February 26, 2019

It’s No Laughing Matter

By Paul Bieber

Yup. It is hard not to laugh when you hear about a contractor who only bid three sides of a building. A couple of times every year, when I was in the fabrication end of our business, I would get the frantic phone call asking how quick we can deliver to a jobsite, and could we do it at no charge because the caller was a good customer. It was never a mismeasurement or breakage, it was simply carelessness.

And it was never a good customer, because the good customers who bought a lot from us, double checked their work and then checked it again with a second person. Among other factors, it was because they didn’t make stupid mistakes that they grew and became profitable.

So what’s the point? Who double checks you? Do you double check every quote that goes out? Maybe not you, but a qualified other person in your shop? But what about your quotes? Just because your name is on the door, doesn’t mean you won’t make a mistake. In fact, it is almost guaranteed, because you are being torn in four different directions all day long.

A salesperson who goes to a homeowner’s home on a shower quote can’t get a double check. He wants to present a price and get a signature right there. A mistake here will not bankrupt the company. Set a level for your company where every quote over a certain number will be double checked by another person. I suggest that number be, at a maximum, $10,000. I know you are the boss and can do no wrong. Encourage your team to double check each other and when someone makes a suggestion to your quotes, accept the ideas graciously. If you just throw the idea away, you won’t get any good input in the future.

How do you teach your team? Easy. Give an individual a quote from a job you have recently done and ask her to prepare it as a new quote. Go over her answer with what you actually bid and you have a perfect teaching lesson.

All this being said, you should still laugh at something every day. It is good for the soul.