A company owner asked the other day how to hold employees accountable for the work they do. What do you do when an employee’s work is not up to par and the client complains and will not pay for the work done?

First, you need an employee manual where your expectations of workmanship by each employee are clearly spelled out. It must also say that you (the owner) have the final word on the standard of work that is acceptable. Include in that section language about what happens if the work is not acceptable. I think, (state laws considered), that I would send them back on their own time to fix the problem. I don’t know if you could force them to purchase replacement materials, but that is a thought.

Remember, an employee works for 8 hours (doing what you have asked them to do); you pay them for that 8 hours — now you are even. Nobody owes the other guy anything. Accounts are square, plumb and level. If somebody doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain (doing what you asked them to do) how can they ask to be paid?

Next, and equally important is language in your contract with your customer that you will make the final determination of the quality of work done and that they may not for any reason withhold payments based on supposed quality of work. They withhold money, you shut the job down.

Don’t talk about industry standards or “good and workmanlike manner”. Think about it, there is no standard for quality in this industry and certainly nothing to compare to. That is a phrase that will paint you into a “no-win” corner. While the NAHB Residential Construction Performance Guidelines is a standard, it’s only a start.

Common sense and fair play. That is what I would require from my employees.

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Mark
Mark
December 15, 2008 4:37 am

Is this an item you guys talk about when you go through the contract with a client?

I am a young contractor, but I notice a strong distrust for the business in general by the public. Any thoughts on why that is?

You can check out some of my projects here: http://www.hwmconstruction.com

ron
ron
November 3, 2008 8:36 pm

I find it haed to believe that a customer would sign a contract giving the contractor the final say in quality of work as a contractor and customer i surely would not.

Mike Davis
Mike Davis
November 12, 2008 3:55 am

Ron, As a contractor, I can’t believe that you would not want to have the final word, in contractual language, as to the quality of workmanship. If you leave that decision to the customer, you will never meet expectations, at a profit. If you are registered as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, then maybe you can afford to work with this attitude. If you are in the business to make a profit, you must set a standard of workmanship. The NAHB Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, 2005 edition is a great place to start. If you will allow your customer to… Read more »

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