A reader writes: “When I suggested to the prospect that we conduct a final inspection a few days before we started the contract, they acted offended and claimed we were not operating in good faith. What gives?”

My first response is, “What are they trying to hide?”

Unfortunately I may be a skeptic but most customers would welcome your being proactive by conducting a final inspection to document the current condition of the contract site. Perhaps it would have been best to telegraph your intentions ahead of time. If they will not allow you to conduct a formal inspection before the contract start then I would be visiting the site incognito to get a feel for the current state of cleanliness throughout the building. It is very possible the incumbent BSC (Building Service Contractor) has been letting performance slide since they were given notice of their termination. If this is the case, you may have to either charge an initial cleanup fee or negotiate some services to be performed on the next six months once you take ownership.

In more than one instance, I have had clients who were required by the wording in the contract to immediately remedy floor work, carpet care and even windows within the first thirty days or face deductions. In at least one case, the BSC dutifully performed the work and was then terminated with the customer bringing the former service back to a much cleaner building. The BSC had no recourse based on how the contract was worded and they lost their shirt purchasing equipment and setting up the account only to have it cancelled for no apparent reason.

As a professional service, I always recommend a final inspection immediately before start up to determine who is paying for what. It is just good business.

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