By Brian Hall

Most likely, the majority of construction companies offer some sort of warranty on their work, but the extent of these warranties can make or break your business. If you are bidding work, the warranty is typically stipulated by the job, but private work is another story. A proposal that is higher but offers the customer more peace of mind may get you the business. This month let’s look at some key components of your guarantee of work that protects not only the customer but your company as well.

Offering a warranty is industry standard and it alone won’t get you more business. What brings more business is communication or even over-communication with your customers and inviting them to be on the projects while you pave. According to one contractor, “The times that we did not have the customer on-site while we paved have been the times that we have had issues.” Many private jobs such as parking lot overlays, large driveways etc., don’t have a set of drawings. In these cases, the way that the customer sees the job vs. the way the contractor sees the job are opposites. Your sales team must ask the customer not what they want, but what they expect. These are two different things and it’s amazing how the customers react when you ask this.

When bidding jobs, the sales team must visit each site, walk the jobs, and develop a working relationship with the customers. This is vital because you should ask a series of questions that drills down to what kind of bid to send them. Working with the customer on-site, developing a scope of work with pics and maps, and then sending that back to them in 24 hours will win more business than you can imagine. Then a phone call to the customer requesting a site visit is a must. More times than not, you’ll be told you were the only ones to go this extra mile. Having a precise bid with arial and site photos showing each line item shows you are professional and precise. What does this have to do with warranty? This process makes it clear what the job includes, but more importantly, what it doesn’t include.

Whatever the standard time limit of your warranty (in my area, it’s one year) it should include a guarantee on the install and materials. This should also include a warranty on materials from your suppliers as well. Having that good relationship with your supplier is vital to your success. You can’t point the finger to your supplier on your job as the only name on the job is yours, so it’s your reputation on the line. These terms should be spelled out clearly. Also, include in the warranty verbiage that you are not responsible for “other’s” damage such as oil leaked, fuel spills, and or any other damage unrelated to installation. Even calling out “twist” marks and power steering twist marks as well. Many sandy mixes take 365 days to cure. You should point this out to the customers as well as send them an “asphalt care sheet” that explains all these different facets of asphalt maintenance.

Finally, how can you stand behind your work without being exploited? Doing final walks on all your projects to ensure you can do a punch list and guarantee that you have gone over and above the expectations of the job. Taking photos as well as videos and posting on social media is the insurance needed for future callbacks on the job. In the pre-construction phase, you should take pics and submit them to the customer from an app such as SpotOnSite that time stamps each pic that is taken at that time. This helps with “damages” done during construction and protects both you and the customer. Many contractors have a policy during the bid phase that we meet face-to-face with the customers and walk the project so that we can develop a bid scope. If they don’t find it important enough to take that time, do not send them a quote. If it’s not important enough of a project for them to walk it with us, it’s not important enough for you either as you are setting yourself up for failure.

Warranties protect both the customer and contractor and must be spelled out so that both parties are protected. In today’s business environment, covering your back is so important. Work smart, not hard!

Brian Hall, LeeBoy Territory Manager. He can be reached via email at Brian.Hall@Leeboy.com