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Call Backs - On Whos Money? #176597 04/07/08 08:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 138
PE&Master Offline OP
Just curious to see how my fellow contractors are handling call backs and do you track them?

Say, you send a guy out, he spends an hour or two, tells the customer it's fixed, charges the customer and then leaves. Next day the customer calls back, it's not working.

How many times do you pay a guy to fix something? I suppose if he finds another problem that's billable, you're ok. If it's a wire popped out of a wire nut - that's just sloppy work.

If it's just poor work or lack of attention, the guy should fix it off the clock. Many years ago, I belonged to the largest electricians organization (that doesn't need mentioning here) that required you to fix your own problems on your own time. It was spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement.

After all, how many times can you pay someone for the same job?

Last edited by PE&Master; 04/07/08 08:33 AM.
Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: PE&Master] #176599 04/07/08 09:23 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 47
BryanInBalt Offline
Originally Posted by PE&Master
Just curious to see how my fellow contractors are handling call backs and do you track them?

After all, how many times can you pay someone for the same job?

Anyone can miss something or just plain mess up now and then.

If there is a repeating nature or pattern to it however...
Write him up for the later 'with cause' dismissal, but in the mean time it is illegal to NOT pay an employee for their time.

But you already knew all this, right? wink

Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.
Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: BryanInBalt] #176601 04/07/08 10:19 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 138
PE&Master Offline OP
Well aware of the legal issues with paying for hours worked, but I'm also aware of interns/trainees in many fields who work for free (well, in exchange for 'training').
In the union agreement, if you didn't do it right you did it again on your time.

I've also heard of getting another sparky to fix it and back charge the employee.

I know it's hard - but somebody has to be accountable.

Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: PE&Master] #176603 04/07/08 11:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
sparkyinak Offline
As much as we hate paperwork, document, document, document. If it does come down to disiplinary action, you have ammo. It he or she tries to fight it, you have back up. When I made an occasional mistake, I ate it not my employer. I do not like pay for someone elses mistakes so why should any one pay for mine. I like that agreement of of fixing your mistakes of your time. That will learn you and makes for better electricians.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: sparkyinak] #176607 04/07/08 05:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
gfretwell Offline
Companies who try to back charge employees or make them fix problems on their own time do it at their peril. It is a violation of the labor laws in most states.
You really need to have a formal warning program in place and simply let the worker go when they get their three strikes. Sparky is right you need to document the whole process. Nobody likes to get fired but if you went through the whole process, signing the warnings along the way it shouldn't be shocking to you.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: gfretwell] #176608 04/07/08 06:50 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 85
WireNuts29 Offline
I can tell you this, if you make an employee think he/she may be liable financially for mistakes, you will create a double edged sword. One problem would be an employee taking less initiative to do work they have not done before. If my company said for me to personally go fix something that inadvirtantly got left out,on my time I'd tell them to you know what. If I willfully dropped the ball there would definately be a written warning, as stated in our handbook. Neglagence, and mistakes are two very different things, and who's to say which. You need to get it in writing, warnings signed by employee.
Another thing would be as stated in the original post, a wirenut falling off is poor workmanship. If you send the same employee to trouble shoot his own work, and he reports back to you(the boss) that his work was the reason for the call back, said employee is too honest, and too stupid. if said employee finds loose wire connection and fixes it, I'd hope he could cover his own ass, and "find" another problem. Thats just my honest 2cents

Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: WireNuts29] #176611 04/07/08 07:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Employers need to be ensure that their employees like them. An employee takes the employer's truck and material and goes for a drive. They are trusted to look after those things, to work efficiently and to bill time honestly. When an employee feels short-changed, he will balance the account, himself.

I worked for an employer who discovered that the Labour Standards Act didn't require coffee breaks. It was surprising the number of times that employees would take a little breather because they didn't know when the next break would be.

If you have call backs, suck it up. At least you know who the problem is.

Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: twh] #176614 04/07/08 08:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
Had a EC here in town that was having a problem with one of his men with call backs, he wrote up every call, then warned him in writing, as it turned out it was good he did the guy was a drug user, and after checking jobs he did with a good look, poor craftsman work, and many dangerous violations, the guy was always in a hurry to get his next fix, no time for work.

Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: LK] #176619 04/07/08 09:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
gfretwell Offline
Most drug/alcohol users actually get caught that way. If you are watching a guy work it doesn't take long to figure out he is either stoned or just the dumbest guy on the planet. In either case, you should have him "seek other opportunities".
The only good thing about a drunk/druggie is you can fire him on the spot, a dumb guy needs to follow the process and that might be a long and winding road if you don't want to eat the unemployment and potential lawsuit.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Call Backs - On Whos Money? [Re: gfretwell] #176622 04/07/08 09:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
FWIW ...

A plumbing contractor I know has a rather complicated accounting system ...

Apart from the base wage, there are bonuses for work developed, as well as several special accounts. One of these accounts is used to offset call-backs. Monies not 'spent' on call-backs are, at certain set points, paid to the worker.

There is a real need for the worker to have direct feedback on his performance. You can't improve without it.

Naturally, I would say that it's ONE call-back for a job ... if there's a second, it's time for management to get out from behind the desk, and go see what is really going on!

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