Helping others can go a long way in terms of personal and professional satisfaction.

Helping someone in his or her time of need is a very admirable policy that is rewarding to those who give, as well as to those who receive.

This has always been a viable policy for contractors to practice and instill in all of their employees so they can enjoy the benefits. Fortunately, I learned this at an early age from my Pap, who was a living example of a really Good Samaritan in his business and in his personal life.

Go out of your way to help everyone you can. It makes you feel good and many of those you help may one day be in a position to help you or others return the favor.

I hope you will share this advice with all of your employees, your family and friends. Stress the fact that, while helping others, each of them is constantly building their own personal reputation in addition to the company’s image. It is important what others think of you, but even more critical what they say about you.

Let me give you some examples related to your business. Since we are in a free market, profit-making business, all of these deeds are primarily aimed at helping you and others save or make more money. Naturally, you will also enjoy the cooperative atmosphere and personal rewards. It really feels good.

We have many Good Samaritan examples involving your service department, but first we will look at your jobsite opportunities, which we’ve always called horse trading. In addition to saving tons of money for those you helped (and yourself, too), your projects get finished sooner and your employees enjoy a friendly rapport with the other trades.

Jobsite Situations

As you review these situations, those with jobsite experience can easily relate to the amount of time and money that was saved.

1. You install a temporary water line over to the masonry contractor’s mortar mixer to save him stretching out hoses every morning and evening.

  • The mason uses his forklift to unload and lift your material.

  • The mason leaves a chase or installs a sleeve for your access.

  • The mason will install your prefab items as his wall goes up and your crew is not on the job.

    2. You weld a broken hitch on the back of the site contractor’s wager wagon.

  • He lends you his backhoe to dig your ditch.

  • He backfills your ditches with a front-end loader.

    3. You repair or replace the broken water sewer or gas line for the electrical contractor.

  • He runs a temporary electric line over to your jobsite trailer.

  • He lends you his portable generator to work in a remote area on the jobsite.

    4. You lend your water pump to the concrete contractor to get his footings installed.

  • He installs sleeves under his footing for your work.

  • He will pour a concrete pad for your equipment.

    5. You replace a rooftop air-conditioning unit and extend your ductwork.

  • The ironworkers will lift your units to the roof.

  • They will use their cutting torch to cut the deck for your insulation.

    6. You value engineer the project to save the general contractor time and money.

  • The general contractor provides you with inside storage space and helps place your material where it will be installed.

  • He will provide ladders, scaffolding and equipment for short-term tasks.

  • He will provide after-hour access for overtime or flex-time needs.

  • He patrols your safety compliance to avoid accidents or OSHA citations.

    It’s easy to understand how this Good Samaritan list, which works both ways, can go on and on. Your biggest dollar savings come from lending major equipment, such as cranes, backhoes, forklifts, man lifts, scaffolds, generators, water pumps, compressors, welding machines, cutting torches, etc. The majority of this borrowing can be coordinated before and after work hours, on coffee breaks or at lunchtime. There is a great advantage for contractors working flex-time hours.

    The majority of Good Samaritan/horse trading actions involve things like small tools, fasteners, electric saws, drills, extension cords and duct tape. Generally, a good act by another trade permits your crew to get finished today instead of making a return trip tomorrow, which could also result in costly trips back to your shop or to a supply house.

    Along these same lines, you may have encountered a frustrating back charge for what you assumed was horse trading. This costly and damaging situation can and should be avoided by having your foreman document each good deed in his or her daily log. When a question arises about back charges, you can then compare each situation and resolve any doubts.

  • It Works With Customers, Too

    Regardless of when these jobsite favors may occur, your service techs are in a position to help people with their needs every day. This is especially true with the down economy, layoffs and financial pressures. People have serious needs they cannot afford.

    It is also important to keep in mind that you must not expect a return favor. That’s just a bonus you might receive for doing another good deed. But in most instances, all of these good deeds will result in new and continued service calls for your company. Here are some examples:

    1. Your techs are driving your service trucks with your name and phone number clearly displayed. Their courteous driving will be recognized and appreciated. In my seminars I tell contractors if they don’t teach and demand courteous driving, they should paint their competitor’s name on their trucks. They should also stop and offer assistance to anyone along the route who may be in need.

    2. The biggest, ongoing Good Samaritan opportunity occurs at your client’s residence or place of business. Survey the entire premises and turn in all of that information to your service manager. This creates knowledgeable conversation and a positive reason to call for future service.

    By surveying the customer’s premises, the owner can be notified of any potential problems or worthwhile upgrades. The techs can then recommend economical solutions with items in stock in your warehouse or rebuilt items from your fab shop.

    There are also many minor problems your tech could easily repair or resolve at no charge to the customer:

  • Adjust the flushing apparatus in the toilet tank.

  • Tighten the valve packing on a hose bib.

  • Repair or tape a leaking air duct.

  • Adjust temperature controls, etc.

    Make sure your techs inform the owner about any or all of these donated services. Most importantly, the techs need to respect the owner’s premises, both inside and out. They should always leave the property cleaner and neater than they found it.

    If you are wondering why you should be helping others in their time of need when your own business is hurting…

    That might just be the reason your business is hurting!

    We need to be thankful we are in a position to help others, even if they do not return the favor. Then we can feel the rewards of truly having been a Good Samaritan.