An Employee Breaks a Window

…so how do you deal with that?

If it was completely their fault and not a lack of training, how do you handle it? You deduct cost-to-fix from their pay?

To me if we break ANYTHING then complete job is free PLUS we fix the issue at our cost AND we send them a gift for their patience and frustration.

Should some if not all of the replacement cost be on the employee?

NO, none, business…That’s why you carry insurance ! But the other things your saying to do is high professionalism !

Dr. Dange

Ok Dange, its just hard for me not to to see with you would not pass some cost onto the trained employee. Will that not impress the importance of be careful and paying attention?

I think it’s not something you can do legally, like not pay your workers for over time ! But it’s all part of training and even journeymen can break things ! It’s part of business …Like if they are driving your work truck and there is an accident and they are at fault the business is responsible !

Still your act to your customer is very good ! I do the same if I break something !


absolutely I think he should pay for it. Talk with him about it. Maybe deduct an agreed amount per check until its paid for.

Sorry man as far as I’m concerned that one’s on you. When your business does good you reap the rewards when your business does bad you reap the consequence.

You cash the checks, you assume responsibility. Thats why he is an employee and you are an owner. It sucks, I know. It would be nice of him to cover some of the cost but he certainly isn’t obligated to. I would write up an agreement for any further damages caused by neglect to be covered by the employee. Deducting $ from a paycheck is illegal you are the IRS/state tax agency or you have a signed agreement from the employee. Keep us posted in the outcome. -Justin.

Its not something you can deduct from their check legally.

But what you can do when there hired is say, Im giving you a thousand dollar bonus at the end of the year.

Every time you screw something up your going to lose a part of that thousand. It could look like this:


  • 50 Late

  • 150 touch up

  • 325 - value of that window you broke.

Ill keep you posted on how it goes but I likely this goes in the personnel file and can/wont affect potential raises and bonuses.

I will give me a topic to discuss on our monthly meeting.

Thats a great idea Chris!

Create a goal or bonus while instilling a sense of responsibility.

Would it be morally wrong to post everyones bonus with their deductions? I could call it the ‘Board of Shame’. Just a thought

Why would you do the job for free? As long as your taking care of what was broken you should still be paid.

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I think you can only charge them for it if you can prove that it was a willfull act. Accidents will happen although I have never broken a window in ten years. I like the idea that [MENTION=1]Chris[/MENTION] expressed or have a bonus system or breakage fund that gets paid to either the breakage or the crews if anything is left at the end of the year.

It wouldnt be wrong at all… As long as right next to that board, you had the board of compliments.

Yea I would agree with that… Gotta get paid, accidents happen people are understanding.

The reason is because I’m not my competitor. My competition has similar feelings and they say “accidents happen” and the customer will “understand”. Those statements are not synonimus with a happy customer in my opinion.

We have for the last 17 years and will for the next 17 years go above and beyond in every way. At the end of the day they will not even remember we broke the glass and took up two hours of their day because we made a mistake. They will be drunk on be fact we did something that no one else will do and that is to prove that we are unmatched in customer service.

Accidents happen. Dont you think they probably feel bad enough? I could understand if they keep breaking lamps every other house. But next time an accident happens it could be something completely different. If the accident was not do to horseplay or something similar I cant see the punishment helping, maybe only causing resentment towards you. Are you telling them accidents are unacceptable? That to me seams unreasonable.

I can understand why you would be upset. Especially since your policy gives the service away at no cost. I’m sure that put’s you in a situation you don’t want to be in as a businessman since,on top of that still have to pay labor. I broke a lamp one time. Before the homeowners returned, I called a couple places to see if I could have it replaced. No Go. I felt horrible. I explained what happened when they returned. I offered to pay for the lamp right then, they said no. They had actually had two of those lamps at one time and due to their tall slender design they were nearly invisible and easy to walk into or knock over. I told them that I would be back in the fall to clean their gutters at no charge. They left my wife and I a $80 tip??? I do not understand. I guess what I learned is that these people don’t want you to provide them a service for free. In fact I bet it makes them feel uncomfortable.

I don’t believe in accidents but that’s not the point. I think Howard Hugh’s said it best when he was qouted as saying that ‘a corporation does not have a soul’ and therefore when applied to this situation it’s not about feelings as much as making sure it does not happen again.

And yes I would say that I tell them accidents are not acceptable.

I’m sure I may not come across as sympathetic but at the same time I don’t expect my employees to accept my mistakes either.

I like this idea but how many screw-ups are aloud before just firing the guy?

If you are looking for honest input, this comes across as neither sympathetic or reasonable.

Accidents do happen. It is unreasonable to think that they won’t, either to you or your employees. If we don’t “accept” that they will happen then we are setting ourselves up for frustrations because they absolutely will happen. I think it is unacceptable to react unwisely when accidents do happen. It is unacceptable to fail to learn and correct the problem when an accident happens, which will allow us to avoid repeating the mistake. It’s also unacceptable to demand perfection when it’s not possible.