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"I trust CTI on my jobsite and recommend them for demanding projects." -Korie Bishop, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Five Tips For A Smooth Subcontractor Experience

We all know that a subcontractor can make or break a project. Unfortunately, sometimes it's hard to know whether the project is in "make" or "break" territory until it's too late.

Fortunately, these types of project derailments come with some warning signs. Stay on the lookout for these, and you'll have a much better chance of hiring a subcontractor you can count on to get the job done right. Just use the following five tips:


  1. Make sure the bidder really understands the full scope of work
    To keep your competitive edge, you may take a guarded approach to what you share with bidders. While this is understandable, it can lead to a proposal that doesn't take all of the nuances of your project into account. Play it safe and be as forthcoming as possible with subcontractors. And don't forget to do your part: make sure you're performing due-diligence in reviewing and vetting proposals. If a subcontractor isn't asking the right questions, he may be telling you that he's in over his head.
  2. Remember: the lowest bidder is not always the best option
    Anyone can offer you a low estimate to get the job, but more often than not, these "good deals" turn into nightmares as the project progresses, with change orders and added charges at every turn. Before you award your business to a subcontractor, make sure you both agree on the terms for any secondary considerations that may come up (who is responsible for removing debris, who will provide safety requirements such as traffic control and hazard abatement, who will provide required resources like water and electricity, etc.).
  3. Don't be a guinea pig for those who lack experience
    All subcontractors have to start somewhere, but you don't want that "somewhere" to be your job site. Stick to tested contractors with experience in the job you need done. Ask to see project portfolios and case studies of jobs like yours, and always check references.
  4. Examine business history
    Tools like credit checks and D&B reports are some of the best ways to screen subcontractors -- use them. Credit problems or bad business practices can signal anything from an inability to get supplies to an unwillingness to finish the job properly. You have enough responsibilities -- don't add the hassle of dealing with an irresponsible vendor to the mix.
  5. Check out safety records
    Since even one accident can dramatically affect your project's schedule and profitability, make sure you're hiring a subcontractor with a proven history of safety. Ask to see OSHA accident logs and the current EMR and incidents rates. A clean record shows a contractor with care for proper management and oversight.

» Need a quality subcontractor for your project? Contact CTI, or call 856-456-2255.
» Learn more about CTI.

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