Where Have All the Subcontractors Gone?

The economy has started to make a slow and steady come back and with that, new construction is on every corner that you turn. Have you happened to notice the strong start of new construction and thenhouse a lag time of weeks passing before any further development happens again? Prime example – there’s a house across the street from my office has been sitting at the same stage for three weeks now. Three weeks! While there’s no sound of hammers or saws, you can certainly hear the sound of the bank loan cashing in on the interest. Builders are watching their profits fly out the window, before the frames for the windows are even built.

So, if new construction is taking place, then what’s causing all the delays? It’s because the subcontractor talent pool is slim. With the construction bust of 2007, gone are the days of having heaps of contractors to choose from. Unless you are a big name builder with steady work and steady paychecks to distribute, it’s tough to attract the subcontractors you need. Not all hope is lost though. Here are some tips on how to find, hire and keep a devoted repository of subcontractors for your company.

  1. Find sub-contractors with the right experience and references.  
  • Be sure to do your homework. The only thing worse than not having subcontractors, is hiring the wrong one and then having to find another subcontractor to come correct the job.  Find subcontractors that are well established in the area, as they tend to be more dependable. Take the time to meet them and shake their hand. A phone call is not going to make a lasting relationship. Lastly, ask for references and make a point to actually call them when considering hiring someone for the first time.
  1. Define your work objectives upfront and communicate them clearly.
  • Clear communication on both sides is a must. Being on the same page makes it a win-win scenario for both sides. Outline expectations and deadlines, with all the details on the table. This way both the builder and subcontractor can run their business sufficiently and successfully. Always have open and clear two way communication throughout the entire process of the project. These small details, in a large process, will help to establish the long lasting relationship that can be rare to find.
  1. Pay a fair price and in a timely manner.
  • A stand out factor to help build a work force of subcontractors is pay them at a fair rate and pay them faster than what’s considered “typical” in the market.  Having set clear expectations at the beginning of your project, the end product of the subcontractor’s work should be satisfactory. This faster than typical payment perk further establishes the working relationship moving forward.

Building relationships in any business it is the key to success. What are your tips on attracting and retaining subcontractors? Share with us in the comments below.




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