Contractor Tips- SOP’s: The Employee That Works For Free


You’ve scheduled a lot of work for the upcoming season, and after going over the schedule, realize that you can’t do it with the crew that you currently have, so you are going to have to hire some more painters.  That is a great problem to have, but it is a problem nonetheless…  Remember the last time that you hired someone new?  The grueling process of weeding through applications, checking profiles, interviews, wondering who is full of crap, putting on your Sherlock Holmes hat to find any clues from the possible candidate.  Time Consuming!


Then there is the, “once you’ve hired the new employee” stage, that takes up a lot of time explaining exactly how you expect the workday to go, knowing that they won’t remember, you repeat it a few times in the near future before it sinks in.  Now, add up that time, and multiply it by every employee that you have, and every employee that you hire in the future.  The number you come up with, is the number of hours that you have wasted, thrown away, never to be recovered.  Time is our most precious commodity, in that, unlike gold. silver, or currency, it can never be recovered, so how you spend it, must be carefully examined.  If you have five employees, you can bank on it, that you have spent twenty hours going over your expectations.   That is exactly, hang on let me do some figuring…okay, got it, that is exactly twenty hours too much spent on standard procedures.  Following, is how you strangle this problem.

SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures

An SOP is a procedure specific to your operation that describes the activities necessary to complete tasks in accordance with industry regulations, provincial laws or even just your own standards for running your business. Any document that is a “how to” falls into the category of procedures.

These SOP’s will work as an HR (Human Resources) advocate for your company.  Take the time to write them up, and be very specific.  Every detail of your expectations; work day hours, lateness, uniforms, how to paint interiors-exteriors, shop area, clean up, literally everything that your work day involves.   What SOP’s do is work as the “Law” for your company.  They allow employees to share in your vision for your company, they also serve as the judge when disciplinary actions are needed.  The rules are in writing, and will allow for no wiggle room if they are crystal clear.

An example of the very first SOP:

God said to Adam in the Garden of Eden…  “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[a] of it you shall surely die.”

Had God not laid out His standard operating procedure, Adam would not of been found guilty of of violating His expectations, but since Adam knew in advance, and willingly violated Gods law anyway, well, we’re living the results of that choice even now… Thanks Adam…

Get your SOP’s in order, take the time to write them down, be specific, give them to your employees and potential employees before they are hired. Your SOP’s will work for you as an employee, watchdog, judge, and the best part is, you don’t have to write them a paycheck each week!


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