The Uncomfortable Conversationadmin
OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. There’s a General Contractor, a Contractor and a Sub-Contractor; and you’re the Sub-Contractor working for the Contractor.
You’ve been asked to do extra work outside the agreed-upon scope of the work at the 11th hour, to help get the job done in the allotted time. They tell you they’ll take care of you after the job is done. But AFTER never comes, or I’ve experienced the “I’ll make it up on the next one” phase, but the next one never comes Maybe I’m still old school regarding onsite requests that need immediate attention. If something needs to get done that was overlooked and not part of our original scope and we step up and deliver, I expect payment in return for our good deed. Some of us still believe that these 11th-hour requests that our word is our bond because of the goodwill of doing the job properly.
We do this to build our company’s reputation, and to build our relationship with respect. Boy, was I wrong. I’ve been in the telecommunication industry for over 20 years and have built a very good name in what we do and what we deliver as a service to the end-user or contractor we’re working with. Never have I had so much construction chaos and run around from one person to another person working with one company as I’ve recently experienced.
As they said in The Matrix, I should have taken the blue pill instead of the red. The amount of inconsistent communication and avoidance from upper management from this company we’ve worked for caused on-site stress between our companies, not a good thing because at the end of the day, the end-user suffers. To all new companies that are starting out, have that Uncomfortable Conversation about payment first before starting any work.
Make sure that all on-site requests are documented and agreed upon before doing the work. I know, It’s a great feeling to chase down a lead, submit an estimate, and get awarded the job! I’ve been there and I’m still doing it and I love it. It’s all roses and sunshine until you talk about money.
When submitting your estimate you must indicate in BIG BOLD writing your terms and conditions for that particular job and make sure whoever is accepting the estimate is well aware of the details and not looking at the bottom number and rushing you to the site. Everyone is communicating when they need to get the work done but seem to be in meetings when the talk of payment comes around. You as a sub-contractor should NEVER be chasing money or being a bank for another company you work for. A lesson learned even from someone who’s long in the tooth. Building long-lasting relationships must start with the Uncomfortable Conversation about a payment structure. It’s the details that get missed, set them straight.