You finished the job last week. This week you get a call from the owner:
The floor squeaks -- or a door or windows doesn’t close quite right -- or there’s a wet spot on the ceiling -- or a pipe in the basement is leaking.
If you’ve been in construction for a while, you could add more examples to my list. So what should you do when you get a call-back? I’ve got a suggestion -- a suggestion that could save both your reputation and some grief.
Most contractors take responsibility for obvious defects in materials and workmanship. That’s an easy choice. It’s the law in most states. It’s also what your clients expect. We live in an economy where vendors make refunds on merchandise that doesn’t live up to expectations. That’s simply good business. Contractors don’t have to make refunds. But they have the same obligation to meet expectations
The essence of a warranty claim is the right to collect money damages. That’s not where you want to be. Call-backs aren’t about money. The owner just wants your crew to check the problem and make it right. That’s perfectly reasonable. You did the work and probably know best what’s needed. Your cost of making repairs is likely much less than hiring another contractor to do the work. And there are other advantages. Doing the right thing earns the owner’s confidence. That builds your reputation. It’s also an opportunity to sell more work.
- An owner who doesn’t give notice of a defect within the call-back period waives the right to repair or replacement.
- You have the right to test and inspect any claimed defect during the call-back period.
- You have the right to an opinion from an independent expert before beginning repairs.
- The call-back period starts early on any part of the work an owner occupies early.
- Exclude from call-back protection anything covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.