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Cleaning the Jobsite

by Michael Stone

If you're an employer, these are things you should watch for and be prepared to deal with. If you're an employee, check to see how you're doing. Our first topic - keeping the jobs clean.

When you are working in a client's home, one of the things that matters to your client is your ability to keep the work area clean. It is one of the biggest complaints clients have. In their minds, a messy or dirty job site equals a messy end product. When a client is unhappy over something as basic as a clean job site, that discontent can lead them to look for other things to complain about. Why put yourself in that position? It's their home – treat it with respect.

I've had contractors tell me that they harp and hound their employees to keep the job site clean, but to no avail. The employees will keep the job clean for one or two jobs and then it is right back to a big mess, business as usual. Try this.

The first time you show up and the job is a mess, you get the guys together and you tell them you want the job cleaned up right now. Stop whatever they are doing, get it cleaned up. You also tell them that the next time you come to the job site and there is a mess, they will stop what they're doing and clean it up on their own time. If they don't want to, they can go home (without pay, of course).

I understand that drill outs, framing, etc., can make a huge mess. And they want to finish the drill out or framing before the clean up starts. That makes sense, I wouldn't argue that. But if the drill out is done and your employees are running wires or pipes and dragging chips and sawdust all over the house, it's a problem. If the drywall has been hung, the taping is started and you have drywall scraps all over the place, it's a problem. There's absolutely no reason for employees not to take a few minutes and sweep up before moving on. It only takes a few minutes, and it keeps the mess from spreading.

Demolition is another area that you have to watch close. When you are tearing things apart, clean up should happen at least twice each day if not more often.

You need to insist that employees keep a jobsite clean. It makes a world of difference to your clients, and it will probably make life easier for your employees even if they don't agree. If an employee thinks they are too busy or can't make the time to keep the job clean, it might be time for a serious discussion about their attitude toward their work.

Keep your jobs clean and you'll have happier clients.

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