8 Tips for Managing Your Subcontractors Better
Employees are expensive and require certain accommodations, making subcontractors a better option for some. Subcontractors can work on a job-to-job basis and are less expensive to support than employees. Many even provide their own equipment.
Because subcontractors are different than employees, they require a different type of management to perform most effectively. Mismanaged subcontractors can cost more than employees in the long run and may hurt your projects, so use these tips to manage your subcontractors better.
1. Assess subcontractor before beginning work
Before you begin a working relationship with a new subcontractor, be sure to assess their capability and reliability. Look for subcontractors with the specific qualities that you need to complete your work. To do this, check their references, talk to previous clients, and view examples of their work, if possible. Be sure to explain your work to subcontractors in detail and pay attention to their responses. This will help you to decide if they really understand what you do.
2. Draft clear subcontracts
A written subcontract should be drafted and signed before new subcontractors begin any work for you. Use clear language and include terms and conditions in the agreement. Include all planned work, responsibilities, procedures, and any other important information in unambiguous terms.
3. Ensure understanding of responsibilities
You, your subcontractors, and any employees who will be working with your subcontractors should all have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. For example, you are a customer of your subcontractors, meaning that you are responsible for paying them according to the established terms regardless of your clients’ payment schedules.
4. Provide training
New subcontractors should be provided with training and orientation to fully understand your procedures, safety requirements, business practices, project methods, and so on. This is an investment in each subcontractor, so it is a practice best reserved for subcontractors with whom you intend to develop long term working relationships.
5. Constant communication
Facilitate constant communication with and among your subcontractors to ensure that projects and assignments are started and completed as expected. Work order software can help to coordinate this communication. A primary point of contact for your subcontractors and regular meetings can also help to ensure that your subcontractors are informed.
6. Document communication
Because of the sometimes complicated nature of subcontracts, communication with your subcontractors should always be documented for your records. Service management software will allow you to view and save interactions and histories of communication with your subcontractors.
7. Schedule work
Your subcontractors should have access to up-to-date schedules to receive notice on projects. Staff scheduling software will allow you to keep important dates, assignments, and projects scheduled in real-time. To develop better relationships with your subcontractors, provide guaranteed amounts of work and a regular schedule.
8. Develop procedures for issuing work
Issuing new work assignments to subcontractors should be as simple and efficient a process for you and your subcontractors as possible. Reimbursement should be given similar attention. Work order software can be used to assign work, track amounts owing to subcontractors, and access other relevant tools. This consistency will help you to develop trust with your subcontractors and ensure that assignments are delivered as expected.