On occasion, I will receive a request for clarification of a statement or point made in a prior article. This is always encouraging since it reaffirms someone is actually reading the articles and hopefully benefitting from the content. I was recently contacted by a company that is negotiating with a customer that only recognizes certain nationally published time standards. Although it may have been a simple negotiating tactic to throw the company off balance, the Building Service Contractor struggled with justifying their processes for determining their labor costs.


The quandary may be that the officially recognized time standards are lower than the ones the BSC uses which could cause credibility challenges. If that is the case, then the BSC must be able to justify their outcomes with clear, irrefutable data. Another may be that the prospective customer does not understand how nationally recognize time standards are developed and may be applying them incorrectly. In this case, the prospect may look one standard (mopping a floor) and fail to take into account setup/travel time, types of equipment/tools being utilized and required outcomes.


My suggestion to the BSC is to continue to ask the “7 Why’s” until they are satisfied with what the prospect actually wants to know. Has the BSC taken the time to explain how they arrived at the time standards or do they assume the prospect will simply accept them? Is the prospect comparing the labor hours or total contract to another proposal that may be faulty and based on the wrong data as well. More about this in a future article.


Just remember that nothing is impossible for he or she who does not have to do it. Make sure that your position is based on solid data before proceeding. 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.