Should The Integrator Get Paid Here?

Here's the scenario:

"I had one idiot of a tech come out and deploy an Arecont system years ago. The customer called me and told me that one of the cameras never worked, I was out of the country and didn't have any employees at that time so I told the tech to go back and fix it. I told him to check the RJ45 crimps first and then troubleshoot from there. Well the idiot swore up and down that the RJ45 was done correctly and started to troubleshoot randomly. He called me 7.5 hours later and said the 'camera is broken,' I told him to redo the RJ45 crimps and reluctantly after 30 minutes of arguing he did it and 2 minutes later the camera was working. I told him I would pay the bill but he was never going to get another job from me and that he gets a bad name for his garbage inept service."

What do you think?

The integrator should be paid for the original install but not for the troubleshooting.

I've updated the poll to make it clear the question is about troubleshooting, not the original install. Thanks!

Oh. Okay.

If it didn't work because of factors beyond the installer's control- defective camera, defective cable, defective customer, damage to something after the fact- you've got to pay the installer. But in a case like this, where the problem was ultimately traced back to a defective installer, well, the job wasn't completed. The troubleshooting should be covered by the original agreement to do the initial installation.

Ari I agree with you, that job was never completed in the first place and he shouldn't be paid for having to go back and complete/fix that work. If it had been working and stopped due to a bad end that is where a work warranty would come into effect, outside of that warranty it would be paid for by the customers integrator.

I like the "defective customer" comment do they also come "bad out of box"?

No warranty, either, and tech support takes forever to respond.

It is situations like the one above why documentation is so important on work orders in sub contracting. Equally as important is the technician documenting thoroughly the services and steps performed on a site. Since he was the original installer you would believe that there would have been some sort of worksmanship guarantee and that call backs would be on his time.

Should have tested the cable with a real Cat 5-6 tester first thing.

I would normally say "How did it take him seven and a half hours" but then again I work with people that spent 6 hours on the exact same issue.

Given the fact the guy (whom ever he is) told him to check the ends, then I wouldn't pay the bill. I'd pay maybe an hour, and that's being generous.

The person should know what they are doing. Getting paid means you are a professional. Its not the customers role to pay an outsider for on the job training.

As an employeer you have to pay the tech for his time by law.

As a subcontractor or outside service ( 1099) service you do not.

Yes it is the owners fault for not hiring and managing his or her project or personnel properly

Yest it is the technicians fault for crappy work and not researching or spending the time to complete his work in a professional manor.

But ultimately thier is no out for the manager, supervisor, owner who is shedding responsibility.

Bottom Line is Taking Responsibility for ones own actions in the chain of command or structure set forth by the company.

Management always is the bottom line.

Because "trouble" often costs a great deal more than these perhaps undeserved payments, I think the author of the scenario made the most prudent decision. If you're running a business, you never have enough time to do what needs to be done. You can ill afford to be bogged down in long-term argument about a relatively modest amount, not to mention the damage that can be done to your personal and professional reputation when you don't pay your bills (e.g. how might the vendor frame this discussion, perhaps publicly and perhaps as a permanent legal record?). We can argue whether or not payment is merited, but that was not how the question was framed.

For exactly this reason I would never recommend an installation that includes technicians crimping RJ-45 connectors on site. In fact, I would never use any human-crimped connectors. Once upon a time, if you wanted a crimp done right you did it yourself. That is no longer the case. Today's machine made molded cords are much more reliable.

Most premises cable is solid conductor and not rated for a crimp connector anyway. Solid conductor cable should be terminated at a punchdown block.

You should use a molded patch cable from the camera to a premises jack. Then, premises cable should be punched down at that jack, then the other end punched down at the patch panel near the common collection point. Finally, molded patch cable should be used from the patch panel to the network device (usually the PoE switch).

There is an IT standard that addresses this, but my memory escapes me what it is called.

Yes, the hardware costs are higher, but the final result is cleaner, quicker, more reliable, and easier to fix. Time = money, as the OP learned the hard way.

Yes, there are patch cords that are bad out of the box. But troubleshooting by replacing them is much faster than redoing a crimp or using a test tool. And improper punch downs are quick to fix as well.

For smaller floor plan retrofit installations, I sometimes use ginormously long molded patch cables throughout.


