April 10, 2018
What are the Glass Industry’s Unwritten Rules?
Last week my wife, Elaine, sent me an article written by Doug Glanville entitled The Unwritten Laws of Baseball, which appeared in the New York Times. Since I love baseball, it was a great article. Things like, you don’t steal a base when you are up by ten runs, or you don’t bunt with two outs in the ninth during a no-hitter. But this made me think about the unwritten rules in our industry. Here are a few that I know of and I would be grateful to hear if you have any in your company.
- Don’t underbid and then come back with a ton of extras on a job when you knew the extras should have been in the bid in the first place.
- We all know that the price of aluminum is impossible to predict so we are bidding higher on future jobs, or putting an escalator clause on the aluminum part of a job. If aluminum does steady out with a price you can count on, don’t tell your client that you have to use the escalator, just because it is there.
- There is nothing wrong with making a profit, or a large profit, if that is what the job contract creates. Don’t brag about it all over town. It will come back to haunt you.
- It really is okay to hire the right person to work in your plant, shop or as an on-the-road glazier, regardless of gender. The unwritten rule that jobs are “man’s jobs” is a thing of the past. And since TODAY is equal pay day in the U.S., women should make the same as men doing the same job.
- There now has been one, and only one, verified report of a glass company breaking glass after a shipment has been delivered. Until now it has always been the delivery driver’s fault in the way they stacked the glass. Even two weeks later.
- In these strong industry times, you should be making money on every job you take. There is no need to “give it away” to get a job.
- If you know a contractor who is a back-charge thief, don’t bid on his work. The fact that you will change his ways is a dream.
- You can’t fire an employee when you hear a rumor that she or he is gay. And don’t even try to make up an excuse for such a firing.
- In that same line, it is not all right to put up calendars with naked people pictured on them or have certain magazines in the bathrooms.
- The days of paying your glass vendors when the invoice hits 90 days are over. If you are not paying at 45 days, don’t expect deliveries.
- It’s not okay to pay some of your labor force in cash. You and the employee save some on taxes, but lose out in the long run. But, mainly, the employee knows you are underhanded and will treat you the same way.
- You are about to order 1,000 square feet of a glass type and call your vendor saying you need an extra nickel. After you go through this for 15 minutes, you get the nickel. Congratulations. You saved $50, which the vendor will get back from you on the next job. And so forth.
1. Provide a clear glass specification and take off to your supplier if you expect a rationale quote.
2. Don’t change your take off after final dimensions and then expect the price to remain the same.
3. We do role up to the next even number to determine block sizes.
4. Don’t share supplier quotes with competing suppliers – basic business ethics!
5. Don’t take someone’s sample and begin using it to knock them off.
6. Don’t lie to the GC (if you left something out) and then you tell the GC that the glass is not available or you can’t contact the supplier.
Yes – after 17 years of selling decorative glass and glass flooring I have faced all of the above.
A couple for your consideration:
If you entertain customers on your very large fishing boat / cabin cruiser, the dingy should not be named “Original Contract,” nor should the large vessel be named, “Change Orders.” Your peers will get it and chuckle, your customer will not think it’s the least bit funny.
In negotiating change orders, when asked to itemize the costs, if the general contractor questions them, they’re really asking if you’re honest. Bill Swango, my first boss, had a classic response: “I’m reasonably honest in all my dealings, but I’m probably no more honest than you are!” What a GREAT response!
GREAT unwritten rules, Paul! My favorites are 4, 8 and 9. Thanks for this blog!