EnerBank Blog

When and How to Hire a Subcontractor

Posted September 7, 2021 by EnerBank USA

You’ve been building your business for years, and you’ve finally reached a crossroads where you wonder if it’s time to look for additional help. Depending on your needs, you may go the subcontractor route. If you’ve never hired one before, you may not be sure where to start. Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when hiring a subcontractor.

Why would I need a subcontractor?

There are several reasons why hiring a subcontractor may be a smart move for your business. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Size and scope of jobs are increasing – Having a reliable subcontractor on hand allows you to take on jobs you may not have been able to otherwise.
  • You’re in need of expertise – Hiring skilled workers for more customized projects ensures your customers are getting the best experience and end result possible.
  • Need short-term help – Hiring subcontractors can be a short-term commitment, meaning you can invest your resources into other areas during slower times.
  • Want to save money – On average, using subcontractors can be 20 to 30 percent more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee to help complete a job.

Why does CertaPro Painters love using subcontractors? According to Peter Buttenweiser, “In a nutshell, we’re a seasonal business. So having subcontractor relationships makes the most sense for our business. In addition to providing the subs with the opportunity to seek their own opportunities in the off-season, it allows us to add additional staff in the busy season.”

How can a subcontractor help grow my business?

The more diversified your services are, the more likely you are to stand out against the competition and land more jobs. When you have multiple people on your team, it may also make the process smoother for homeowners, increasing the likelihood of them referring you to their friends and family. Having someone with specialized skills can also be beneficial as they know what materials are needed and the best place to get them, so you can complete a job sooner. By working with subcontractors, you can build a network of trusted people for future jobs, both for you and jobs where the subs could potentially refer you. Peter adds, “While most of our painters work exclusively for CertaPro during the busy season, some crews will work on their own jobs for a period of time and fill in with our jobs at other times. It’s a win/win.”

How do I hire a subcontractor?

The first thing you need to do is to get the job out there. There are websites specifically designed for contractors so they can find people to hire. Some contractors may even host an event so they can meet local subcontractors in person and get a feel for what they do. You can also reach out to people you trust in the industry to see if they have any recommendations. Before scheduling an interview, request a copy of their credentials as well as any lawsuits in which they may have been involved. Don’t go with the first person you meet. It’s important to have a frame of reference so you know you’re hiring the right person. Remember that they’ll be representing your overall brand and are an integral part of the customer experience.

What questions should I be asking subcontractors?

During the interview process, you should have a list of prepared questions to ask. Be prepared, because they may bring a list of questions of their own. Here is a sample of the type of questions you should be asking:

  • Do you have your own equipment?
  • Are you already or able to get insured?
  • Do you have references?
  • What’s your safety record?
  • Are you bonded?

What should be included in a contract?

Once you find the right person, you need to have them sign a contract. This should include what and how you’re paying them and laying out the expectations and responsibilities that will be required of both sides. You’ll also need to agree on how you’ll handle disputes or any issues that come up during the renovation process. There are many places online where you can find samples of a contract, but we advise working with an attorney to make sure all of your bases are covered.

Finally, once you find the right person, make sure they’re a part of your team. As Peter puts it, “The key to working with subcontractors is training them in your way of doing business, so they respect your brand promises and follow your processes for things like client communications.”

A subcontractor can act as a great partner in your overall business strategy, as can a financial services provider. If you’re interested in learning more about how EnerBank can help your business continue to grow through a comprehensive payment options plan, fill out the contact form on this page.

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