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Subcontractors are crucial to the entire outdoor living space creation in hardscapes or any construction related project that includes multiples facets. So to is the quality of the subcontractor to be able to provide your clients the best results possible for their end product. Finding that quality subcontractor to complete certain aspects of a project can be a difficult task to do as a business owner.
How to Find Subcontractors
The difference between a contractor and a subcontractor is that the contractor is hired by the homeowner and the subcontractor is hired by the contractor to complete work. A subcontractor is not treated as an employee and an employee cannot be treated as a subcontractor. This mostly means that payment as an employee is on payroll, but payment to a subcontractor is to their business. A subcontractor needs to have their own insurance whereas insurance for an employee is covered by the employer. You cannot circumvent the rules by claiming somebody to be a subcontractor when in reality they are an employee. This will come back to hurt you if you try to save a few bucks so that you do not have to set up payroll and paying the taxes and insurance that comes with that employee. There are rules that you can use to understand when somebody is an employee or a subcontractor, but if you are wondering this then they are likely an employee. Subcontractors show up to work with their own equipment and tools.
A good subcontractor can be difficult to find. Somebody who you can count on that sticks to a schedule and does a quality installation that will ultimately have your reputation on it is important to the longevity of your business especially as you continue to expand the services that you offer in your business. It is difficult finding the right people that you can rely on and this may take some time in order to find the right subcontractor for the job.
In hardscaping, we rely on electricians and gas fitters to be able to complete installs of gas fire features and outdoor kitchens. If you do not do other feature work such as decks, fencing, or water features, you may be looking for more subcontractors to be able to fill in those aspects of an outdoor project as well adding to the list of reliable subcontractors that you are going to need. Adding to that list can benefit both parties involved if you find the right subcontractors who are willing to hire you or provide you with leads for work that they do not do as well.
The best place to find a subcontractor is through your network or through networking. Word of mouth is huge for growing your contracting business, much like it is for subcontractors to be connected with other contractors that may hire them out. Ask around in your network to see who people use and trust. People in your industry are more likely to help out and provide good information to you than you may think. This will be the best way to reduce the curve of finding that good subcontractor for your business.
Attending conferences in your industry or even outside of your industry will help you to meet more people that could potentially lead to good subcontractor partnerships or a great way to swap leads with other business owners in complimenting industries. This will help you to not only expand your business, but to also ensure that you are networking with the best in their industries. For the most part, those that are willing to seek out education and conferences are likely going to be those that are on top of their craft which makes this a great place to find subcontractors that you can rely on to provide quality work.
When it comes to hiring subcontractors, do not be afraid to ask for proof of insurance. You, as the contractor for the project hired by the homeowner, are liable for anything that ultimately happens on the job site. If you bring on a subcontractor that does not have insurance and they do something wrong with their installation or they damage something on the property, you will be the one held liable for that situation.
Be willing to also try a new subcontractor every once in a while for new projects. This is not only beneficial to see whether or not you can find a new subcontractor that is better than the old one, but to also expand your network and the possibility of more leads coming into your business by swapping with that subcontractor.
Last, but certainly not least, treat your subcontractors well. Especially if they are good at what they do and they keep their word. That is a subcontractor you do not want to lose. You can treat them on the job site or be accessible to them if need be, but most importantly you should pay them immediately. That is the best way to keep them happy and willing to continue to do work for you. You will be surprised at how this will help you in the long run to establish that relationship and when you need some help, they will be more willing to be there for you.