As a business advisor, whenever I deal with contractors, I dream of a contractor who has a reputation based on one idea:
We start and finish what we said we would do, when we said we would do it.
That’s it. How hard could it be?
Really hard! – I know this because we try and live by the same rules at our business and we can’t pull it off every time.
If a contractor is on a job that is dependent on other contractors, the first contractor to have a delay, will start the problems for the other contractors.
- Outside contracting work is affected by the weather which is out of their control.
- Suppliers can hold up work with delayed production or shipments.
However, there are some things that could be implemented that move the business world closer to this dream:
Honesty – When a contractor knows upfront they are over-promising, just say so. What is the benefit of promising a certain date when you know you can’t deliver?
Communication – Better communication of changes in the dynamic world of business will allow others to adjust their schedules accordingly.
And most of all:
A penalty for tardiness and a reward for timeliness.
Why are most contractors missing deadlines? Because they can and it doesn’t cost them anything. Where is the motivation to fulfill a promise?
A 5% penalty for missing a deadline is a good start. How about a 5% bonus for making a deadline!
What if a contractor shows up on time, they get paid on time? For every day they are late, we add a month to the payment of their invoice?
I am aware of a small percentage of contractors who are quite reliable. We need to make sure to recognize, appreciate and reward a contractor who actually delivers on schedule.
I hope this type of positive reinforcement will spread to the majority of the other contractors until soon the dream will become a reality.