A reader comments: “We have been asked by a customer to provide a quote outside the contract for cleaning the air vents in several buildings. Is there a cleaning times standard for this and how do I go about it where I give them a good price?”

Before I get into the actual cleaning of the vents, this is a good example of tag work. Let me pause here to address this issue.

Tag work is usually a good source of additional income so long as you are qualified to perform the work. When you are not qualified, you may need to bring in a sub-contractor who can perform the work correctly and safely. It may be that you are limited due to the necessary equipment or expertise required.

Make sure the customer understands that you have their best interests at heart and that you, as the contractor, are responsible for the final outcomes. It is important that any sub-contractors understand and abide by the same rules/regulations you have agreed to. They may need to provide documentation for adequate insurance or certifications or even security clearances before you can approve their work. I have seen situations where the contractor’s insurance rates increased the next year since there was not proof the sub-contractor has the appropriate insurance. I know of other situations where the winning bid could not perform the task due to failing background checks or other security measures. This resulted in the contractor having to hire a higher priced service that met the minimum requirements. Guess who paid for the difference? In that case, the lowest bid was not the lowest acceptable bid and everyone lost.

You should only take on work that your staff can handle unless you are willing to risk OJT (On the Job Training) that can be expensive if you have to re-perform the work at your own expense.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net