How to Work with Third-party Vendors

At the National Pavement Expo, many positive ideas surfaced at the WSA’s third party vendor seminar. As moderator, I was initially concerned about how the participants would act with regard to the third party company representatives that took part in it; thankfully, all of the attendees were cordial.

Contractors did have strong, mostly negative, feelings about the entire third party concept, though. However, between the members of the panel and the contractors in attendance we worked through some important ideas. Here are some of the highlights:

• If there was a central theme of agreement, it was “read your contract and don’t sign anything you can’t live with.” Several stories related serious issues that cropped up as a result of contract fine print. Contractors either didn’t read them or didn’t think the third party vendor would actually carry through with them — wrong!

• Line out and initial unpalatable contract clauses. However, one contractor said he was presented in a deposition with ‘standard’ contract pages (not the ones with his cross-outs) along with the back page he signed. To keep this from happening again, he now uses his corporate seal on all pages to prove positively they were his.

• Even if the third party rep. insists you will have to sweep for an unreasonably low price to get the bid, hold firm to a price where you can make a profit. Reps are trained to suggest very low initial prices to keep pricing down.

• Be very cautious about clauses that put your company ‘at the head of the line’ when it comes to liability. Some third party vendors are wording their contracts to essentially shift liability to contractors to reduce their own insurance costs.

WSA members will be watching the entire third party seminar as an on-demand video. Another reason why association membership doesn’t cost — it pays!


WSA contributor Ranger Kidwell-Ross has been providing information to the power sweeping community since 1988. He is editor of the world’s largest information resource for power sweeping,, as well as founder and executive director of the World Sweeping Association ( You may reach him via email sent to [email protected].