Working as a contractor means you make many decisions in your workday. None of these decisions is more important than deciding which jobs are good ones and which ones are not suited to you and your crew.
Often, the answer is clear. However, one situation that may be not so clear is whether you should accept a job where you take over after another contractor—particularly one where the previous contractor was fired.
At first, this may seem like the ideal situation for you—after all, some of the work may be already complete. However, don’t let “benefit” fool you. Picking up a job after the first contractor was fired is often a VERY bad idea.
The Free Work—Is Probably “Bad” Work
The main benefit, jumping into a job without having to complete all of the work, is virtually worthless. The reason that first contractor got fired is likely because the work he or she was completing was probably not good. So, you will have some tasks already completed—but what does this mean for you?
It may actually take you longer to work around this. What if you have to tear out the already completed work? What if you are short on supplies—will you be able to get the funding you need or will this come out of your pay?
The Burden of Responsibility is On You
Let’s say the work the previous contractor completed actually looks like it was done right, so you decide to continue in the same direction. What happens when there is a problem with the work a year or two down the line? You are the one that will be held responsible for any type of issue that may occur. After all, you’re the contractor who completed the job and put your name on the project. Even if the issue was all the fault of the first contractor—you’ll pay the price.
While it may be possible to pick up in the middle of a job and experience success as well as make new business connections, the risks are great. It may be best to pass on these jobs, or at least take the time to work with the hiring party to make certain you will have full control over the results—if you’re expected to take responsibility. After all, it is never worth risking your reputation or your future financial security to take a single job!