On the 28th floor of the John Hancock building, one of the most iconic structures dotting the Chicago skyline, is the home office of SMS Assist, a mid-sized, highly innovative tech company. Though its name sounds prosaic enough, this eight-year old start-up company is revolutionizing the facilities maintenance market — servicing, assessing and monitoring commercial cleaning and other facility services across the country — in real time.  

At the root of SMS Assist, similar to so many successful tech companies, is its ability to cull and respond to data. SMS has developed a proprietary operational platform, which integrates facility project information with visual dashboards.

Behind this technology platform is an efficient team of industry experts, customer service representatives, administrators and in-house developers, providing a human-touch, and the framework to deploy services and problem resolutions on-demand.

Available from any computer, smartphone or tablet device, the dashboards allow users to see everything from service schedules, to job specs, to work in progress, billing and invoice information, quality ratings, revenue charts — even the weather. Customers can then connect this information to pinpoint problems or to highlight new opportunities.

As Vice Chairman John Barrett describes: “It’s crazy, good technology.” 

“We now have the ability to monitor the entire work flow in one [application],” Barrett says. “It’s the management of information. Clients can see the information themselves, which creates accountability, transparency and cost savings. We promote radical efficiency.”

The building service contractors who subscribe to SMS technology are given back the opportunity to work on their business, not in it, he says.


Assisting Partners With Facilities Maintenance Management

SMS Founder and CEO, Mike Rothman, says the platform helps BSCs and other facilities maintenance professionals take menial tasks off their plate and returns their focus to driving revenue and growing their business.

That was Rothman’s intention from the very beginning. The CEO says the differentiation between SMS and other BSCs is that SMS acts as a full-service integrator.  Unlike traditional BSCs, SMS doesn’t perform the labor; instead SMS facilitates seamless servicing of its contracts, and manages all aspects of the work via their operational platform.

The company aids more than 28,000 partner affiliates across the United States with their software and other services. In turn, the company has climbed the ranks as a 100 percent outsourced facilities maintenance management company and emerged a tech king.

“When you think about what small service businesses do well, it’s whatever their core function is, whether that’s cleaning, floor care or snow removal,” Rothman says. “What they don’t do well is back-of-the-house stuff, like scheduling, billing, tracking their insurance or quality control. It’s time consuming and it costs them money because if they are spending time on paperwork or trying to get paid, that’s time they can’t spend servicing customers.”

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