How to Find Quality and Skilled Subcontractors
With a shortage of skilled labor, it can be difficult for builders to find reliable subcontractors to complete projects under budget. If you’re struggling to locate experienced subs for your current build, consider the following tips.
The Importance of Good Subcontractor Help
To complete projects in a timely and affordable manner, builders tend to hire subcontractors for carpeting, electrical wiring, HVAC and much more. In fact, the practice is so common, it’s become a vital part of modern home building. According to the National Association of Home Builders, about 70 percent of builders use between 11 and 30 subcontractors to complete a single-family home.
On most jobs, the quality of the home depends on the workmanship of the subcontractors. With this in mind, it’s important to find reliable subs and effectively manage them to stay under budget.
Locating the Right Subs
There are a number of ways you can target experienced, reliable subcontractors. Among the most effective include:
- Check with suppliers. Your material suppliers work with subcontractors on a daily basis. In many cases, they’ve heard the good, bad and ugly when it comes to an individual’s skills, reliability and work ethic. If you’re in a pinch, consider asking a supplier if he or she might know someone who can help you finish a job. If you need a stone mason for some tailored stone work around a fireplace, go to the people who sell stone. Don’t know how to find a good stone supplier? Try asking the people who sell fireplaces. By networking with people who know, you can improve your chances of finding a quality subcontractor.
- Talk to other subcontractors. Because they tend to work alongside other subcontractors, your subs can be a great resource for new contacts. If you are lucky enough to already know a good sub, ask this person if he or she knows someone else who specializes in the type of work you need accomplished. Since they will be endorsing this friend, acquaintance or former associate, you can be fairly sure your current sub won’t steer you toward an unreliable person.
- Look outside your geographic location. According to a recent NAHB survey, at least 31 percent of home builders import lower cost subcontractors from other geographic areas. Many times, these are places with slow markets or competitive environments without enough opportunities. This strategy can lead to better pricing agreements, since many of these subs are eager to find work. Just make sure to talk with local suppliers and do background checks to ensure the subs are properly licensed.
Subcontractor price creep can add major costs to a project, and it’s not always easy for builders to pass these expenses onto the customer. You can mitigate these problems by getting your plans and specs perfected, so there’s no room to argue about how you want everything built. You can also reduce the risk of price creep through competitive bidding and a little negotiation. For instance, if you are able to guarantee more work down the line, your subs might be willing to work at a more affordable rate.
Reduce your risk with 2-10 Structural Warranties for Home Builders, become a member today!