6 Tips To Help You Hire Great Subcontractors


Subcontractors are a necessary part of just about any general contracting project. If you’re a general contractor company, you’re going to rely on subcontractors for most of the specialized work that’s done during your project – whether you’re installing a new bathroom and need a plumber, using an electrician to wire up an addition to a home, or using a concrete specialist to pour a new driveway.

Subcontractors are crucial to the business model of general contractors – but if you don’t already have a great subcontractor lined up for your project, you might be left in a bit of a lurch. You’ll have to find a new subcontractor, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll partner with a great company or highly qualified individual.

However, the show must go on – so we’ve put together this list of 6 tips you can use to find and hire great subcontractors. No matter what type of project you’re working on, this article is sure to help you find great help, and ensure the success of your project.

1. Talk To Your Suppliers

A great place to start when looking for new subcontractors is your material suppliers. Material suppliers work with both general contractors and subcontractors every day, and likely have a large network of connections in the industry.

These connections can be very useful to you when you’re looking to hire a new subcontractor – especially because contractors and subcontractors are likely to engage in “shop talk” when hanging around with suppliers. Chances are that your suppliers have a good idea of the overall work ethic and attitude of the subcontractors they partner with, so asking them for a recommendation is a smart move.

2. Ask Your Other Subcontractors For Recommendations

Subcontractors stick together – you’d be surprised how many connections each individual subcontractor working on your project has. Many local subcontractors will likely have already worked together in the past, so your current subs can give you great recommendations, and tell you about subcontractors they enjoyed working with, or who always do high-quality work.

3. Get A Recommendation From Your Client

Whether you’re working for a residential or commercial client, you may be able to ask if they have a recommendation for a subcontractor. Many clients do extensive research before they begin their building projects – they could already have a shortlist of preferred subcontractors that could be very useful throughout your project.

4. Check Your Local Subcontractor’s Association

Subcontractor’s Associations are a great place to find new, high-quality subcontractors. These membership-based professional organizations accept just about any kind of subcontractor, especially specialty subcontractors in the construction industry.

If your state, local, or city subcontractor’s association has a directory online, check it out – there will be a huge list of subcontractors who can help on your project, and you can look at each one individually, giving you all of the resources you need to find a great new contractor.

5. Perform A Background Check On New Hires

Even if you’re sure that you’ve partnered with a great sub, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Run a comprehensive background check on each new hire you make – it’s well worth the money. In addition, you should double-check to make sure that each of your new hires is properly licensed and insured.

Insurance is critical for a subcontractor – if your new hire doesn’t have proper liability insurance, you could be left holding the bill if something goes wrong. Don’t overlook this step – or your business could be in jeopardy.

6. Start With A Trial Run

You don’t want to sign a long, full-scale contract with a subcontractor right away. Your subcontractor may have seemed smart, hard-working, and intelligent during your initial meetings – but then shows up 4 hours late to his first day of work without an apology.

You don’t want to get locked into a contract with a bad sub. So start with a trial period – give your new subcontractor a smaller task to complete in a limited time before moving onto the majority of the work, if possible. This gives you both a chance to feel each other out, and decide whether or not your continued partnership is a good idea.

Hire Great Subcontractors, Do Great Work!


One of the more frustrating aspects of general contracting is that the overall quality of your work is sometimes out of your hands – you often have to rely on many subcontractors and day workers. However, if you follow the steps laid out above, you’ll be able to quickly and easily find subcontractors who do great work – even in a pinch.

So follow our advice, hire great workers, and make sure that your project is an unqualified success.

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