5 Questions For Better SubContractor Management

Hiring and managing subcontractors is a common part and vital part of your business. Subcontracting provides a system of delegation that can be profitable to all parties involved. Like any business system, sub-contracting needs proper management, supervision, and accountability in order to be successful. Use the 5 questions below to determine how your subcontracting system is doing and how you may improve it going forward. 1. Did you do your homework before hiring? Business owners need to invest as much time (if not more) when researching the work history and backgrounds of subcontractors as they do when hiring staff. Do you have a checklist of items that represent the minimum requirements for hiring a potential subcontractor?

2. Have terms and expectations been clearly defined? Don’t settle for “mutual mystification”, where both parties assume they know what the expectations are, but they never communicate those expectations (until there is a problem).  Clearly define, in discussions and in the contract,  what the work involves, the specific outcomes expected and the legal and financial responsibilities of both parties.

3. Do you know their schedule? Subcontractors, by the nature of their work, are most likely working with other companies as well as your.  You can avoid problems by having a knowledge of their schedules, and allowing a buffer in your own schedule if need to avoid scheduling conflicts.

4. Are you staying in contact consistently? While subcontractors don’t want to be micro-managed, consistent contact is a key to success. Going back to item #2, make sure you have set expectations about consistent contact and communication. If you forgot to cover this up front, go have that conversation right now.

5. Have you given them the authority they need to do their job? Presumably you hired your subcontractor because of their special knowledge, skills, and/or experience. Does your management style help bring that expertise out on the job or does it stifle it? Supervision is necessary but over-supervision can be counter to good team performance.

Do you have a favorite tip for managing relationships with your subcontractors? Leave it in the comment section below.