What You Should Know Before You Hire Your Next Subcontractor

06 October of 2015

As a general contractor, you balance a broad range of projects at one time. Enlisting the help of subcontractors is likely necessary to ensure that all of the jobs on your list are done on time. But what happens when problems arise with subcontractors? Here are some things you should know before hiring your next subcontractor, as well as a few tips for properly managing this business relationship.

Ask for References

As with any business relationship, you should always do a reference check on subcontractors before working with them. When following up on recommendations, be sure to inquire about such details as whether jobs were completed on time, the quality of work and more. Follow up with the subcontractor regarding any unsavory details, to hear the other side of the story.

Checking online reviews posted about subcontractors can also be a valuable pre-hire check. Online reviews can tell a lot about a subcontractor’s working relationships, quality of work and job completion timelines. As with references, give the subcontractor a chance to provide details about any unsavory reviews.

Provide Accurate Job Details

Of course, setting the stage for a successful subcontractor relationship isn’t just the subcontractor’s responsibility. Set the job up for success from the beginning by providing full and accurate job details.

By providing the subcontractor with all of the ‘need-to-knows’ from the beginning, you’ll reduce the opportunity for mid-job surprises. You’ll also provide the subcontractor with fewer excuses for any job problems that do arise. Work with the subcontractor to establish standards for communication, such as when you each will typically be available for phone calls, how often you’ll check in on the project’s progress and more.

Require Surety Bonds

According to Why You Should Hire Bonded Subcontractors, by requiring your subcontractors to have surety bonds in place before hiring them, you’ll be enlisting the surety company to ensure the subcontractors follow the contract agreements. Requiring surety bonds also puts another party in your court in case the project turns south.

If the subcontractor neglects the job responsibilities, you can turn to the surety company to investigate the situation. Complaints that are found valid by the surety company can involve restitution paid for any damages you incurred. The responsibility of getting money back from the subcontractor will also then fall on the surety company instead of on you.

Communicate with Clients

Don’t forget to communicate with your clients when working with subcontractors. Provide your customers and subcontractors with the same project timelines and keep the client in the loop on any setbacks. By looping in the client with all the project details, you’ll ensure everyone is on the same page and will close the door on potential surprises or miscommunications.

Working with subcontractors is likely an essential part of your business to keep projects on schedule. Enjoy more positive subcontractor experiences by asking for references, requiring surety bonds and more.

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