Have you ever been to a job site on time and nothing is ready? Have you ever sent a truck with two techs to the site only to have them return four hours later with no billable time to report? How about installers who come back saying they went ahead and ran the cable or mounted the devices that were to be furnished by others because it wasn’t done as promised? Yep, we all have.
What’s frustrating is that, no matter how much we plan, how specific we are and how precise our communication with the client is, stuff happens. One member told me it now costs him $100 to roll a truck out of the driveway with a single tech.
Two things crucial to any project are:
1. Clearly defining your scope of work and agreeing upon it via a written contract, and
2. Having clear expectations for any material or portion of the labor provided by the owner.
Take the electrical work, for example. If that is furnished by the owner, then it needs to be done before your trucks roll, not after you get there. The equipment room can’t have wet paint on the walls; the floor can’t be unfinished; they can’t finish drywall after your servers are turned on, etc. Improper access to the work area is a huge profit killer and it occurs on projects every day. The key is to have a stipulation in your contract that addresses this and a remedy clause that is enforceable.
Knowing the scope of work is one thing, but acting in the company’s best interest on the job site is often another. How well have you trained your staff on seeking clarification for work outside of your scope? Let’s say they get to the client’s site, install the racks and now the equipment room is 150 degrees once they power things up. What now?
Here’s the big question: What process or procedures do you have in place for work authorizations when things don’t go as planned? Who in your company has or gives authorization to stop work or keep going? Does your field staff know the ramifications of going beyond their scope of work and/or the ramifications of walking out on the client? My guess is there is room for improvement.
The owner’s responsibilities on projects often break down due to staff turnover, or a communications breakdown between departments. It’s fairly common to see a facilities manager commit to a portion of the work only to have the IT department put the brakes on the schedule. Church projects are another good example. The Church Council says they can do the rough-in work by next week and the Trustees suddenly realize they have no resources for doing all that work. Now what? Your crew was scheduled for the entire week for that one job. It happens every day.
When you think that it costs you $100 before the techs/installers even leave your driveway, it makes good business sense to double-check if the site conditions are indeed as expected. If you feel that your company could benefit from a tune up in either of these areas, give us a call. We have the solution.