Succeeding with subcontractors

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Despite what you may feel, you can’t do it all. Not only do you have to run your business, you may also do the projects yourself or spend a considerable amount of time on job sites. Whatever your business’ size, you’ll most likely need to find a subcontractor to help you finish jobs that you don’t have the expertise for. Here’s what to keep in mind when working with a subcontractor. 


  • Learn how to communicate with subcontractors for success
  • Tips on how to build good working relationships with subcontractors

Scheduling early and clearly

When planning your next project, create a clear work schedule that includes tasks that must be completed with due dates and that includes subcontractors’ tasks and deadlines. Communicate this schedule early with your subcontractors to create urgency during the production process. 

worker on job site fixing pipes

Know their strengths and weaknesses

If you’ve worked with a subcontractor before, you may know their strengths and weaknesses as a worker. If someone is really great at what they do, they may require more time to get the job done because of their attention to detail. Or, if someone is a fast worker, you may not need to schedule as much time on-site for that subcontractor. Getting to know your subcontractors will help you in the scheduling process. If you have trouble finding the right subcontractor for a job, ask your network or call Hearth’s customer success team. We may have a Hearth subscriber near you that can help. 

Be flexible

Even though you’ve most likely communicated with your subcontractor your expectations regarding your project’s schedule, things happen. Other projects get delayed, people get sick, materials don’t come in time, etc. If your subcontractor needs to move some dates around, try to be flexible. It can be a little bit of a headache, but showing you are easy to work with can secure a long term and trusting working relationship. They may be able to help you get out of a bind later on down the road. Although your contract may have clear deadlines built into it, make sure to include language about possible delays, changes, and communication expectations if scheduling issues do arise. 

Open lines of communication

Make sure you are available to your subcontractors and that you’re regularly communicating with them. Give them project updates you think are important to them, and let them know you have an open door policy when it comes to communication. Leaving things unsaid doesn’t help your project get done in a timely manner. 

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Creating great working relationships with subcontractors builds your referral network and helps you close more deals. Make sure you’re making the most of these relationships. 

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