A reader asks: "Our onsite supervisor has failed to abide by the contract specifications and the customer now expects us to continue this practice without due compensation. Any ideas of how we can satisfy them and keep the contract?"

I seem to be encountering this type question more often and believe that it is primarily due to lack of a solid business structure on the part of management. Most of our problems have their genesis in either failing to read and understand the contract or getting off track due to other issues that tend to take precedence. Failing to read and understand the contract can be fatal in many cases. If the property manager or building owner has had bad experiences in the past, he/she may add additional language to protect themselves. This is only natural but can lead to confusion and lost contracts in some cases.

It is very important that you, not just the onsite supervisor, carefully read and understand the contract BEFORE signing it. If there is any questionable language, the time to clarify is before, not after signing. Perhaps you were eager to close the deal and assumed that after start up you can approach the customer with suggested changes. If that is the case, then there should be clear wording in the contract that allows you a 30, 60 or 90 day review to retune the specifications and ostensibly find ways of improving it for a win/win outcome. Most customers will be open to such a suggestion. What they will not allow is your admitting that you failed to read the contract clearly and now need to change it.

There is no such thing as a "standard contract" and each must be read and applied as it is worded.

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.