Hi there,

Last week we took a brief look at outsourcing – specifically what it is and how it relates to facilities management’s role in supporting the core business of an organisation. This week we’re going to take a closer look at the outsourcing options available to us – there’s certainly more than one!

If you’ve only recently subscribed to the newsletter and have missed our previous e-mails, don’t worry – we’ll be publishing all of the previous e-mails on our soon-to-be revamped website – watch this space!

So what are these options?

In-house service delivery

In-house service delivery is, as it sounds, where we deliver the service using in-house teams. The staff that manage and deliver these services are on our company’s payroll and we are responsible for recruiting them, managing their performance and ensuring that their employment rights are met.

I know, I know – this is supposed to be an article about outsourcing. So why are we including in-house delivery?

Simple answer – outsourcing is not always the right decision for every company and/or every service. Sometimes an in-house team can be more effective. For that reason, whenever we consider outsourcing we should always include in-house as an option and make sure that we weigh up the relative pros and cons of each.

Outsourced Service Delivery

As explained last week, and in contrast to in-house delivery, outsourcing is the process of contracting a third party company to take care of certain aspects of your business.

But there are different ways to outsource FM services, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

We’ll be taking a closer look at those pros and cons over the coming weeks, but for now here’s a quick overview of the different options available.

Single service outsourcing

As its name suggests, your organisation would award a contract for a single service to an external company.

So for example, you may contract a cleaning company to clean your offices, or a lift maintenance company to keep your lifts in good working order.

There’s no limit to the number of services you could outsource, so you could effectively outsource all of your FM services to a multitude of different companies. However this could become a little unwieldy as there are so many different contracts to manage. Single service outsourcing is more commonly used in combination with in-house delivery – so using the examples above, you may choose to keep your cleaning teams in-house, whilst outsourcing your lift maintenance.

If you feel that outsourcing works best across the board, but don’t want to have to manage too many individual contracts, you may consider…

Bundled Services

When one company provides two or more services, we call it bundled services.

Put simply, this is where we take a group of services that overlap or have similar characteristics, and contract one company to take care of all of them.

For example, we may outsource our cleaning, waste management and hygiene services to a single company. Now instead of three separate contracts to manage, we only have a single one.

We can take this as far as we like, all the way up to outsourcing all of our hard services to one company and all of our soft services to another*. With only two contracts to manage, two invoices to pay and two account managers to deal with, this can make things a lot easier for us.

*If you’re not sure what the difference is between hard and soft services, never fear – we’ve got a video on precisely this topic. Click here to watch it.

Of course we could take things one step further…

Total Facilities Management

Total Facilities Management (TFM), sometimes referred to as Integrated Facilities Management (IFM), is essentially the idea of bundled services taken to its logical end point, where we outsource the entirety of our FM service to a single company.

This means a single contract, a single invoice to pay each month, a single account manager and all services delivered by the same company.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even with a TFM arrangement, it’s best to keep some form of in-house presence.

Depending on the size of your organisation, this may be a single facilities manager or a small team, but the point is to have someone within the organisation who understands both facilities management as a discipline as well as knowing the inner workings of the organisation itself.

These teams or individuals are referred to as ‘informed clients’.


Gaah! The mere mention of PFI can really stir up the emotions. At this stage, however, we’re not going to go down that rabbit hole. The point of this series is to give you an idea of the options available when deciding whether to outsource your services and PFI contracts are no longer one of these options and haven’t been for some time.

We will take a closer look at PFI at a later date, as there will be plenty of readers who are working on these types of contracts. For now, you just need to know that PFI is a type of outsourcing arrangement, but not one that will be available to you when forming your FM strategy.

That’s all for now

Next week we’ll start considering the pros and cons of each option.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Chris and the Xenon Team

P.S. If you haven’t already studied or started studying for an IWFM qualification, which will cover topics like this in depth and fully assess your understanding, you may want to have a look at our guide to the IWFM Qualifications which will give you a full breakdown of how they work and what’s involved in the different levels. You can download it here.

P.P.S. If you’re already considering taking a qualification but don’t know which level to go for, a good starting point is our One-Minute-Leveller tool, which will ask you a few questions and give you a recommendation based on the result. You can access it here.