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Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Ethics
- - By big fish1 Date 09-13-2004 22:52
Can someone explain to me how its unethical to work on and charge for more than one contract at a time in one shop. You see Im an independent CWI and am currently working in a welding shop (subcontractor) that has four different contracts for with four different contractors. Now my question is why shouldn't I charge what I would normally charge 4hr min over 4hr 8hr min for each contract if Im working on each contract. I dont mean to sound like some kind of victim and I know some people have it really bad out there but I dont get holiday pay or vaca. pay shit sometimes I'll have 5 to 6 weeks with no work. Heres the real kicker the subcontractor is the one with the problem, isn't that a conflict of intrest he doesn't pay for my services.
Parent - - By Malcolm (*) Date 09-13-2004 23:05
I am not sure this is a question of ethics. I think it is a question of what was agreed to, and maybe industry practice.

What is your agreement with your employer, the welding shop? My guess is that your agreed to so much an hour with a four hour minimum. If he has one hour of work for you to do. He still has to pay your for four. Unless your agreement states that the four hour minimum applies separately to each of the contracts he has you work on, I think you agreed to a simple four hour minimum per day, regardless of the number of his contracts he has you work on. And I seriously doubt he would have agreed to anything else. Now, if you were contracting with each of the four original contractors yourself, that might be different.

As far as conflict of interest on your employer's part, I assume you agreed to work without holiday or vacation pay. So how does that make it your employer's problem? If you don't like it, get a job with the benefits you need.
Parent - - By big fish1 Date 09-13-2004 23:42
My company is hired by another inspection company and they are hired by the main contractor not the sub or welding contractor. It's the contractor that has an agreement with the lab that hired me. 4hr min anything over 4 is 8hrs. Thats the agreement. Now my thing is this, if the sub is not paying me what do they care.
Parent - By big fish1 Date 09-13-2004 23:56
Thanks for the response to my question Malcomn. The work im doing is state work and if I had any sort of agreement with someone I didnt work for that may be looked at as a conflict. That being the case It's really not there business because they can't have an agreement myself or the inspection company that hired me.
Parent - By CHGuilford (****) Date 09-14-2004 13:24
When I used to do 3rd party inspection for various DOT's, it was understood that you could not charge different clients for the same time period, otherwise known as "double dipping". Most clients shied away from allowing inspectors to "split their time" at the same location. That was because is was not fair to charge all mileage or expenses to one client or the other and it was difficult to prove double dipping was not happening.
If the contract allowed charging a minimum of 8 for anything over 4 hours, it was not allowed whenever the remainder of the work day would be paid by a different client. Essentially, if you worked 4.5 hours for 2 clients, total of 9 hours, you could not bill out 16 hours. If you worked only 4.5 hours total, for one client, then you billed out 8 hours.
There were (and are) state and federal laws to govern all of that.

The bottom line is that you can do whatever complies with the laws and the clients agree to. Just be careful that you are within what is allowed.

Chet Guilford
Parent - - By gerold (*) Date 09-14-2004 18:04
This situation has happened to me several times when doing 3rd party inspection in a large fab shop. The company that I had worked for charged only for the time that we actually worked-no minimums. When another job came up, I would call any other clients whose work was being performed in the same shop and explain the situation, if there was ever any doubt in their mind we did not take the job (it was never a problem though). Actually it worked out great and actually reduced the billing due to splitting travel expenses and lulls in the action when one job may not have been really busy. Although, it was sometimes a challenge because there was too much work to be done by one person. Thankfully we had additional personnel to cover this. The bottom line is that we were completely honest with our current clients and potential ones. Along the way I actually started using this as a selling point to potential clients who had smaller jobs requiring inspections.
Parent - - By big fish1 Date 09-14-2004 23:01
So if I had two welders working at the same time for 8 hrs on two different contracts I should only charge 4hrs each. Oh and I dont get any paid or extra expenses gas, milage, ect. I think that I will charge 4hrs for each. I mean I am saveing the contractors $. If they had a cwi for each cont. they would be paying for 8.

Thanks for the input.

Parent - - By jon20013 (*****) Date 09-15-2004 12:56
big fish, I agree with Malcolm... that is, I don't see this issue one of ethics or lack of ethics, but rather one of agreed terms. Only potential problem I see is if you "double-book" your time based on past experiences and cannot fulfill either your obligated time (4 hour minimum) to one company or be unable to show at the "expected" time for the other company... could get tricky in those instances.
Parent - - By big fish1 Date 09-16-2004 22:24
All the work is in the same shop
Parent - By DGXL (***) Date 09-19-2004 15:48
big fish:
Double dipping is quite common here in So-Cal. As a matter of fact this is how many inspectors make a living. Like most activities, there are positive and negative aspects:

+ An inspector can be dispatched to several projects in a single day that will not require an 8 or even 4 hour presence.
+ Two inspections may be performed at the same location provided you can cover all the work without compromising quality.
+ The inspctor can actually (and physically) book 16-20 hours a day hitting several 4 hour "minnies" that only take 1-2 hours each and are located within a short driving distance while only putting in a few hours of the day. Many labs keep their part-timers busy in this manner.
+ Some contractors want the inspector out of their hair ASAP and don't mind getting rid of them when their portion of work is complete.

- Some inspectors abuse this practice (BIG TIME) by taking on multiple projects on the same date and "jump" back and forth between these when they should be providing continuous inspection. This makes it bad for ALL inspectors, part time or not. Many contractors think this is how all inspectors earn a living and don't think much of us quality-types.
- Some inspectors bite off way more than they can chew and will NOT provide the level of inspection required to cover the work, i.e.: 20 welders working on 20 different floors. This becomes a justified delay for the contractor, particularly if multiple inspection and/or NDT points are required for the welds.
- You still have to write 2 reports if your on 2 different projects despite being in the same location. (So why not bill for 2 projects.) Some inspectors will cram multiple inspections into 1 sheet of paper making it very confusing for anyone who can't read hieroglyphics.
- Contractors who complain about being overbilled usually (not always) want 4 or 8 hours of work even though the task only requires a few hours of the inspectors presence. Making you stay on the jobsite (with your finger in your hind quarters) or finding other non-requested or required work to get their full 4 or 8 can blow those minnies.

I have done it in the past and so has every inspector I have met here in So-Cal. As noted above, if it is agreeable to book mulitple projects within the same time period, then go for it. Just don't abuse it and expect it every time.
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 09-20-2004 12:01
I have done this before and made sure that both companies were aware of the situation and how it would be billed. It was done to cover the minimum charge requirement. If both jobs met the minimum charge requirement then actual hours were billed.

Havea nice day and I hope it works out for you.

Gerald Austin
Parent - By big fish1 Date 09-20-2004 22:24
Thanks fellas Im glad to see that someone understands that this is how I make a living and I Im not trying to take advantage of anyone. Acually I think they are trying to take advatage of me. Anyways im going to enjoy it while it last, because it's not always gonna be there.
Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Ethics

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