The Eagle Blog

Contractor Ethics

A couple of months ago I wrote about Eagle’s new Eagle Certified Professional Contractor Program that was established to celebrate the professionalism of the vast majority of contractors. I also wrote a recent blog about The Professional Contractor and what that means.

It would be great if there were no need to have these guidelines. In fact some of the best contractors we know are a little taken aback that we would ask them to sign up to a Code of Conduct. It’s only when we tell them how the poor behavior of “the few” is coloring the perception of our whole industry that the light comes on, and most are keen to let the world know of their professionalism.

It is interesting to see the antics that some “supposed professionals” get up to in order to justify their actions. We have had people go through the whole process, interviews and rate negotiations and happy to have the job … until they find out the person next to them earns a dollar more! What must our clients think when highly paid professionals, who have made contractual commitments start complaining about their pay just days into a contract! FACT: Anyone can always look around and find a reason why they should be paid a bit more! The time for rate discussions is up front, once its done get on with the job!

A hot job market such as Alberta right now really can bring out the worst in people. We have seen people with long term contractual commitments, who are key resources on the projects, holding their clients to ransom because they suddenly decide that if they move they can get more money. Yes … they can get more money, but they also get that reputation and our industry gets that reputation!

I am still pleased to be able to say it is a very small minority act in this manner and the vast majority of contractors do operate in an ethical manner. They are business people and act that way. To those few contractors who don’t, I say “Get out of the business! We don’t need you!”


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+

6 thoughts on “Contractor Ethics

  1. Hi Kevin,

    You wrote a good post. Do we think that this is a two-way street? What is your take on many many occasions when contractors are let go half-way because the business found a cheaper way to get the project done (e.g. offshored, etc). They can make a ‘business decision’ and all the reputation is OK.. but not the other way around..

  2. Hi Kevin,

    You wrote a good post. Do we think that this is a two-way street? What is your take on many many occasions when contractors are let go half-way because the business found a cheaper way to get the project done (e.g. offshored, etc). They can make a ‘business decision’ and all the reputation is OK.. but not the other way around..

  3. I’m glad you asked that question because this is probably the biggest area of differentiation between an employee and a contractor. The value proposition contractors offer to a client is that they can bring in a qualified resource with total flexibility, and yes that does mean that if things change they can let the contractor go early. The reality in my experience is that it’s rare such a situation happens without a fair amount of warning!

    So there are pros and cons to being a contractor, you enjoy more flexibility, better tax breaks, job choices etc. However the cost is that you are responsible for your own career, training etc. Not everyone is cut out for that uncertainty, but those that are would have it no other way!

  4. I’m glad you asked that question because this is probably the biggest area of differentiation between an employee and a contractor. The value proposition contractors offer to a client is that they can bring in a qualified resource with total flexibility, and yes that does mean that if things change they can let the contractor go early. The reality in my experience is that it’s rare such a situation happens without a fair amount of warning!

    So there are pros and cons to being a contractor, you enjoy more flexibility, better tax breaks, job choices etc. However the cost is that you are responsible for your own career, training etc. Not everyone is cut out for that uncertainty, but those that are would have it no other way!

  5. I think you missed his point Kevin.

    If a client can let a contractor go, with no damage to the client’s reputation, why can’t a contractor do the same thing? (ie, make a ‘business decision’ to seek another contract before the current one is over)

    I have heard this question many times, and have concluded that ‘ethics’ doesn’t enter into it. Business is business, if you give the correct amount of notice (or pay a penalty) as per the terms of your contract, then you are in the clear. Sort of.

    Reality check: Only a complete idiot would jerk around a client like that. As you have written elsewhere Kevin, reputation does matter, so any contractor who skips out on a contract runs a grave risk

    My personal business philosophy is that there is a higher ethic involved than merely meeting the terms of your contract.

    That ethic is your obligation to serve the client to the best of your ability. It is a fiduciary thing, I guess.

  6. I think you missed his point Kevin.

    If a client can let a contractor go, with no damage to the client’s reputation, why can’t a contractor do the same thing? (ie, make a ‘business decision’ to seek another contract before the current one is over)

    I have heard this question many times, and have concluded that ‘ethics’ doesn’t enter into it. Business is business, if you give the correct amount of notice (or pay a penalty) as per the terms of your contract, then you are in the clear. Sort of.

    Reality check: Only a complete idiot would jerk around a client like that. As you have written elsewhere Kevin, reputation does matter, so any contractor who skips out on a contract runs a grave risk

    My personal business philosophy is that there is a higher ethic involved than merely meeting the terms of your contract.

    That ethic is your obligation to serve the client to the best of your ability. It is a fiduciary thing, I guess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.