How to Find Good Subcontractors for Your Construction Business

Rose Morrison

Mar 5, 2021

three men wearing PPE for construction; helmets, masks, work suits, etc.

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Building the perfect team for your construction business is a time-consuming and meticulous process, but it’s one that you’ll never regret doing. That said, you won’t always have room on your team — or the need — for specialized contractors. Finding skilled subcontractors to fill those niches is an art and a science in itself. Here’s how to find good subcontractors that best fit your needs.

Have a Clear Idea of What You’re Looking For

There are subcontractors for nearly every possible task or application, from general contractors down to the most overlooked specialist. If you dive into the subcontractor pool without a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll drown. Have a clear and specific idea of what you’re looking for when you’re hiring a new subcontractor, from the job they’ll be contracted to complete to the kind of experience and portfolio you’ll be willing to work with.

Don’t Start with the Lowest Bidder

If you’re accepting bids before hiring a subcontractor, choosing the lowest bidder might sound appealing, especially if they’ve gone out of their way to make theirs look appealing. Keep this adage in mind — if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unscrupulous subcontractors often bid low and overpromise to secure bids with no intention of meeting deadlines or finishing the job they’re hired to do. 

If you do decide to choose the lowest bidder, make sure you do your research and ensure that the decision isn’t going to come to bite you. After all, you get what you pay for.

Consider a Pre-Interview Evaluation

You can spend a lot of time interviewing subcontractors — perhaps more time than you really should — weeding out the undesirable options while you find the team that will work best with yours. 

Instead of interviewing everyone who comes across your desk, consider implementing a pre-interview evaluation that they need to fill out before you’ll even consider talking to them. It isn’t a foolproof tool, but it can at least help you weed out the companies that aren’t going to mesh well with your team and values. You can start with a template if you’re not sure where to begin. Focus on creating the best evaluation by customizing it to your company’s needs and the exact niche you’re looking to fill. 

Be Flexible When It Comes to Scheduling

Flexibility is becoming one of the most vital skills of 2020, but it has always been valuable when hiring subcontractors. Ideally, you’ll find someone whose schedule fits yours, but that may not happen. Instead of passing on an otherwise perfect subcontractor, be flexible when it comes to scheduling. You don’t have to rewrite your entire plan, but a little bit of wiggle room can keep things moving forward. 

Treat Them Well and They’ll Work with You

You wouldn’t continue to work for a company that treated you poorly, would you? When it comes down to it, your subcontractors are human — no more and no less than you. If you find a good subcontractor that meets deadlines, does good work, and aligns with your company values, treat them well. Work with them, be flexible and, most of all, pay them on time. If you fully support your subcontractors, they’ll help your efforts equally. 

Be Patient and Meticulous

Don’t stress over how to find good subcontractors. Whether you’re hiring a single subcontractor or a company, one thing you need to cultivate is patience. Don’t hire the first subcontractor that crosses your path. Instead, do your research and make sure you’re only working with companies that align with your values. While finding good subcontractors isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be impossible. 

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