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WorldsCoolestExterminator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back story: I run a pest control business. We do general pest and termite control. Also handle crawl space moisture problems. We have a pest specialists and then we have repair specialists (carpenters) for termite/moisture damage repair. We deal with sometimes multiple little items on a job, almost like a punchlist. I don't personally oversee any job site during completion, however check each for quality afterward. And have to send crews back more often than I like for little things. Some jobs take 2-3 hours, some take 2-3 weeks.

So here's my question for those with independent crews: How do you ensure high % of completed jobs without needing to send crews back?

I have thought about creating written systems for every process (100's) which would take months but could be worth it.

Considered hiring a project manager that visits sites all day. Who's job it would be to ensure completion. However that could add quite a bit to job costs.

What is your system for ensuring quality, the first time. Thanks

-MJ
 

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Accidental Painter
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2,292 Posts
Everything you do repetitively is a system. Mostly unwritten. If you expect consistency across subs or employees, the only way is to write it down. Short term it is very time consuming, but needed.

I am in this stage myself right now with painting. Writing down how I do things so when I hire, I can train them & they can have a fallback.
 

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That is what the e myth book is all about, never read it myself but some people treat it like the bible. My opinion is unless you have something repetitive like retail work you could spend your whole career writing systems and never use the same one twice. Small business group around hear pushes it hard.

I would say get a better crew, lead guy or a super if you have that many issues with the work. It takes a long time to build a good reputation but only a few bad jobs to get a bad one. Is it worth taking the chance at a bad rep?
 

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WorldsCoolestExterminator
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've read e-myth, multiple times. I guess I wanted clarification based real world experience. Most jobs are 98% right, but it's little things that get missed and never the same little things.

I def agree that it only takes a few bad to ruin a rep. I will avoid that fate because I will solve this riddle.:jester:
 

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2,247 Posts
We have a company policy book that we constantly update. In the policy book we have a list of things the employees must do such as they are required to check a job three times. Two times when they are finished and one entire and complete check of every inch before they drive away. the Policy book tells the employees not to park in driveways, not to smoke, not to use the customer's restroom (that is a hot topic on CT), where to dump dirty water and on and on.

The employees are given a check list and they have to sign on each item on the list and attach the checklist to the contract. If they fail to check something and it comes back to bite them then they are put at the bottom of the totem pole and will pay dearly by making less money that other employees for a few week, months, or even years.

One example is, I have an employee who has been with my company more than 20 years. About 6 years ago he argued with me over splitting a 5% commission with another employee for installing a water heater. I told the employee that if he didn't do what was stated in our policies I would never give him another job for a water as long as he worked for my company. He refused to five the other employee his 5% commission. Each one of my employees get about 3 water heater jobs per week that earn them $240 each and I never gave that employee another water heater job for the past 6 years. he constantly asks me why and I remind him of the incident and that is how I let employees know that they will lose a significant amount of money when they don't adhere to my policies.

The best way to get employees to do things right is to spot-check the jobs and show up when least expected. Act like you care when you check a job and check everything very thoroughly. When I find things wrong I will usually have my employees stop working and for a few minutes I will take them away from the job and tell them firmly that what I see wrong is not acceptable.

Getting employees to work with precision is possible, but it requires a lot of hard work on your part. If you work at it for a while your employees will EVENTUALLY realize that you mean business.

As the saying goes:

"Say what you mean and mean what you say"

If you don't make what you want clear and if you don't work hard to stick with what you say then you send your employees mixed messages that tell them what you say is not all that important.

Employees have to be accountable for their errors. It is not always practical to fire them and in most instances it is probably against the law to reduce their paycheck. The only way I find I can punish them is by making it clear that I have full control of the amounts they earn and I will bench them so their pay will be significantly reduced.

I have an 'All Business' attitude with my employees. I make it very clear that the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is to make as much money as possible and I will not let any employee screw up one of my jobs where I lose one penny. We have company meetings every week where I make my policies clear and meetings are one of the most valuable things we do that teaches our employees what we want from them.
 

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I am currently trying to document the process for all the work we do
I believe the way I do things is the most efficient way to do it and give the best possible quality of finish.

I want my employees to know the exact process and want them to do it that way, if it is written down into a manual it is there in black & white so there is no excuses for not doing it that way but by giving it to them in a written manual I could also be giving it to my competition
If I tell them how to do each step they forget or say I never told them

Any thoughts on this?
 
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