At Alden, we declared November to be “Forget doing it yourself and get help!” month with a series of blogs dedicated to why using third-party administration (TPA) to solve some of your joint use issues might be a good idea.
What is third-party administration? Great question. It is a service that allows you to bring in expert joint use resources whenever you need additional help on a short-term project or on a permanent basis, based on your specific business needs.
As you may well know, joint use administration can easily be a full-time job. If your business is on the smaller side, however, you may not have the dedicated staff to focus on joint use issues five—or seven—days a week. Even if you do, sometimes the load of permitting requests, bills to administrate and contracts to enforce can overwhelm even a full-time joint use staff. TPA offers high flexibility, adding additional staff only when there is a need. Here at Alden, we originally offered TPA Joint Use services to small co-operatives who lacked dedicated joint use resources. However, we also heard from larger companies with full-time staff that more people were needed in peak times to handle increased volume, so now, we serve both.
How Flexibility Helps You
TPA can be used to perform all joint use billing, where contract information is verified with billing information. This service offers peace of mind knowing that you are billing properly and paying and receiving the right amount.
One-time TPA services per contract, such as contract analysis, ensures contract terms are being followed. It is often discovered there are contract details not being adhered to. For example, what your contract will allow you to do or will allow you to bill for.
For Pole Owners
TPA assists by preparing billing files for recurring annual billing, which includes invoice validation for AP/AR. Bills are verified against data records to ensure you pay what you owe. You may lack staff to handle processing of AP/AR. TPA can manage timelines, escalation notices, and contact attachers when work is not being performed, so that you maintain a good working relationship while any problems are resolved.
For Pole Attachers
If you experience difficulty in verifying pole attachments in order to process receivables, TPA can be utilized to handle this process. To ensure no overpayment is occurring, receivables should always be verified before they are paid. TPA will run validation against your data, process invoices, and will either prepare a file ready to send to your invoice system or the invoices can be processed for you.
Project-based violation cleanup is another area where TPA benefits attachers. A final, costly example, of the benefit of third-party administration is processes detach notices. In many cases, an attachment has been removed, sometimes even for years. If a detach notice has not been "properly" given to the pole owner, even if facilities removal has been acknowledged in a field audit, attachers may still end up paying rent on a pole where no equipment exists.
What is the Bottom Line?
Hire someone to help—like Alden. We manage joint use issues on a short-term project basis, or can act as an extension of your current joint use department in whatever capacity and for however long you need. We are the experts—and bring to the table not only years of service to the industry, but a full complement of joint use software and service solutions, all designed to make joint use life easier for everyone involved.
Is this your moment to decide you could use a partner in joint use administration? Think TPA. It may just be the solution for you. (read the final article in this series, reason 3)