No two LED light audits are identical, and surprises always seem turn up once your technicians begin their work. But the wrong kinds of surprises could be bad for your business.
Maybe it’s because you lack access to important parts of the building. Or maybe it turns out the audit wasn’t actually worth all the effort. Either way, these headaches can cost you real money.
Asking ahead of time about the time frame and budget can help you ensure the project is a good fit for your company.
But there are other questions you should be sure to ask before you schedule an audit — ones which can help you avoid some of the most common ways to lose time and efficiency.
Tools of the Trade: A Handy Site Audit Checklist
Before your technicians arrive on-site, make sure they’ve got the tools for any contingency. Here’s a handy checklist for reference.
- Audit forms/means to collect data
- Clipboard and writing tools
- Site maps
- Facility floor plans and/or fire escape diagrams
- Satellite image of site
- Laser measure
- Laser thermometer
- Distance scope (ocular, binocular or range finder)
- Click counter
- Personal protective equipment
- Fanny pack or backpack
- Camera or smartphone (as site allows)
Identify Site Requirements Before Your Technician Arrives
There’s nothing more frustrating than to get a call from your technician telling you she’ll have to make a second trip because she’s not able fulfill the site requirements for access. It’s a bad experience for you, for your technician and for your potential customer.
The best way to avoid this problem is to ask the right questions beforehand, like:
- “What’s the environment like? What kind of personal protective equipment is required?”
A big box retailer and an industrial facility may have the same square footage, and they may even have similar needs around LED lighting. But the actual, physical environments of these two sites are vastly different. For the safety of your technician, be sure to ask up front what kind of PPE is recommended or necessary to be on-site, especially if she’s entering a hospital or health services facility. The last thing you want is for your technician to be turned away because she lacks the proper gear.
- “Will there be a required safety briefing prior to the audit? Is special clearance or government documentation required to access the site?”
Some facilities require that anyone who steps foot on the premises fulfill certain criteria. That could mean sitting through a safety briefing, or it could require your technician to bring documentation along to secure access. Be sure to ask about any requirements that may be expected of your technician, which could affect how long an audit will take.
- “Are there items or activities prohibited onsite?”
Some companies are very sensitive about the potential for intellectual theft. That could lead to policies that prohibit photography, or that require signing a nondisclosure agreement. They may also forbid certain items like jewelry or soft-toed shoes out of safety concerns. It’s always good to clarify these policies.
Confirm Your Technician Will Have Full Access to Complete the Audit
A half-finished LED light audit doesn’t do you or your customers any good. Unfortunately, if your technician doesn’t have the access she needs, she may not be able to collect all the necessary information to determine how to implement a successful lighting upgrade or retrofit.
You can help ensure that doesn’t happen by asking questions like these:
- “Who needs to join our technician on-site?”
When your technician discovers she’s not able to access critical parts of the building, it brings the site audit to a screeching stop. Whether it’s a locked electrical room or a restricted area that requires an escort, it’s important that you ask ahead of the audit who else needs to be there to ensure your technician has full and free access to the entire building.
- “Will you notify security and other relevant personnel that my technician is visiting your site?”
Nothing thwarts even the best laid plans like a communication breakdown. When your contact for the site audit fails to alert security guards or other personnel, it can leave your technician in an awkward position. Worse, trying to clear up the confusion could take quite some time – hours that are much better spent on the job.
- “Are any keys or specialized tools required to access any or all parts of your lighting system?”
You can never be sure what kind of lighting system your technician is going to encounter during a site audit, or how the lighting’s secured. Even something as simple as a locked breaker box or lighting cages can trip things up if you don’t have a key. Asking ahead of time can help avoid delays during the audit.
It's Not Just What You Ask – It’s Who
For best results when asking questions like the above, it’s important to make sure you’re talking to the right people. Authorities and decision makers like site leaders are typically the best place to start, but for some of the particularly specific questions you may also want to speak to facilities engineering and maintenance, as well as personnel like lift operators and security guards.
Remember, it serves everyone’s interest to ensure that the LED lighting audit is as efficient and effective as possible. Creating a standardized pre-audit questionnaire doesn’t just help your business become more effective. When you share these questions with decision makers, you show your potential clients that you value their time and give them confidence in thoroughness of your work.
More Ways to Increase Profit for Your Lighting Business
Creating better processes, like a standardized pre-audit questionnaire, is an important component of improving your profitability and efficiency (while reducing the odds of mistakes).
The next step? Identifying the other trouble spots that are slowing down your business and costing you money.