The skill and reliability of your subcontractors can make the difference between a profitable, trouble-free job and a major headache. By knowing how to hire good subcontractors, you can ensure you get more of the former.
Spotting Quality Subcontractors
Don’t rely on internet searches to find subcontractors. While that may be the fastest way to find specific types of tradespeople in your area, websites tell you little about what it’s like to work with those individuals.
Instead, tap into the construction community for references. If you need a drywall installer or a plumber, ask drywall suppliers and plumbing wholesalers if they can recommend someone. If you see construction work or renovations underway, introduce yourself to the person in charge to find out who’s doing the work and how it’s going. It’s also worth contacting your former clients to find out if they can recommend subcontractors.
Aim to collect at least three names for each trade to encourage competitive bids, and avoid depending on one subcontractor who may not always be available. Establish a pre-qualification process to speed up hiring for future projects.
Controlling Your Costs
Before you invite bids, develop a clear scope of work. This helps you avoid receiving widely divergent bids. Even so, never assume the bids you receive cover the same scope. Read each bid carefully so you know exactly what the subcontractor is offering. For instance, one bid might be cheaper than others because it doesn’t include the cost of clean up.
Low bids can be tempting, but realizing when something sounds too good to be true is an important part of knowing how to hire good subcontractors. Some subcontractors keep their bids low by cutting corners and using low-quality material, while others bid low, but find ways to raise the price later.
Be wary of subcontractors who expect a large deposit. Anything more than 10 percent upfront is worth questioning. Also, avoid those who won’t provide everything, including guarantees and payment schedules, in writing.
For more tips on how to hire good subcontractors, contact Construction Monitor.