Contract Negotiations: The Art of Paving a Safe Road to Growth

Building a successful company and building a road have a lot in common

Building a company is very similar to building a road. It is a process. And as companies grow, it is easy to lose sight of the maintenance that must be done to keep it safe for high-speed travel. Here at Giroux Glass, our Contracts Manager, Ilse Baeck, has been the gate keeper and road maintenance specialist. She not only prepares the company to handle the accelerated growth that is coming our way, but she also helps our clients understand the risks of working with glazing contracts. Ilse’s in-depth understanding of Giroux’s place in the glazing industry allows our company to remain protected. Her concern for our clients helps them navigate through the inevitable changes when dealing with sub-contractors that may not be as well-prepared for growth.

Ilse’s major responsibilities

Negotiating a contract is a delicate art. In order to ensure that the client’s needs are satisfied, and Giroux Glass continues to experience solid growth and profitability, Ilse needs to check off a number of boxes in the process. While she may not handle every detail herself, she is the one directing the overall flow of the negotiations.

  •  She reviews and negotiates all small contracts for the company, but she may involve our VPs of Operations, Bob Linford, (in California) or Greg Wright (in Nevada), if the contracts are in their respective geographical areas.
  • She reviews the contracts and contract templates to ensure there are no glitches that will come up as the job proceeds. Part of this process is making sure the language in the contract is specific and covers all contingencies.
  • She creates and processes all sub-contracts – an extremely important detail that ensures all parties know what is expected of them.
  • She is the go-to source for information regarding insurance claims, indemnity agreements and legal issues. In addition she makes sure that contactor’s licenses are up-to-date.

From the beginning to completion

When a contract is received at Giroux Glass, it goes through various steps, on its way to Ilse’s desk. Our Contract Administrator, Julie Costandini, creates a “Contract Review Sheet” that is emailed to the Sales Estimator, along with a copy of the original contract for review. From there, it goes to the Project Manager, who looks at the scope of work to ensure that everything is covered; the PM also bounces the scope against the details of the original contract. After that, the respective VP of Operations gets a final review, before he signs it, and sends it to Ilse to manage the process from that point on.

From here, Ilse checks to ensure that all costs and markups are entered correctly, because after the contract goes to the customer, it is usually too late (and always unprofessional) to try to make additional changes. Part of the process for Ilse is reviewing the contracts for fairness to all parties. This is a give-and-take process, but the continued success of Giroux Glass depends on our ability to create beautifully-finished products for our clients, while assuring that contractors and sub-contractors are treated fairly in the negotiation process. Ilse’s contribution to this effort is huge, and also greatly appreciated.