If you’ve owned a trades business for any length of time, you’ve probably had your fair share of dealing with subcontractors.
Also known as subbies, there are a lot of benefits to hiring the right people to help you get through a busy patch, meet the requirements of a job that’s outside your usual scope, or fill the gap when it’s hard to find quality full-time tradies.
But, hiring the wrong subcontractor can be costly and stressful.
To keep subcontractor headaches at bay, take a look at these tips to make sure the job runs smoothly.
1. ALWAYS check references
You are essentially hiring another employee, so treat it the same way. If they can’t provide a good reference or give an example of a happy customer, then move on to the next candidate.
2. Give crystal-clear instructions
Put together a checklist of exactly what needs to be done. Be as specific as you can and put it in writing. Next, walk them around the site and point out everything that needs to be done, using the checklist as a guide, so you can be sure nothing will be missed.
3. Set time frames
Nothing is worse than a job getting held up by a subcontractor. It hurts your reputation and your bottom line. Break the job into chunks and work out some realistic time frames for achieving each milestone.
Make sure your subbie is aware of these time frames and what their role is in helping you meet them. Of course, we all know there are lots of things that you can’t control on a job site - like weather, or sick staff. That’s where it pays to leave a little wiggle room in your time frames.
4. Communicate constantly
In order to make sure everything stays on track, you should be receiving daily updates from your subbie on site. Job tracking tools are a useful way of seeing how long they spend on site and what they complete without having to micro-manage them. This way if any mistakes or problems pop up, they can be handled right away.
5. Put it in writing
It’s best to cover yourself with a written contract. The contract should include your right to terminate your agreement with the subcontractor for not performing to your expectations.
It would be a good idea to include that you have the right to be reimbursed for any costs that you may have to cover due to their mistakes.
Obviously, you will want to have an arsenal of various subcontractors that you can trust, at your disposal.
It takes a while to get there, but once a good working relationship has been established - treat them well. Buy them a box of beers or invite them over for a BBQ to show your appreciation for a job well done.
Know how you’re tracking
Hiring a subbie? Understanding the impact of labour costs on your profit margins is pivotal. We’ve made a free Profit & Loss calculator to help you forecast your profits on any job.
Just click below to download, then fill in the fields and see how you’re performing on any job before, during or after the job, and then check out the analysis.