Thursday, September 24, 2009

the contractor life

Once upon a time, there was a way of doing business that held a man to his word. A handshake was considered to be a pledge. A man's word that he would do as he said. Somewhere in history that all changed and now we have legally binding agreements that hold us to contracts made.

That is a little preface to our life lately. We live the life of a "contractor". The nature of our business really doesn't matter. We are a small business that provides services to other companies, so that they can have work completed that they can't do internally.

We, or really the Big Cheese, has signed many contracts. Contracts that often require a deposit, in addition to a signature to indicate that we/he is serious about completing this work. It is Big Company's security that their work will get done. That way if we don't deliver...they get the deposit. Always, always "they" are protected.

But what happens when that grace, that trust, that favour isn't extended the other way? What happens when Big Company says to Little Contractor, who has done exceptional work for many years, that you will get the work again next year as long as you continue to perform? What happens when Big Company says to Little Contractor, you performed, well done, the work is yours again!? What happens when Big Company changes its mind, even though it made promises to Little Contractor?

And most of all what happens when Big Company decides that quality, commitment and relationship are no longer important?

These decisions are being made by big companies everyday. That the quality of the job, the right people, the experience of the workforce and previously made commitments are no longer important. We have become a dispensible. It doesn't matter if you have the equipment and man-power and can deliver the needed services.

No, it seems that now the true mark of a good company is if you can manage to have the lowest bid and somehow manage to continue survive. Squeeze water from a rock anyone?

There I said it! It ain't pretty. It ain't nice. But sometimes life seems like that. Sometimes we want life to be fair, but is it really?


Renee said...

Exactly. Happening non-stop now. We're a little company as well and we've lost most all our work to China, because they can deliver inferior quality product and workmanship at a miniscule fraction of the cost so the cost wins out. Their completed product is price pointed so far below our over-taxed material costs before we have even begun any labour, we can't win that pricing to the big companies. Even though the big companies complain about poor workmanship and shoddy product, there is no loyalty to us the small company who have priced our work now at minimum wage and no profit margin. Sad.

Kristyn Knits said...

until consumers begin to voice opinions on how we dislike how big companies treat the small quality companies, the big inferior companies will continue to win bidding wars. hoping you find a replacement for that big company.