While every contractor may have his or her favorite – do you know what is truly the most valuable tool in your toolbox?

Is it your measuring tape?

Your cordless screw gun?

Your level?

Nope, nope, and nope. It’s actually none of the above.

Believe it or not, the most valuable tool in your toolbox is a simple slip of paper with these three words written at the top: “CHANGE ORDER FORM.”

Think back. How many times have you been on a job and have heard the following from a customer: “Oh, while you’re here…”

The reason this sounds so familiar is because it happens all the time.

Keep in mind: If you do this “while you’re here” work and fail to get written authorization from your customer in advance, chances are slim to none that you are going to be paid for it.

Your response to these frequent “by the way” requests determines whether you work for free or if you get paid for your time and efforts.

You are on the job because you can perform tasks that your customer either cannot do OR does not want to do.  Considerable overhead costs are incurred during the operation of your business. Tools, trucks, office space, insurance, licensing, communications (cellphone, computer, Internet, etc.) advertising, marketing and other needs all cost money. These expenses must be accounted for in the bidding process and while on-the-job.

Consider this: Accountants, lawyers, doctors, and similar professionals are paid for their expertise and knowledge. They know where the rocks are so you can cross the stream without getting your feet wet.

You also have skills and knowledge that others do not.  And you need to be paid for your experience and expertise.

There is a proper response to the all-too common “while you’re here” request.

Repeat after me: “Sure, let’s take a look.”

Then, after taking a look, be sure to determine the scope of work, the materials required, and the estimated time for completion. You can ballpark an estimate for your customer or follow up later with a firm number. Either way, a change order form should be submitted and signed by the customer to rule out any and all confusion.

Sure, you may be presented with the argument that since you are already on-site, you will not need to make a separate trip. And that is true, and something that should be taken into consideration when quoting the additional work.  But the bottom line is this: You must be paid for your work – or you will not succeed!

Moving forward, always state in your initial proposal that any additional work will be acknowledged through a signed change order form.

Summer has arrived. Decks are not only being installed and/or improved, but so many homeowners are eager to make the most out of their backyards, particularly on the heels of a pandemic that has made traditional seasonal getaways more challenging in the short-term. Having a change order form on hand allows you to easily upgrade projects to include a DEK Drain® drainage system, transforming an ordinary deck install into an exceptional project your customers will be talking about for years to come. Better yet, it provides you with added revenue.

Contact us here or call 1-866-DEK-DRAIN to learn more!

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