Category Archives: Business 101

Business 101: Understanding the Convoluted “Order Request”

Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Latest posts by Organics Admin (see all)

 Yes, the ones that drive you nuts and take 35 minutes of deciphering to understand

Work Orders and "Order Requests" make you fell like you're navigating a maze???
Work Orders and “Order Requests” make you fell like you’re navigating a maze???

 

For sometime now people have been asking about how to deal with the convoluted legal speak in contracts and work orders. Send us you sections that you are having a tough time deciphering and we’ll do our best to assist.

 

Now for whatever reason the National Asset Management Companies (NAMC) chose to use these blanket generic Work Order “Order Requests”… well me the ever “Conspiracy Theorist” says it is to purposely confuse you so they  can institute a back charge from you and get the work done for free….Just Sayin’…

One thing I have always hated is a statement like this:

Order Request

Upon acceptance of this order, please visit the subject property and ensure all applicable HVAC components are functional, ON, and set to the required settings. When applicable, vendor is to ensure gas valve to the furnace is opened and the furnace pilot light has been lit, and gas valve or circuit breaker to the water heater is turned ‘OFF’; or in the case of a property being heated using fuel oil or liquid propane, confirm the tank has oil to operate heat and advise if the tank requires a fill up. All breakers/fuses are to be turned to the ‘ON’ position, and where applicable, ensure circuits to the well are ‘OFF’. Inspect and set the thermostat to 80 degrees cooling and 55 degrees heating. Identify the presence and operating condition of any sump pump. Vendor is also to identify the presence of and operating condition of any boiler or radiant heating system and ensure the system is functioning

I used to hate Five Brothers work orders that were 27 pages long and wanted you to install a lock box. Again, this is IMHO../ this a company being lazy and forcing the Boots on the Ground Contractor to become confused and unable to complete a work order in the manner that it should be completed. That said…

Let us examine this contradictory “Order Request”…

 ensure all applicable HVAC components are functional…

First of all…Are you a qualified HVAC Inspector? Are you properly Licensed? And again will you insurance cover any oppsies you may have because you’re not a licensed HVAC company?

 When applicable, vendor is to ensure gas valve to the furnace is opened and the furnace pilot light has been lit, and gas valve or circuit breaker to the water heater is turned ‘OFF’;

Again you are being required to do something that may be a little out of your scope. However when you break this down you are being asked to light the pilot light on the heater and make sure the gas valve is off.

Now  this is something you should check with your local utility company as in some jurisdictions the ordinances actually state that a “qualified person” light the pilot light. IMHO, someone from PG&E has lobbied the city council so they can bill a $45 service call to come light the pilot lights. Something to keep in mind, Most gas companies will do this as part of their service all you have to do is call. Usually if you have to have the gas turned on the representative will come and also perform what is called a “sniff test” and light the pilots for you.

Vendor is also to identify the presence of and operating condition of any boiler or radiant heating system and ensure the system is functioning

Again one is being asked to perform something that local ordinances and laws may prohibit. Are you properly licensed to perform inspections on Heating and Air Conditioning…This falls back the HVAC question and insurance issue.

Keeping in mind that radiant heating usually is under the floor so it is literally out of site out of mind. So how will you know if it is functioning correctly? Do you know how to set the temperature of a radiant heating system? Do you know what temperature you need to set the system at to have the house at 55 degrees?

While these are all things one learns in the Property Preservation Industry via the school of hard knocks and on the fly. Another reason I believe there needs to be a licensing classification and education and testing for the Property Preservation Industry. However, until that day comes,  if you’re smart you’ll take advantage of the information in the new NAARPI International University Library for their Membership and pull up the information on Radiant Heating and you’ll be able to learn a little something about this type of systems functionality. THIS DOES NOT mean you’ll be a “qualified person” as some licensing laws require, however, it will provide you with the tools to be well informed about radiant heating systems.

Now IMHO…the Order request should be presented in this manner…

o   Upon acceptance of this order, please visit the subject property and ensure all applicable HVAC components are functional, ON, and set to the required settings.

o   If applicable, is gas valve to the furnace opened and the furnace pilot light lit.

o   Is gas valve or circuit breaker to the water heater turned ‘OFF’;

o   If property is being heated using fuel oil or liquid propane

o   confirm the tank has oil to operate heat

o    advise if the tank requires a fill up.

o   Are all breakers/fuses turned to the ‘ON’ position,

o   Are circuits to the well are ‘OFF’.

o   Inspect and set the thermostat to 80 degrees cooling and 55 degrees heating.

o   What is the  operating condition of any sump pump, if present

o   Is the boiler or radiant heating system functioning

But then again I’m an easily confused country bumpkin blogger that don’t have no clue…That is if you let Truth Hurts tell it. But that’s a story for another time. I do hope that this helps you somewhat. I have found that if I take my time, read things three, four times if necessary and then make a check list of the convoluted mess these nitwit desk jockey’s send trying to confuse everyone so they can receive services for free by using the…again IMHO…quasi illegal back charging system that is prevalent in the Property Preservation Industry.

