America’s Favorite Pastime

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Ahh, baseball.  America’s favorite pastime.  Or is it?  I’m thinking America’s new favorite pastime is “sticking it to the little guy”.  To make sticking it to the little guy really ugly, baseball terminology is being used.  I don’t know if that’s illegal, blasphemy, deceptive or just plain stupid but anyway, let’s take a look at one company’s “Three Strikes Action Plan”.  Of course I will add my comments as we go along.

Strike 1
It’s not a fast ball or curve ball that can give you your first strike.  There’s a couple of new pitches that start the countdown:

  1. Not properly following work order instructions
  2. Risk issues
  3. Falsified reports

What’s the repercussions of having one strike against you?  Well, you will get counseling and or a verbal warning.  I really suspect it will be both – the counseling and the verbal warning – these are intended to help you find ways to improve the quality of your work.  You will be subjected to this unlicensed and unqualified counseling for a period of 30 days.

By the way; if the company gives you the wrong address on the work order and you discover that fact and do not perform the requested services, do you get a strike?  If you take the strike 1 rules literally then I see no way around it.

Risk issues?  Well, bud, might as well go ahead and count one strike against you when you leave the house in the morning.  Not only are these risk issues unidentified but we all know the risk we take by just walking out the door in the morning.

Falsified reporting.   Hmmm.  They probably mean that you don’t tell the truth on the report.  It’s not specifically stated, but I imagine being forced to choose from the answers they put in their online forms is excused.  We all know you cannot proceed to completion of the form unless some answer is given from their predetermined choices.

Strike 2

Let’s not get to anxious now.  We only have one strike against us.  The bases are loaded:  mom is on third base and the kids are anxious to run all the way home from 1st and 2nd base.  Which pitch are we going to get.  Well, in addition to the pitches coming at us from the strike 1 group, we now have:

  1. Having more than 1% of your work orders past due.
  2. Having more than 1% of your work orders returned for redo or clarrification or …
  3. Evidence of table topping

Okay.  What kind of trouble are we in now with 2 strikes against us?  First, you must attend mandatory training.  You can also kiss any bonuses bye-bye.  And, you will probably suffer an increased discount fee!

Mandatory training!  By management?  Boy, this sounds exciting.  You’re finally going to get some training!  Do not concern yourself that the instructor has never held a hammer before and couldn’t cover a pool if his life depended on it.  Heck, it’s free!  By the way, as soon as you get your class schedule, pop off a copy of The IRS Form SS-8 to the IRS and get their determination on your independent contractor status.  You may wind up with back pay owed you!

The threat of loosing bonuses are probably to no concern to any of us.  Most contractors would be happy if they were paid their invoice amounts.  In fact, if we were paid what is taken away on a regular basis that’s as good as a 25% bonus.

Now we come to table topping.  Probably no reason for contractors to even read this – just inspectors.  I don’t think this table topping thing is enforced that often.  As an example, after one of our worst hurricanes down here in Alabama, one of our companies decided to help us out – bless ’em – they sent a company from out of the mid-west to work inspections in our area.  A couple of months after the storm, we were overrun with rechecks.  The pictures did not match, etc.  I don’t guess it’s important that we had never been to some of these properties before.  When it was all over with, I looked at all the rechecks for the properties we had never been to.  Guess what?  343 white frame houses and 701 red brick houses.  No brick/frame houses; no green houses; no two story houses – nothing but white frame and red brick.  If the company cannot recognize table topping with 1,044 examples in front of them, well .. like I said, I don’t think this is enforced too often.  After all, they have to meet their deadlines too!

I know you been setting there steaming mad about the 1st one:  having more than 1% of your work orders past due.  Well, cool off a bit.  I saved it for last on purpose.  They DO NOT count the work orders that were late when they sent them to you.  At least that’s what they say.

Strike 3

All right, go ahead and say it.  It just hasn’t been your year.  When you get another strike against you by swinging and missing any of the pitches in the strike 1 and strike 2 groups, well, it’s time for a reduction of your assignments or complete removal of all your zip codes from the all-knowing, infallible system.

Most companies state that this is a last resort to be used when all other means have been exhaused.  Really, I can’t believe you let it get this far!  Didn’t you get anything at all out of the counseling?

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