A reader writes: “We have a customer who inspects our work several hours after the work was performed which means that the restrooms, office space, break rooms, etc. have been used. They claim that they have the right to inspect any time they want to. How can we respond?”

My first response is that they are abusing the specifications which require the work to be performed to a very clear standard while not taking into account time. This means that if the work is performed at 8:30 PM each night, someone should be inspecting the work in a timely manner to verify if the work is acceptable. This account has a skeleton crew that works all night which means that high use areas such as rest rooms and break rooms are usually soiled soon after being serviced. The customer knows this but not seem to want to be bothered by this obvious fact. In my opinion, their inspections in most cases are invalid since they are not inspecting in a timely manner. Following are some suggestions that may help:

• Since the contract is coming up for renewal you should take this opportunity to put in wording that requires inspections to be conducted in a timely manner after work has been performed or accepted.

• Be sure to provide a detailed schedule of when work is actually performed each night so that they can check these areas in a timely manner.

• Also make sure that your inspection systems are accurate and detailed noting any failings that you detect and how they were corrected.

• Provide all of your inspections (paper or electronic) to the customer each day so that they have access to this information. They should be able to randomly follow up on these inspections to verify their satisfaction.

• It might also be appropriate to document that there were XX number of tenants/visitors in the building after work was performed.

• Offer to conduct joint inspections with the customer and be very open about identifying accumulated soils or missed tasks.

Unless the customer is building a case to get rid of your service, you should be able to work out a reasonable solution.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.