I was sitting with a fellow contractor recently, having a drink and just talking about business; when, as it often does with us, the discussion turned to customers that have been a pain. You know the kind we were talking about. The ones that have you waking up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat or make you want to break beer bottles barehanded.
He had been having fits, with one such client and just needed to cry in his beer for a while. As it turned out though I was able give him a little bit of advice that would have helped him avoid the entire issue if he had only known it earlier.
Tale of Woe
The gist of his story was that he had installed some Can Lights for a law firm located in and old converted house with plaster ceilings. That was his biggest mistake, working for lawyers, but anyway. Each of these lights was mounted directly over a desk and as you can imagine the firms work was disrupted and quite a bit of a mess was made from his guys cutting the holes to mount the lights.
He runs a good company and his people used drop cloths and swept and vacuumed when they were finished making sure to leave everything nice and neat. You would think that would be the end of the story, but about a week after the work was completed, he received a letter from the firm claiming damage to their computers, air conditioning system and health issues from an employee who has asthma. Needless to say, the claim from the lawyers far exceeded his profits from the job, but they were nice enough to offer, calling it a wash if he would simply cancel the invoice for the work his people had done.
Driller’s Dust Bowl
To me the saddest part of this story is that it could have been avoided if my friend had equipped his people with a simple little device that I have been using for quite some time, the Driller’s Dust Bowl.
It is a very simple device that consists of a flexible bowl that mounts over the end of your drill and hole saw. When you press it up against any flat surface, it forms a seal and catches the dust as the saw cuts. It doesn’t require any modification to your drill and can be installed or removed in about a minute. Overall, I would say they are about 98 percent effective.
I originally bought these because they would save my guys from a lot of extra cleanup work and from eating dust when they have to work overhead. By now you should know my philosophy about making my guys’ lives as easy as possible. I take care of them; they take care of my business and respecting my customers’ property. Leave it better than you found it, but it never occurred to me they could help avoid a lawsuit.
I would also like to add that we have spread the word, about this particular client, among our fellow tradesman and he had better hope that he doesn’t have a leaky roof, stopped up toilet or any other issues. He might have a very hard time finding anyone who isn’t booked solid.
Until next time, keep the coffee hot, the beer cold and don’t forget to like us on Facebook.