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What Should I Consider When Hiring Subcontractors?

Construction projects can be simple or complex – either way, it’s important to have the right team on board to ensure your project runs smoothly, efficiently, and meets your expectations. Often, this team includes subcontractors – those you contract to do work for you.

The first step in any project is to define the scope of the work to be completed. Starting here will help you better understand the size of your project, your budget goals, and what types of professional trades your project will require.

Once you’ve determined your project’s scope and budget and are ready to start hiring subcontractors, there are some considerations that are helpful to think about:

Project type

Is your project residential or commercial? Will it be a new-build, renovation, or historic preservation? The type of project you’re embarking on can make a big difference when it comes to who you’re hiring. Different project types often require different sets of requirements and even need to adhere to different codes. For example, a historic renovation means you must keep certain pieces and parts of a building, or even some of its contents. It’s helpful to have a subcontractor who is familiar with your project type to ensure a painless process.

Requirements and qualifications

When evaluating subcontractors, it’s important to look for someone who meets certain professional requirements. This would include professional licensing pertaining to the work at hand and a certificate of insurance (COI). A COI is proof of insurance coverage for a contractor and relieves you from assuming risk for damage, injury, or subpar work responsible by the contractor. Once a subcontractor is chosen you also need to execute a project-specific contract.

Cost and schedule

How much will your project cost and how long will it take? For most projects, these are two of the most important questions. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have subcontractors on board who can meet your budget and adhere to your timeline. A best practice is to solicit multiple quotes, or bids, for your project so that you can adequately compare pricing from subcontractors. This is also why it’s important to clearly define what your scope looks like early on, so that you can receive apples-to-apples pricing from multiple subcontractors. Another big factor is lead times – how long things are going to take to get in. Some subcontractors get things faster than others.

Whether it’s a simple or complex project, you will have certain rules or guidelines you must follow. After completing the scope of work clarifications and getting multiple bids in for each, you should start awarding the scopes to subcontractors. You want to make sure they are within your budget, understand the project type and scope, have the correct paperwork completed, and have a strong timeline put together.

You want to make sure the project runs smoothly – for yourself or whoever the project owner is – and you will succeed at this by choosing the right team!


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