How To Hire Good Subcontractors?

We asked our lead instructor Sid this question and here was his response:

STEP 1 – Ask them in

Let's start from scratch. You need to hire, let's use, for example, you need to hire a framing crew. You've been informed that ABC Framing is a good crew. Okay? So we call them in and ask them, we'd like to interview them for future jobs, let them pick a date and time that's convenient for them, and come into your office. Okay?

When they come in to talk to me about working for us, the very first thing I'm going to look at, how they're dressed and what their demeanor is. It has a lot to do. If they're neatly dressed, I'm saying would work clothes. Okay? I'm not saying tie and sport coat. I'm saying they're clean. Okay? They look presentable and looks have a lot to do with a person's personality. If they take care of themselves, I know I'm working with someone that is taken care of their business as well. Okay?

When they come in and you have a decent presentation, we sit down and talk. I'll pay close attention on how they answer questions. Okay? And one of the things I'm going to ask them is, "What services do you provide?" And I'm going to be looking for certain things. The way they make their presentation or what they provide. For example, they're going to say, "We have been in business X number of years." If he says, "I've been in business so many years." That's a warning to me. He's not a team player. He's a loner. These guys are not a team. A good superintendent or owner of a company will always generally say, "we", referring to a team.

STEP 2 – Get the details

The next thing I'm going to look for, is to see how long he's been in business and I'll come right out and ask them, "Do you have all your MIOSHA safety gear and your safety reports in place? Do you have an accident prevention program for your company? Can I see it please?" If he has it, then we'll continue. If he does not have that, there's no sense in continuing. He's not going to do me any good if he's not MIOSHA certified or have a 10-hour card or know what MIOSHA requirements are. Okay?

STEP 3 – Get References 

Then I'll ask him to give me two other references from other contractors he's worked with in the past year so I can verify what his, how he performed. I'll ask him what his payment schedule is. How much does he want as a deposit or upfront? How does he want his draws? I'll ask him how he handles change orders. If he looks at me with a blank stare in his face. What's a change order? I know dealing with someone that doesn't have proper experience. Okay? I'll ask him what kind of training he provides for his people on the equipment he uses. 

And then after we get that out of the way, which is generally going to be at least 45 minutes to an hour, I want him to do most of the talking. Near the end of that talk, I'm going to ask him what can he do to make my job easier? What could he do to make my company stand out from other companies? How does he intend to improve? What's he bringing to the relationship? Okay? And if he gives me a positive answer, that's good.

STEP 4 – Are they organized?

The last thing I'm going to do, especially if he came with his work truck, I'm going to go out and look at his work truck and see how he's got it organized. If it's organized, everything is in its place. Okay? I know I'm dealing with a professional. If I look inside his truck and I see McDonald's wrappers, cigarette butts laying on the floor, beer cans in the back, tools just jammed in the back. I know I'm not dealing with a reputable subcontractor. If he doesn't take care of his equipment, then he doesn't take care of his employees, and he's not going to take care of me. All he wants is a job. Okay? And that's pretty much how we select our subcontractors based on their previous performance with others and how they make a presentation of themselves.