Chris/Alex, if this is in the wrong location, please feel free to move it. Thanks.
I’ve had an issue a couple of times over the last month with a couple of my guys not doing great work. Nothing major at any one home… a drip here, a smear there, a streak there. Gotten 3 callbacks from customers in the last 5 weeks with poor quality complaints like that.
I’ve personally gone out and fixed each of the issues (none of them were a big deal, no more than half an hour) but I’m wondering what the best way is to approach this.
Do you make the guy who messed it up go out and fix it? Do you pay him for his time? Just working time, or driving as well?
Is there any kind of “disciplinary action” taken for work that’s not perfect? What sort of action? Thanks.
You’re right. By “piece work” do you mean a percentage of each job they do?
Paying hourly, definitely have to pay them. There can still be a penalty though that comes out of their pay. But should there be?
Are you out in the field with them or is there a supervisor? It should be the responsibility of whoever is in charge. If its one or two quality issues every week then that type of stuff can be caught with a good final walkthrough usually.
I definately send the original crew out to fix it. You have to remember not to “Jump the gun” in these situations. I have dealt with this with all of my crews. Earlier this Summer, I had one crew that were basically doing the bare minimum clean just to get done as early as possible. 1-2 complaints per week it seemed like they were getting. I went out to inspect one of the jobs and it looked like total hell. I could have had my 13 year old son do it with windex and it would have looked better (im not joking). I have since wrote them up and they are on probation. You have to document their screw ups as well. We use a form called a “trouble ticket” when a customer calls back in to voice a complaint. Its printed on bright yellow paper and goes into their outbox for the rest of the crews to see it. It does seem like since the economy tanked, people are becoming more and more picky over silly things. I got a call just last week because one of the crews forgot to hang a wreath back on a front door after they cleaned the window. My suggestion is to investigate complaints and if they are legit, bring it up to your guys a in a way that doesnt come over as being really harsh but gets the point across.
I dont pay my guys for mistakes and call backs. They end up losing 1-2 hours on a call back with travel time etc. To combat my problems this year I made a checklist for the client to go over when the guys were wrapping up so they can take care of anything the client isnt happy with before the guys leave. Obviously there are some things that can still be overlooked but it should cut down on call backs almost completely, it did for me.
Create a system for your men. Write it down on paper exactly what you want them to do step by step starting from when they leave your office to the time they get back.
Where to park etc…even what to say.
Have them do a quality control check themselves before they approach the client, and have them give the client a customer sign off sheet. The client would have to agree that the quality is tops before paying.
Now, most clients don’t have the time for checking all the work. The main point is, that your men know that their work is going to be checked before they leave and they won’t be able to get out of there until the job is done and done right.
Once you have that system in place, if they don’t follow it, they don’t want their job. One write up, and can em. Yes, pay them to go back. Only do that once though, and the second time- the crew leader is fired. Promote one from that crew into that position. That should take care of the problem, because that crew now knows you are serious and if he values his job he will do what his previous superior did not do.
When I send out a crew to do-over job, its totally on their time. I do have to pay for the fuel because they use my vans. I will try to schedule the do over job when they are in that area. They are commission so they dont get paid. Fixing an employees work yourself has no consequences to it. I have put do overs on their schedule when their schedule is packed just to teach them a lesson. Like the saying goes “make money the first time, lose money the second time”.
Jay, I’m not usually out in the field…but there is not a clearly defined “supervisor” on my team of two. They just have worked together. I personally trained both of them in. Thoughts on that? Should I have a supervisor?
Basically its a extremely well designed form that took me 4 years to develop. It forces a lot of accountability. We have almost 0 call backs because of it.
@ the bottom it has an area for the lead worker on site to initial and individually check out off that the sills, screens, glass and tracks have been perfectly cleaned. Then there is an identical area for the customer to walk through and check off that everything is perfect. This will save you a lot of headaches!
In Canada at least you can’t take anything off their cheque except the regular deductions (tax etc.) You can’t take off advances, you can’t take off breakages, you can’t even take off money if they steal money from you. If there’s a problem you can sue them in court but their pay is untouched.
Have they both been with you for the same amount of time? More importantly are they making the same amount of money? If they have then you can probably get away without a clearly defined supervisor. You could make whoever deals with customers better the point man.
I’ve been in companys where the supervisor is like a buddy and where the supervisor is the Boss, he can fire you. The latter is the way to go if you are going to try and have a supervisor and there should be a big difference in pay and he should also be the driver etc or even have his own vehicle to take home.
For myself, when I had a franchise I hired a buddy I’ve known for 20 Years, all he ever did was clean windows. I could never effectively supervise him because we’re equals in window cleaning and were friends. When I got complaints about his work I’d go back with him to look at it. Watch him fix it up. It’s embarrassing for him so that gets the message across. That’s probably what I’d do with these two guys, take them to the house, who did that, fix it. If that doesn’t do anything for their motivation or worse one or both get passive aggressive, I’d fire somebody. I’d also in the short term heavily supervise them. Even clean with them a few days, show the flag so to speak, it’s never a good idea to get to relaxed with employees and let them run the show at their pace and quality. Always check them. I was always a good employee but I’ve seen so much crap that others have done I’m paranoid when someone works for me.
I had this guy for snow removal once, he started with me late fall when I need help and I kept him for snow. He was 6’9, he started get more and more relaxed and I let it go because it’s hard to find people to show up for snow. Next thing he’s playing a little hand held game thing between drive ways, a few storms later he asks me if it was ok to have a beer. I said what? He had beer in his gym bag. that was the last day I worked with him. But part of that was my fault I think. Poor boss on my part.
I’m not Jay, although I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy.
Should You have a supervisor? Let me ask you this. When you have people come into your home to do work for you are you okay with not having at least 1 person who is in charge of YOUR job and whose job it is, is to make sure things are done right at your home? When your guys are out on a job, which one gets the check at the end of the job?
With these call backs, is it generally a spot on just one window, or are multiple windows not done perfect? If it’s one window it may have been something that was simply overlooked. A form like Chris suggested should take care of that.
If these drips, smears, and smudges are happening on more then one window per a house, maybe they need a little more training. Maybe slow down a little. Make sure they’re using new rubbers on each job.
I’ve thought about offering a small bonus per house if there is no complaints after maybe two weeks. I don’t have employee’s yet, because of things like this. But I’ve been thinking of ways to handle this when I do hire.
I see you’re new to WCR - Welcome! We’re almost neighbors, almost. lol.
He said it takes an average of 1/2 hour to fix up, he also said it’s no big deal but to me that’s HUGE. I can do a lot of work in half an hour…and I certainly wouldn’t offer up bonuses to employees just to do their job properly. That bonus will soon become an entitlement in their eyes and will likely cause resentment and even more poor performance when it is withheld. Bonuses are for going above and beyond.
I still think I would take them with me and watch them clean up their own mess. And if that got to be a habit, Adios.
Jay and aintjemama, Thanks for your thoughts on having a supervisor. I’m going to continue to think about that. Right now I’m starting to lean towards appointing one of them the supervisor and giving a raise, along with increasing his accountability for the jobs.
It’s been just a window or two per house… something that they should have caught with a walkthrough.
Micah, thanks for the welcome! I’m not exactly new to WCR - just new to logging in and posting on here. I’ve been a WCR Stalker for over two years now. lol I will probably give you a call this week and discuss soft washing with you, if that’s ok.