I have always wondered at the logistics and long-term reliability of using female connectors located at the camera end and patch cables from there to the camera. At least in a casino, most cameras are not located within easy reach of a location suitable for mounting RJ45 jacks. Although I assume we could use inline females, they would have to be located somewhere above the ceiling in a plenum area with high levels of cigarette smoke and dust - a deadly combination for connection reliability.

It seems to me that a well-terminated male plugged directly into the camera would be far less likely to encounter problems. And while I understand that solid wires are more likely to break due to flexing, I doubt that would be a concern unless the cameras were moved often.

Agree with Carl, I've been using crimped-on RJ45 plugs at the camera end for years now with fewer than the usual number of termination issues you'd see with ANY type of installation (yes, BNCs of all kinds have their share of poor terminations too). In fact, in my experience, I'm marginally more likely to see problems with the patchbay punchdowns than with the crimped-on RJs.

As Carl notes, too, there's not always a good place to position or hide a keystone jack at the camera end. Sometimes a wire needs to exit its run through a small opening or a conduit, into a void, directly to a camera, which not only leaves you nowhere to hide the termination, but gives you nowhere to tuck the keystone back in once it's punched down.

And to echo Carl once again, your main concern with any termination, over time, should be flexing of the wire... but if a camera is moving enough to cause that flexing, you probably have bigger issues to worry about.

As Matt & Carl : Stated I concur .

But that being said

Sometimes the job was completed to standard, but when the equipment gets moved or techs put sticky fingers into the pot

The terminations get loose , come off and they try to put them back before anyone catchs on.

And sometimes the connectors just have the on the edge syndrom and the problems show themselves in time.

Not right away

Mil spec , Ieee spec , good practices are learned, developed and if a tech wonders around and does not really know how to divide and concor, or reduce the odds in a orderly manor .

Then the tech can follow rabbit trails for hours and then just get frustrated.

Installation is a craft or art

Troubleshooting is a methodical process in which you think thru scenerios to find the best answer.

Some just dont have the patience to stay in there and find the problems or back step to see where it went wrong.

Process of elimination, But as an employee you still have to pay them.

Regardless of what happens on your watch.

Reputation depends on it and a reflection of your company.

There are a lot of generalities being discussed here around best practicies, ideal situations, etc. (as in Christopher's post immediately above). However, in this PARTICULAR case, I'd have to side with the original storyteller as well. If I'm him, my reasoning is simple:

  1. I told him (not requested, not suggested, TOLD) to do the simplest step first (which he arguably should have thought of himself).
  2. Whether through pride or stubborness or know-it-all-ness, he neglected to do that step.
  3. He then spent a full day doing who-knows-what
  4. Finally my suggested solution was tried, and fixed the problem, and if he'd just taken the five damn minutes to do that in the first place...
  5. Ergo, I see no reason why I should pay him for time wasted.

Whether someone else's declared "best practices" were followed in the first place is irrelevant; keystones can have termination problems as well, and the troubleshooting process should be the same either way.

I do know this now, at least in my state and it probably pertains to many states as well. If you hire a contractor to do a job (in this example it would be "the customer" hiring the person being quoted in the example) and they sub the job out (in this example "idiot tech) and the sub contractor doesn't get paid then he/she can request payment from the property owner. So in this case if the company didn't pay the "idiot tech" after the "idiot tech" attempted to receive payment he can file a notice of lien on the property that he did work on. Typically it would get worked out before it even gets that far because the property owner would talk to the original contractor. It makes the original contractor look very bad.

Thanks John for reposting my story here, always interesting to hear everyones opinion.

The reason I paid him is becuase to me my name is worth more then a few hundred dollars. If I didn't pay him then the issue could escalate and could cause doubts among my customers, vendors and other sub contractors to who was actually at fault. To me I always laugh at these type of people, they're so short sighted. My sub contractors at the time where getting at least $2,000 per month in business, so for $400 or so he threw away 24k that year alone.

I didn't even think about it that way, it's actually amazing how much damage one person can do. I can even think of a subcontractor I used to work with who told me about a particular company who never paid on time. A few years down the road I had an opportunity to get a job at that company and turned it down because of what the sub had told me.

If it never worked, the install was never finished.