, so it’s possible to bundle these services and create a service package. Offering this higher level of service helps the owners keep tenants at their buildings.

Owners appreciate a management firm that is pro-active and looks for ways to make the tenants happy, rather than just fixing things that go wrong.

A similar service can be made available at industrial parks. Unlike an office building, tenants in industrial parks are responsible for most of their own services and repairs. Janitorial, maintenance — you name it, and the tenant is responsible for it. So contractors can be bundled and made available to tenants. The vendors, who should be qualified yet competitively priced, can be made available to tenants at discounted pricing.

How are these services funded?
CB Richard Ellis tenants pay no monthly, yearly or set fee. It’s something we offer at no additional cost. If they want us to administer the contract, then they just pay our fee. But providing the list of services and the names of the vendors we recommend and making those vendors available to the tenants is a service that we offer without a charge. The tenants don’t have to use those vendors if they don’t want to. Therefore, there is no upfront fee.

If you go into a large office building and see a dry-cleaning business, that owner knows the building is big enough to support his business and justify him being there. Smaller buildings can’t support that kind of business, so the services need to be brought in. That is where a good property manager comes in.

CAROL BELL is managing director of Asset Services for CB Richard Ellis. She can be reached at (404) 504-7889 or carol.bell@cbre.com.