Apple Inc. has grown into one of the most valuable companies on Earth, led largely by the immensely popular iPhone. However, one of the issues that has plagued Apple for years is the controversy surrounding the offshore factories in which their products are manufactured. Even though these factories offer significantly better conditions than the “average” in the Asia-Pacific region, a great deal of negative press has arisen over the years, in large part to Apple’s supposed reputation as a forward-thinking and compassionate company. In response, Apple voluntarily joined the Fair Labor Association in 2012, and CEO Tim Cook has publically committed to improving labor conditions throughout their supply chain.
Apple’s story provides insight into just how important choosing the right contractors can be, even for a company with annual revenue exceeding the GDP of more than half the countries in the world. For the rest of us mere mortals, the impact that a contractor’s work can have on our business and its reputation is even more profound, underlining the importance of choosing ethical contractors that will be a reliable and positive influence on our business. With more than 4 decades both serving as and hiring contractors, Mijac Alarm has learned a lot about what an ethical contractor looks and acts like. Here are three of the most important aspects to look for:
Be upfront about projected cost
One of the most important aspects of ethical contracting is providing customers with an accurate estimate of the costs and time required to complete a project. All too often, contractors will underestimate the amount of time and effort a project will require, and they are eventually forced to pass additional costs onto their client. Unwelcome surprises such as these can cause significant problems for the client, and can sometimes even throw their entire business strategy into disarray.
Failing to accurately project costs is not always a function of ethics; contractors must have the experience and expertise necessary to accurately predict the types of “unexpected” costs and delays that inevitably arise during projects.
Detailed estimates and invoices are also an important element of ethical contracting. Clients should know exactly what they are paying for, and contractors also benefit from being able to definitely point at the specific services they provided.
Be honest about your team’s strengths and experience
We can’t all be superstars at everything. While getting work as a contractor is important, it is also important to know when to say “no” to a job. The fact of the matter is that each contractor is going to have areas of expertise and areas in which they are simply not able to produce a high-quality product for their client. An unethical contractor might try to fake being an expert in a particular area, but the best contractors will be honest about their limitations, and will recommend another contractor or subcontractor to perform the job.
Great contractors know that their honesty will be rewarded down the road, often through future projects or referrals from the client (or even the contractor you sent the client to!).
Be open and transparent about any subcontractors that are hired onto a particular job
One of the realities of contracted work is the fact that subcontractors are almost always necessary to complete a project. Everything from electrical work to plumbing work to construction requires completely different skillsets. An ethical contractor will be upfront with the subcontractors they choose to hire for a particular project, and will give the client a detailed list (and final approval) on which subcontractors are used on a particular project.
Mijac Alarm is in the somewhat-unique position of often serving as both a subcontractor and effectively as the contractor overseeing all (or a large part) of a project for our clients. We pride ourselves on more than 43 years of serving our community in an ethical manner. At Mijac Alarm, we understand that the contractors you hire are a direct reflection on your company, and we do everything in our power to uphold not only our own reputation, but also the reputation of our clients and customers.
For more information about hiring Mijac Alarm as a contractor, or to learn more about Mijac Alarm’s home and commercial fire and security systems, please call us during regular business hours at (909)982-7612, or visit our main website by clicking here.
Image credit: Flickr
Written and edited by: Ian Eckstein and Steve Sopkin