Make Job Tickets Work for You

Frank Blau
Contributing Writer

Blau Plumbing recently introduced a newly designed job ticket that serves a number of purposes besides the routine recording of everyday transactions. It does so many things, in fact, that it will take me three articles to describe them all.

Our job tickets contain three distinct parts, five pages altogether:

  1. A form in triplicate (two office copies, one customer copy)
  2. A separate proposal for work that arises unexpectedly.
  3. A heavy paper stock back cover with a $5 off coupon, postage paid reply card and customer communication about the work we do. All of this will be covered in this three-part series.

The most important part of our ticket concerns the bold face language that appears just above the customer’s signature, describing the general terms of our transaction. It reads in part:

I hereby authorize the work described above and agree to the terms and conditions as stated on both sides of this form…

Minefield: About 95{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} of the contractors in our industry never receive written authorization for the work they perform. Most times there is verbal authorization, and sometimes nothing more than implied understanding that the mechanic should proceed.

Most of the time, this is sufficient. However, only written authorization is likely to stand up in court.

Failure to obtain written authorization is a minefield that every service firm is bound to cross if they stay in business long enough. One contractor I know got into a payment dispute and ended up getting stiffed because the customer’s lawyer pointed out that there was no written authorization to perform the work. Naturally, the more costly the job, the more incentive there is for the customer to wiggle out of paying this way.

The next sentence of boilerplate is also for CYA purposes:

I recognize that aged and deteriorated plumbing fixtures, piping and appurtenances may no longer be serviceable, and I agree to hold Blau Plumbing Inc. blameless for any damage or destruction to those items as a result of these conventional plumbing repairs…

Collection Assistance: The next statement has proven very helpful as a collections tool.

I agree to pay for all work, goods, and services received, and hereby further authorize Blau Plumbing Inc. to bill any of my credit card(s) for the goods and/or services being provided, and I agree to perform the obligations set forth in the applicable car hold agreement with the credit card user. A service charge of 1-1/2{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} per month (18{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} per annum) will be charged on all balances 30 days or more past due.

Not too long ago a guy wrote a check to us for $700 on a closed account. So we did a credit check on him and received his whole credit history, including his Master Charge and Visa number.

Now our people call him and say, “Mr. Jones, no doubt through an oversight you wrote a check to us on a closed account. We’re just calling to let you know we added it to your Visa card.” Of course, we would have no right to do this without his signature on our job ticket authorizing it.

The customer responded that, yes, it was an oversight and that he would rather pay us with another check. Our reply was “When we receive your check and it clears the bank, we will see that it get credited to your credit card account.”

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