Construction companies hire subcontractors for many reasons. They may need an outside expert for a job or not have enough hands to complete a project. Subcontractors are a great way of supplementing a companies’ needs without needing to hire more actual employees or train them.
Given the need for safety within the construction industry, a construction company would be wise to have a solid subcontractor management process in place. We provide an overview of a typical subcontractor management process so you can make the best decisions when it comes to deciding when to hire a subcontractor, how to hire one, and how to best manage the ones you have.
There’s a process?
Like hiring anyone, there is a fairly standardized process related to how a contractor company hires a subcontractor. The process is recognized so that both contractors and subcontractors know what to expect.
Call this the planning phase. Your construction company has a project in which you might need help as a business wants to change electrical around to better suit their needs. You don’t have an electrician on your team, or yours is unexpectedly not available. What do you do?
You’ve now identified that you cannot complete the job and satisfy the client without some help. The construction company must first decide what needs to be done, how much you want to spend, how you are going to evaluate the work – and most importantly, identify who is going to do it.
A subcontractor can be someone who you have worked with before with an established reputation or through a previous company or found online. Many electricians work for themselves and are easy to find quickly. Naturally, look out for reviews and remember that it’s your contract and the client will look at your subcontractor’s work as your work.
Got any Tips for the Pre-Award Phase?
Bridgit Solutions writes an excellent guide for planning for manpower here: https://www.bridgitsolutions.com/guide-construction-manpower-planning. Software from companies like Bridgit can alleviate issues with the subcontractor process by having the info ahead to plan when a subcontractor will be needed, and to schedule them at the right time. Scheduling is important to ensure projects get done at the right time and can be very complex in construction.
Your construction company now has enough information to choose a contractor. You’ve largely decided who you want to hire, but you do have to do a few things first. You need to establish with the contractor exactly what they are supposed to do, what codes to follow, safety standards, and payment considerations.
The award phase is where your client specifics meet your contractor. Software like Bridgit solutions can help you retain and communicate with your chosen subcontractor.
Some people don’t like the contract phase because lots of details are discussed and they can be overwhelming. Software can again help, especially with the designing of the contract itself. Rather than typing the entire contract out, one can more easily design the contract using easily accessible templates within contract management software.
Post Award Phase
Your subcontractor has arrived and is on site and you’ve discussed what needs to be done. Their work might take a day or two, as laid out in their contract. At this point, the post award phase is the work phase. You are actively monitoring their work to ensure things are done correctly and communicating what’s being done.
The subcontractor is now submitting costs and especially for an hourly worker, you are monitoring their progress on the job as well as their material costs to repay them.
Any tips on how to help?
Software like a subcontractor management program does help track progress when used properly. The subcontractor can let you know via software what progress was made, even if you aren’t there. Their status reports are essential to know when other parts of your project can move along.
The knowledge provided by their status reports also tells you about materials, time, and pricing info for you to later invoice for the subcontractors and pay them. Communicating can also occur in part through software. Receiving communication through a medium that records communication is beneficial in the event problems arise. In the event of issues, you can use the communication you received, or even rave about your subcontractor’s communication abilities when providing them feedback.
Contract Close Out
The job is done! At least for the subcontractor. This is the time to complete a final inspection of the subcontractor’s work and ensure the contract is fulfilled. Use your contract software to “Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s” here before you prepare to pay your subcontractor for their work.
Once you agree that the work is complete, you can prepare to move on, offer feedback to the subcontractor, then pay them. Most companies also carry a complete file of all the work a subcontractor has done in case the client or other representative wants to know who did what work or wonders how something was performed, as well as what was agreed upon.
Subcontractor management doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right amount of planning, due diligence, and timing, a construction contractor can hire a person outside of their skillset or time to make their client happy. As mentioned, software can readily help organize the entire process, from researching a subcontractor to creating a contract and managing their time and materials. Piecing these elements together can otherwise be awkward and difficult to manage, especially considering that subcontractors are often hired because of a need for more efficiency.
Manpower is an important part of running a successful construction business. We hope that our outline of the subcontractor management process helps you for when you need to hire a subcontractor next. Be ready to be technically organized so you can best communicate with and help your subcontractor get the job done.