10 Do’s and Don’ts of managing subtrades
March 25, 2015 by Robert Koci
1: Don’t be a friend
Subtrade friends will cost you over time. Price creep, special favours, “friend” deals, excuses; they will add up to higher costs and smaller margins.
2: Do match subs to jobs
Some subs are great at high end work, some are better with managing customers, some are fast, but a little rough. Make sure you’ve booked the right guy for each job.
3: Don’t expect them to care as much as you do
NOBODY cares as much as you. Subs included. If you expect anyone to care about your business as much as you, are are heading for a lot of disappointment.
4: Do constantly communicate
I’ve told my students at least a dozen times, you are not in the reno business, you are in the communication business.
5: Don’t let them off the hook
There will always be a special circumstance on a fixed price contract where the sub will lose a bit of time/money. Tough. Think of all the times he made out like a bandit at your expense.
6: Do size them up quickly
Have ways to determine BEFORE they work on your site if they know what they are doing. What does the truck look like? How do they dress? Are their tools well kept? Look for clues that work for you as to their ability to do the job.
7: Don’t be moved from your deal
There are exceptions, but as a principle, don’t be emotionally moved by some tall tale to change your deal. (See #1, above)
8: Do track their time and costs
On fixed price contacts, it’s important to keep track of their time and costs so you can do a back-of-the-envelope calculation on how they are making out.
9: Don’t rely on their pricing or timing
When doing an estimate that includes subtrade pricing, triangulate the numbers with numbers of your own.
10: Do start as you mean to go on
Set expectations high in the early stages. Go from tough to generous and you are a nice guy with a heart, go from generous to tough and you’re an asshole.
Am I wrong?
Let me know what you would add to my list, in the Comments field below