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How to Differentiate Your Cabling Company (Part 3)

Close-out Documentation — A Key Driver to Winning More Business

In this third and final post of our 3-part series (you can read the first and second post here and here), we’re going to take a look at why paying closer attention to close-out documentation can become a key driver of winning more business.

As many of us know, putting together close-out documentation is not something we look forward to, and most times it feels like a task that will not directly lead to new business. However, by focusing more closely on your as-built drawings, certification results, and warranties, you can generate a steadier stream of income from your existing customers, and even win new business as a result of your attention to detail.

Here’s how:

Laminate your as-built drawings – Since you’ve already gone through the trouble of creating the as-builts, including your companies title block with contact information, you might as well post them in the MDF/IDFs. Not only does this help the existing IT manager do his job, trust me he’ll tell his friends about it, but it also provides benefits long after he’s gone. For instance, when a company decides to move into a new space, they’ll recognize that you’re the one who did the immaculate work. This means the next time the individual from that company is asked by their colleagues for a cabling recommendation, you’re the one that will come to mind. This is also better known as word of mouth marketing.

Print certification reports – Similar to the as-built drawings, you can do the bare minimum and pass along digital copies of your certification report, or you can print it out and leave it in the appropriate MDF/IDF. This way, the IT manager can conveniently reference it when troubleshooting. Sure, you’ll come out and re-certify the run, but it’ll be much easier to bill for the work because the customer will have already seen the results, instead of quickly jumping to conclusions.

Warranty and ongoing support – While most manufacturers offer a 20-25-year application warranty, most contractors do not take advantage of the fact that it’s typically dependent on service work being performed by a certified contractor. It’s important to make sure your customer understands this with a pre-defined service package or contract. The contract can range from things as simple as outlining service level agreements for different priority trouble tickets, to detailing what is included and not included within the warranty. It’s also important to outline your billing rates for business hours versus non-business hours and create contract details specifically for support calls. For instance, you should clarify the cost association difference between business hours versus after hours support, as well as how support specific emails relate to cost. It’s also a best practice to included customized metallic support stickers on the back of your racks or fire-rated backboards. This ensures customers can quickly locate the appropriate contact information if they need support.

When done right, the combination of as-built drawings and certification reports can considerably improve customers’ experience with you as a vendor. It also ensures that any work in the future is billable, as the permanent records provide proof that everything worked and was approved prior to handing over the cable plant.

In this three-part series, we’ve covered best practices you can follow to set yourself apart from the trunk slammers. These include: increasing your focus on labeling, above ceiling craftsmanship, and more accurate documentation. When these are put into practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a cabling business that generates growth and increased revenue as a result of your cabling quality, skill and attention to detail.