Have you heard another contractor say something about stealing jobs? “Don’t steal my jobs from me.” Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t, but let me shed some light on the subject and when you might hear that. In this report “you” refers to the helper, employee or subcontractor.
You start a new relationship with another specialty contractor who also becomes a potential lead source for your own growing business. He brings you on to help with a few projects to see if you are good enough to keep around. He finds that you are good at what you do and decides he does want to keep you around to help on his projects. Along the way he finds that you can handle a variety of tasks and could possibly even send you on some projects without being present. Your new contractor friend wants to help you build your skills, and gives you opportunities build your own future brand.
A few opportunities arise where the contractor cannot serve other leads, so instead of passing them on to a handful of other professionals who could likely handle the projects, he decides to give the lead to you on a condition that you don’t “steal his jobs.” The contractor explains that he wants any other projects that come from the lead that pertain to his specialty. He worked hard to get the lead in the first place, he deserves to keep it, the lead is his, it is not fair game (it is a popular misconception against integrity that such is fair game, but it is not). For example, the contractor gave you a lead to repair some damages at a customer’s home. Since the contractor does custom cabinetry work and he is backed up, he passes the lead on to you. The contractor requests that any projects that arise from your acting upon the lead he has given you, should you be hired, he asks that you involve him on any additional projects that may arise pertaining to his specialty. In short, you are not free to take on the custom cabinetry job for yourself unless the original lead owner grants you such approval.
There are plenty of arguments. “The contractor gave away the lead,” “he didn’t have time to do the job,” “the lead taker didn’t know any better,” etc., but the arguments are beyond the point I want to make here. The bottom line is that you have been given something out of trust, a simple request was made, and to take on a custom cabinetry project as your own after the fact without getting the original contractor involved is considered stealing. Do you think the contractor is going to ever want to give YOU another lead? Absolutely not. Don’t blow your opportunities, don’t ruin your relationships, and don’t bite the hands that feed you.
Here is another example. You are working on a project with the originating contractor. You are not the project decision maker. The homeowner comes to you and wants to add something to the project. Instead of explaining to the homeowner that he should discuss work adjustments with the contractor, you give the homeowner a price to do the work. That’s a big slap in the face to the contractor, the homeowner and yourself. The project does not belong to you, and you have no right to make project decisions. Now you left the contractor to debate whether you can be trusted and whether he wants to bring you back on a job. Could it be a misconception? Sure it can, but why put yourself in such a predicament? Again, this is called stealing a job and if you conduct this type of activity, especially in today’s social fog where reviews rule even if you never get to see them (like on the NextDoor app), you will ruin your opportunities, destroy your relationships, and make it very difficult for yourself to do business for other people in the future. Despite occasional despair, reviews are there to stay forever.
Hope this helps.