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Cheap work; big problems

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When you think you’re saving, you may put yourself and staff at risk

I was reminded about something this week that has been plaguing our industry for years, probably decades.

It is something that not only costs employers a big chunk of their profits, but takes the bread out of the mouths of people who want to and deserve to earn a decent living.

We live in a world where, for most people, cheapest is best and they will sink to any level to save a few rand. I am talking about hijacking company employees to do a cheap job at your home.

How often do you see your neighbour having his roof repaired and then you speak to the team to do a quick “cash” job on your roof? This is rife across our industry; painting is another big one.

I am not saying people must not be given an opportunity to earn extra money, but in their own time with their own equipment.

Employers must keep their eyes open about work taking longer than it should, regular Monday absentees (they did not complete the private job over the weekend), excessive material use (“boss, you didn’t give us enough paint”) and the company vehicle with excessive mileage for the weekend.

Few of us have time to check what is happening as we struggle to keep our companies going. It is amazing what you discover if you put checks in place (trackers in vehicles can save you a fortune).

To homeowners trying to save money, how much are you really saving? Do you have a guarantee on the work, is the job going to be completed, are the best materials being used and are the workers capable of doing the work properly without supervision?

You could be an accomplice to illegal activities if the materials or tools have been “borrowed” from the boss, or the team uses company transport. And, if the culprits are caught, they will be out of work.

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