There are a number of priorities that business owners can and typically do have with their companies, and the realm of ethics is a key entry on any such list. Being ethical in your practices, pricing and all other services to clients is very important, and a great example here is for anyone who runs a contracting business.
At Contractors School, we're happy to offer a wide range of support services to varying contractors and their businesses, from continuing education and license courses to help with maintaining an existing business in several ways. What are some of the top areas that contractors who run a contracting business have to consider when it comes to proper ethics, and how do these impact both you and your clients daily? Here's a simple primer.
Within the contracting world, one of the biggest areas that is often overlooked when it comes to ethical practices is the source of materials and/or services offered by a business. This means taking the time to do research on reputable sources for products or services, as well as ensuring any new materials are not just sourced for the cheapest price but with an eye towards ethically-sourced suppliers who use sustainable practices.
For example, if you're looking to source lumber for a project, it's important to partner with a supplier who understands the importance of sustainable forestry and certified wood. Or if you're looking for services, make sure vendors are properly insured, bonded and reputable in their industry.
Another major area of consideration for contractors and their businesses, when it comes to ethics, is pricing and how customers are billed. It's essential to keep customers aware of all costs associated with a job while also being open and honest in the way any work is priced out or services offered.
Make sure you can explain why certain materials or services cost more than others, if asked, and never overcharge a customer or try to hide any of the expenses associated with a job. Additionally, make sure bills are broken down in an easy-to-understand way that clearly shows what each item costs and how customers should expect to pay for it.
Changes and delays are a part of the contracting world, but it's important to make sure that any changes or delays are communicated to customers quickly and with a clear explanation of why the delay is necessary, what was changed and what the new timeline looks like.
It's also essential to never overpromise on services and to always be ready to adjust plans if needed. This can involve developing a set of contingency plans that can be enacted quickly if needed, such as using alternate materials or finding an additional contractor to help with the job.
Both from a safety standpoint and a legal one, it's important that contractors remain up-to-date on any local, state and federal regulations or rules regarding their work. This can involve taking continuing education courses to keep certification levels updated, as well as proper safety regulations such as using personal protective equipment when needed and making sure all workers are properly trained for the job at hand.
You'd be surprised how easily something like this can be overlooked, but it's essential to properly train workers and make sure they are regularly informed of any changes to regulations or rules that may affect the job.
Another key area of ethical considerations for a contractor is the contracts they use and how their team follows through on any promises made. Make sure that all contracts are fair, accurately explain any services being offered and properly list out any costs associated with them.
Additionally, make sure that your team always follows through on the agreements laid out in the contract - from pricing to timelines to materials and services - and that any changes are communicated promptly and accurately.
These five pieces of advice should help contractors make sure they maintain the highest standards of ethical practices in their business dealings. By following these tips, you can ensure that both yourself and your customers are being treated fairly and honestly, while also allowing you to build a reputation as an ethical contractor.
For more on the important area of ethics for your contracting business, or to learn about any of our services for contractors across Utah, speak to our team at Contractors School today.