Six questions to ask when choosing a smoke alarm service provider

19 December 2019

Six questions to ask when choosing a smoke alarm service provider

By Gina Wood

Smoke alarm maintenance is about protecting your client’s investments, the lives of your tenants, and your agency. Asking your service provider these six questions will help you make the responsible choice. 

  1. How long have you been trading and what does your service include?

    Don’t risk dealing with a cowboy.

    Smoke alarms are a complex, life saving device and you need to partner with someone who knows what to do, how to test who has intimate knowledge of legislation and compliance requirements. Sometimes service provider who offer a multitude of services may mean you have to compromise on your smoke alarm servicing. Your service provider should replace all batteries at every service, check the location and quantity of alarms, clean and test with artificial smoke, making sure the alarm will trigger in a fire or an event. 

  2. Do you charge for alarms or extras’?

    A cheaper price is not necessarily better value.

    Don’t get caught out having to pay for alarms, batteries, call out fees, service types or service updates. All replacement alarms should be included so there are no hidden surprises. The fee should include all the service requirements to make the property compliant. Alarms should be replaced when they are expired, faulty, not functioning properly, or are damaged or missing. Don’t get any nasty surprises and give your landlords surety on their annual smoke alarm expense. Full transparency with an experienced service team is what you need. 

  3. Are you licensed to carry out the work you are intending to do?

    It’s okay to ask and to check this and your Agency shouldn’t take it for granted.

    Fire safety is a serious business - for your Agency, your landlords and your tenants. You need to have confidence that your alarm service provider is appropriately licenced to complete the work on hard-wired smoke alarms. Licensed electricians are not enough. The Company itself should have a valid electrical contractors’ licence with Fair Trading in NSW.

  4. Are you insured for both alarms and workmanship?

    Standard insurances are not enough.

    As a Property Manager you should question this insurance coverage. The last thing you need is to have an incident and not know who to go to. If there is an incident, and without the right insurance, you and the landlord could be chasing a third party if the alarm has proved faulty. 

  5. How do you work with our Tenants?

    It’s always better to ask rather than tell!

    It is always better to work with the tenant directly on a suitable time for service to remove the inconvenience factor. Sending letters or emails and entering the property without the tenant’s explicit permission can make your tenant unhappy. Whilst entry notices are used by most companies, some use them as a last resort, with phone calls or texts to the tenants preferred. It is important that the tenant is involved in the requirement for servicing. The benefit to your agency with this booking model is that it takes away the pain of the Key pick up. This saves the agency valuable time each day allowing you to focus on what you do well.

  6. How do you use technology to service us better?

    Let’s be honest. Time is money.

    If your service provider is not giving you technological based solutions, you should be asking why?

    Annual servicing programs are put in place to protect you and your tenant, however what if there is a dispute. Partners who offer call recordings, technician tracking, online customer portal, bulk data upload capability as well as secure B2B integration with your property management software without access to your login details, digital compliance certificates and regular penetration testing not only protects you, your landlords and your tenants but also your data.

REINSW thanks Smoke Alarms Australia for this article.

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