Distress Calls For Help
Miracles do happen. On Jan. 9, an airplane that encountered a flock of birds landed in the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew were saved before the plane sank, thanks to Captain Sullenberger and his crew. In his humble address to the nation, Sullenberger simply stated, “We did the job we were trained to do.” Is your entire crew trained to do the job for the company’s survival and future success?
The passengers and crew also owe their amazing survival to the rescue ships’ rapid response. You should look carefully at all of the people around you with the resources, ability and willingness to assure the company’s survival.
But you cannot just sit and wait for their responses, nor do you need a mayday, SOS or 9-1-1 call. As you analyze your predicament and their individual potential to help, you need to meet and discuss mutual benefits.
Ask Your Peers: A good start would be getting involved in your local PHCC chapter or other contractor association available in your area. We always call this rubbing elbows with your peers.
1. This provides many different aspects of pending problems as well as
2. You can offer to assist with other contractors’ efforts by subbing items of work to them or from them. You can also share manpower and equipment. Most outsiders think contractors who bid against each other are enemies, since they have never attended an industry chapter meeting or convention.
3. Your involvement with the association gives it a stronger voice and more power to represent you and your needs to government authorities.
Ask Your Financial PartnersYour next distress call would involve all those who could help assure your financial stability. Here again, you want to meet and discuss mutual benefits. But keep in mind that they need you as badly you need them.
You should also discuss - even negotiate - late payment penalties, processing change orders as that work occurs, payment for stored items and retention.
You should always ask for value-engineering and cost-saving substitutions for each bid. You also need to establish a fair and equitable policy for returns of unused equipment and materials.
Naturally you need to promote and enforce OSHA’s safety standards to prevent costly accidents and lower your experience rate modifier.
Unfortunately, many contractors feel embarrassed to approach any of those potential benefactors, when they are actually flattering that individual. Asking for their opinion and assistance shows them how much you respect their position and power. This is most effective when communicating with your own family, friends and employees.
Ask Your Employees, Friends & FamilyYour employees are definitely in the best position to insure your survival and continued success. They know about, or at least suspect, what you might need. You should meet one-on-one with each employee to discuss what you feel they could contribute and ask for their opinions and suggestions.
Your service techs should use a simple checklist on every customer’s system to survey possible needs for upgrading, maintenance, repairs or replacement. The checklist used by auto repair shops will give you a good idea of what works for them.
Do not avoid talking business at home with your family. Here again, they know about or at least suspect what you need and would proudly offer opinions and valuable assistance.
Likewise with your close friends. Remember that old saying: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Any one of your friends might know of a potential customer, supplier or agency that could help strengthen your position.