If you are a busy home builder, chances are you have worked with your fair share of subcontractors. With a limited labor pool, it is easy to take on more work than capacity allows, and subcontractors are a great way to keep your business steady and projects flowing in a timely manner. That being stated, not all subcontractors are created equal, and to make sure you have the right subcontractor for the job, there are a few necessary filters to run and a vetting process that must take place. Here are five areas to consider when choosing your next subcontractor:
- Review – Just as you would with any new hire, review their expertise. This is not simply for the purpose of verifying their professional profile and experience – You will also need to take into account their specialties and how they relate to the project. Additionally, verify their references, and don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions from other contractors with whom they have worked to make sure they have produced quality work, on time and under budget.
- Check Capacity – As slick of an image and as tight of a list of expertise a subcontractor may have, they may or may not have the capacity to meet the size and demand of your job. What and how much equipment do they have available? What size and how many crews are on hand? How many jobs are they currently handling and will have running during your project?
- Safety First – Throughout the HBW Blog we touch upon the importance of safety, and the construction industry is where it is essential for safety to be a top priority. Citations and fines aside, the safety of your workers, your projects and your clients’ property must always be at the forefront of your daily operations, and for this reason, your subcontractor’s safety record must be at the forefront of your vetting process. Check their OSHA records and their workers’ compensation information to review their Experience Modification Rate (EMR) and assess past cost of injuries and future chances of risk
- Insurance – While this would seem like a given, you can’t overlook confirming that the company is properly licensed, bonded and insured. An experienced and professional contractor should have this information readily available and provide the credentials upon request.
- Time – To keep your job and deliverables on time, you must adhere to an organized and detailed schedule; the same applies to the subcontractor you choose to complete the work. Prior to getting started, the subcontractor should provide a plan inclusive of action items, stages of the job and an appropriate timeline through completion. Make sure your schedule provides a cushion for any unforeseen circumstances and that it is agreeable by all parties.
Whether you have a go-to crew already or you are just embarking on your search for a subcontractor partner, establishing realistic and clear expectations is paramount to your success. To be successful, a business must have the room to grow, and when it comes to meeting client demands, a solid subcontractor can be a helpful ally in growing your team and company.
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