November 30, 2021

Working with Subcontractors

Whether you’re working on a complex commercial construction project or a small-scale project, it can be difficult to keep up with your subcontractors. We often get cold calls from building owners who are overseeing construction on their own for us to pick up where they left off when trades aren’t showing up and projects are at a standstill. Here are a few tips from our expert general contractors to keep your project moving if you do choose to oversee it on your own:

Check Subcontractors' References

Even if someone comes highly recommended from a colleague or you have seen their work, always check more than one reference. When it comes to specialized skills like tile work, for example, or something like sign design and construction—make sure you can see more than one example of their work. If it’s local, go out and put eyes on it yourself. Make sure that their work stands up under use.

When hiring subcontractors, the most important step is to check their references. This helps ensure that the subcontractor you are considering has a proven track record of successful projects. Additionally, it helps provide an understanding of how they work with clients and other professionals in the industry.

You can start by asking for names and contact information for previous clients who have worked with your potential subcontractor. Ask these past customers about their experience working with your subcontractor — particularly areas such as communication, timeliness, quality of workmanship, cost control, etc. If possible, visit job sites where services were provided to physically view the quality of the work done.

In addition to providing insight into the capabilities and integrity of a potential subcontractor, checking references also helps to protect your business. By gathering and verifying a subcontractor's background information, you can avoid potential legal problems that may arise from hiring an unqualified or dishonest worker.

It is important to remember that the process of checking references should be conducted before signing any contracts or making any verbal agreements with the subcontractor. Doing so will help ensure that you hire only trustworthy contractors who can complete projects to your satisfaction. Ultimately, taking the time to check a subcontractor’s references will save you money, time, and headaches in the long run.

Inspect Your Subcontractors' Work

Before you even start your project, create a timeline for approvals. Make sure that you are checking against the contract to make sure that everything agreed upon was performed. Review the workmanship or quality. Do all electronics work?

When it comes to subcontractors, it's important to inspect their work before giving them the go-ahead. This is because subcontractors don't have the same level of accountability as those you're directly hiring, and they may not be taking the same care with their work.

Checking up on them can help ensure that a quality job is done and that any potential problems are identified early, preventing costly delays down the line. Inspecting your subcontractors' work also gives you greater visibility into how they operate, allowing you to make sure they're adhering to safety regulations and meeting other expectations for your project.

By doing so, you can rest assured knowing that everything has been completed correctly and efficiently. Ultimately, a thorough inspection of your subcontractors' work will save you time and money in the long run.

For tips on inspecting your subcontractors' work, consult a professional contractor or visit online resources such as the Better Business Bureau or Contractor Check. These websites provide detailed information about checking up on subcontractors, including advice on what to look for and how to evaluate their performance. Additionally, be sure to check references from past customers to get an idea of how reliable they are and if any issues have arisen during previous projects. Taking these extra steps can help ensure that your project runs smoothly and that everything is completed according to safety regulations and standards.

Subcontractors on site next to large cement mixer

Consider Hiring a Facility Manager or Additional Subcontractor

Sometimes you need eyes and ears on the ground during a project. Consider hiring a facility manager, which we can provide at Rubicon. Not only will the facility manager know your building better than an outside subcontractor, but they can conduct thorough inspections of any subcontractor’s work and provide detailed reports back to you. They can also help act as a liaison between you and the tenants to minimize impact if construction is being done in occupied spaces.

Rubicon is here to help. If you have any additional questions or want to learn more about our services or get a quote on your needs, contact us.