And communication continues throughout the job process.
“If we are sending an invoice and it’s more than we estimated we make sure that’s not a surprise to the customer,” he says. “It’s hard to estimate exactly the number of cracks and how much gravel or grass is in them and how long that will all take, especially if there are cars parked on the lot when you go to make the estimate. So we let them know up front that it’s just an estimate and that along the way we will let them know as things change, and if we find something as we go we keep them informed. There’s no question they appreciate that.”
But communication doesn’t end until follow up is done.
“Closure on a job is important,” Marshall says. “Once the work is complete the supervisor lets me know and hands me the quantities and the job costs and I do a final inspection with the owner or inspector where I can – not on all jobs but on as many as I can. It closes the deal and leaves everything on a good note. Closing is as important as opening in my opinion.”
Checking Quality Every Day
To get to that effective closure Sunbelt Sealing relies on daily quality control efforts in which Marshall or the job supervisor does a quality control check at the end of each day instead of waiting until the end of a job.
“Jobs are different and on private jobs the end of the job might be the end of the day, but we check job quality every day and there’s a reason for that,” Marshall says. “If you’re working on an airport and you’re cracksealing 50,000 linear feet of crack it’s easy to miss one. And if you don’t walk the job every day it’s hard to see that one crack you missed.
“If we’ve done our quality checks the way we’re supposed to, when we get to the end of the job we’ve already done a quality check on 98% of the work and we only need to check a little bit instead of walking and examining the whole job. When you have to check the entire job at project end, it’s easy to overlook something.
“So we walk our jobs every day to avoid that from happening. We don’t want the engineer or the owner to be the one to tell us ‘you missed a spot,’ especially after we’ve already sent him the invoice and told him the job is all done. Plus it eliminates having to go back and correct something so it saves money.”
If at all possible Marshall walks the finished job himself before an invoice is sent. And if for some reason he can’t do it (if the job is out of town, for example) the supervisors are trained and authorized to conduct the final quality control check. “On out of town jobs the supervisors are trained to do all that. They aren’t sitting in the truck listening to the radio. They’re out there on the job.”
Once the job is complete and the quality check has been made, Marshall communicates that to the job inspector or property owner. “Good communication makes us look better to our clients because they aren’t discovering a problem that we should have found,” Marshall says. “It helps us look good.”