Hey do you have a contract section or work order section you’re having a problem with? Send it to us and we’ll break it down for you and share the results with everyone and see if maybe we can bring attention and help educate everyone at the same time. Remember, most work orders and contracts have been crafted by a legal team…never hurts to have another opinion.

ALWAYS REMEMBER; I’m not an attorney, I do not provide legal advise. I do however, attempt to make thing understandable for the lay-person…that is me and you…

Happy Hump Day All!!!

Until Next Time

Happy Gardening

Opinions expressed do not reflect that of Aladay LLC Ownership

Business 101… Understanding “Contract Speak”

Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Latest posts by Organics Admin (see all)

Understanding every aspect of your contract is Important.

There is Always light at the end of the tunnel
There is Always light at the end of the tunnel

 

It is never a bad thing to ask questions about contract sections should they not be clear to you. Over the past couple weeks I have received from several different areas of the country a section of contract that reflects some rather, IMHO lopsided agreements. Now in all fairness to everyone, and since this section seems to be very common in what I refer to Lop-sided contracts favoring the National Asset management Companies (NAMC), this is not a dig at any one company in particular, as I do believe that all the respondents that sent this in have different clients…I’m just kinda poking all of them with a stick today…

Now if you remember from The Video Series from Aladay LLC Media Productions called Understanding Your Contract, one of the key elements in a contract is;

“Mutuality of Agreement” the definition of which is;

Mutuality of agreement is a legal principle that provides that unless both parties to a contract are bound to perform, neither party is bound to perform, i.e., the contract is void.

What this means is that you are at liberty to make what is called an “addendum”, or ask for a mutually agreeable section of your contract. Now I know what many of you are thinking, “they won’t listen”. However, if you deliver and present your issue correctly you should be able to negotiate contract terms that are fair to both sides.

That said let us examine the following section of a contract and discuss how you can go about creating an amicable agreement for your organization.

 By Signing below I hereby acknowledge that I understand the following:

  •       All discounts have been taken out of the prices listed. They reflect the final payment to vendor per job type.

Pretty straightforward so far. Whatever price you see listed is what you will be paid.

  •       These prices should only be used as a guide and prices are subject to change without notice.

Now we have a problem…change without notice???? As in the middle of the job? There is no real guideline spelled out for the change. There is also nothing in writing protecting both parties from “open to interpretation” liabilities.

Now here is how you can create an addendum to counter this section..remember regardless of what most think contracts can and should be negotiated, never be afraid to make a counter offer.

ABC Service Provider agrees to accept pricing changes ONLY on future projects, assignments. ABC Service provider will only complete work orders with pre-agreed upon pricing and pricing on issued and accepted work orders is not and will not be subjected to this provision. In addition ABC service Provider will not accept any changes to pricing or fees on bids that have not been approved without negotiations of said bid.

  •       All vendors are required to complete work issued from every client and may not reject any work order within their coverage area.

This is becoming the norm and actually has been a standard of practice for as long as I can remember in the industry.

RECOMMENDATION…Make sure you can cover the area you commit to covering. If you canot cover 12, 000 sq.mi without hardships you had better not commit to doing so. In addition you had better know all the service specs for the clients your client, (the NAMC), is requiring you to service.

  •       All vendors are required to complete every work order issued within their assigned coverage area

You get a $25 work order 300 miles away. This does and will create a serious dichotomy for a company. This is why I have always recommended “no windshield time” to successfully cover an area you have to have the proper infrastructure for your company. As a company you have to have the right Field Supervisors and Inspectors in place so you can make adjustments on the fly.

Example; we cover a large area of dirt. We are located a minimum 25 miles from every residential community. When developing our company we took this into consideration and made the correct hiring’s. We have at least one responsible employee everywhere so we do not have to spend fuel and labor traveling three hours for $25, we have someone 15 minute away from the area.

This is an area of a contract that can and usually does presents serious issues for the “mom&pop” type companies that have bitten off more than they can chew. Remember if you need assistance with understanding your break even points or break even analysis on services we have the tools to assist you.

In addition this is an EXTREMELY VITAL  area of your contract that will depend on excellent communication between you and your client.

  •       Any vendor in violation of these terms will be subject to immediate deactivation and will be reviewed for permanent deactivation

We all know that the term “Deactivation” in the PPI means you’re fired…depending on your negotiation skills will depend if you’re temporally laid off or permanently fired…

I do hope this helps everyone on both sides of this contract section. If you like to review the Aladay LLC Media Production series of videos on Understanding Your Contract, contact us and if there is enough interest I’ll speak to the powers to be and we’ll get them on the Aladay LLC You Tube Station.

 

Written By: Aaron Aveiro

Photograph: Aaron Aveiro