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A Practical Guide to Subcontractor Management

Table of Contents

Managing subcontractors is an important part of managing projects, especially in fields relating to construction and field service management. 

Subcontractors are outside workers or companies that are hired to do certain jobs that the hiring company may not be able to do on its own because it doesn’t have the right tools or skills. 

This process includes several steps, such as careful selection, clear communication, managing risks, and building relationships. However, it also has its pros and cons. 

This guide will detail how to manage subcontractors effectively, from selecting them to keeping a good working relationship with them. We’ll also talk about the pros and cons of getting the work done with the help of subcontractors. This will ensure that you know how to use subcontractors in your company or job in the best way possible. 

Whether you are a task manager with years of experience or a business owner who wants to try subcontracting for the first time, this thorough guide will help you get through this often complicated but beneficial process.

Managing subcontractors can be tricky because you must keep an eye on your external teams However, with the right method and tools, it can help you reach your project goals in a big way.

Here’s a useful guide.

Step-by-step guide to managing subcontractors

Careful Selection

The first thing you need to do is carefully select who will do the work for you. Check out the work they have done in the past, make sure their sources are reliable, and make sure they have the right skills and certifications. Before you work with a company, you should always do the research you need to make sure it is financially stable and has a good track record of finishing things on time and within budget.

Clear Communication

The second step is to set up open lines of conversation right away. Make sure everyone knows what the goals of the project are, what they need to do, what their roles are, and what is expected of them. Keeping lines of communication open makes finding and solving problems easier before they get out of hand.

Written Contracts

You should always have a deal in writing. This must include the size of the job, how long it will take, how it will be paid for, and how to handle any changes or complaints. Before work starts, it is important that both sides fully understand and agree to these rules.

Regular Monitoring

Perform regular checks on the work carried out by the subcontractor to ensure that everything is up to standard and is moving ahead as planned. Onsite reviews, progress updates, and regular meetings should all be a part of this process. If there are problems, you should address them as soon as possible and in a positive manner.

Risk Management

Understand what possible risks are and come up with a plan to deal with them. It could involve things such as risks to security for individuals, delays in delivery, or increased costs. Then, whenever there is a problem, you will be able to respond quicker and more efficiently if you have a strategy in hand.


Make the terms of payment crystal clear, and then stick to them. Paying your subcontractors on time helps keep a positive relationship with them and encourages them to perform to the best of their ability.


Throughout the duration of the job, provide feedback that is encouraging. Acknowledge excellent work and immediately and professionally address any issues that may show up. Both the performance of the team as a whole and the working relationship between the team members can benefit from this.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

You are responsible for ensuring that your subcontractors are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. This covers requirements for obtaining licences, safety regulations, and laws controlling labour rights with you.


 If it is required, you should provide your subcontractors with training. This could be on specialised skills that are required for the task at hand, or it could be on more broad issues such as quality control or workplace safety.

Relationship Building

You must establish positive relationships with the subcontractors you engage. They should be treated with respect, open communication should be maintained, and efforts should be made to develop a partnership rather than just a business connection. This will help in ensuring that all parties have an active role in achieving project goals.

Keep in mind that managing subcontractors does not involve a uniform strategy of any kind. It is possible that, depending on the job at hand, you are going to need to modify these suggestions in order to make them work for you.

Advantages and disadvantages of hiring subcontractors

Hiring subcontractors can have its advantages and disadvantages. You need to do a cost/benefit analysis before you start working with them.



Hiring subcontractors gives you more opportunities to be flexible with your workforce. You can engage them for particular tasks or time periods without making the long-term commitment of recruiting a permanent employee. They are available for contract. This is a feature that could prove very helpful for projects that have changing requirements for staffing.

Specialised Expertise

Subcontractors usually possess specialised skills and experience, which your in-house team might not always have access to. You are able to benefit from their skills while avoiding the need for training your entire team by having them bring in their expertise for a certain project and then leave once the job is finished.


When compared to full-time employees, subcontractors usually provide better value for the money, particularly when someone looks at the costs vs benefits, office space, equipment, and other overhead expenses. You simply pay them for the work that they do, not for any downtime or hours in which they are not productive.

Reduced Risk

When you use subcontractors, the risks usually associated with their job are taken on by the subcontractors, reducing the risks your business is exposed to.


Limited Control

Compared to your in-house team, you may have less authority over the subcontractors as the owner or manager of a business. As a result, they might need to be less committed to your business goals and might not follow the organisational culture. Hence, the quality of the work they produce might differ.


Regarding availability, meeting deadlines, and maintaining quality, you may only partially depend on your subcontractors if you rely too heavily on them. Your work can be in jeopardy if a subcontractor quits in the middle of its completion or fails to deliver the service as promised.

Confidentiality Issues

A subcontractor may work with multiple customers, including businesses that are in competition directly with you. If this keeps happening, there is a risk of problems concerning business confidentiality.

Legal and Regulatory Challenges

The supervision of subcontractors might also provide difficulties relating to laws and regulations. For instance, you need to make sure that they agree with all applicable rules and regulations, such as safety standards, labour laws, and licensing requirements. You must also make sure that they do not violate any of the laws and regulations that apply to them. If employees are classified incorrectly as subcontractors, the company could face legal consequences.

Communication and Coordination

When working with subcontractors, effective communication and coordination can be challenging, particularly if the subcontractors are located in remote areas or work across different time zones.

Field Service Management (FSM) tools like i4T Business can help you deal with the problems that come with managing subcontractors. This strong tool helps you manage your subcontractors more effectively by streamlining processes, improving communication, keeping track of performance, and making sure compliance is met.

With i4T Business, you can keep track of project deadlines, cut down on risks, and make sure the work is of high quality. It makes it easier to communicate with and work with subcontractors, even if they are in different time zones or far away.

Don’t let the challenges of managing subcontractors stress you out. 

Let i4T Business give you the tools to take charge, make your projects more efficient, and see them through to a successful end. Try i4T Business today and see what a difference it can make in the way you handle your subcontractors.


A subcontractor is an outside professional or company hired by the main contractor to do specific tasks or services that the main contractor may not have the resources, skills, or ability to do themselves.

To find the right subcontractor, look into their past work, check their contacts, and make sure they have the right skills and certifications. Make sure they have a good track record of finishing jobs on time and on budget and that they are financially stable.

When working with subcontractors, it’s important to talk to them in a clear and open way. Set up regular ways for people to discuss the project goals as well as expectations, such as regular updates through meetings, emails, and progress reports.

As a business owner, it is your job to make sure that all contractors follow all relevant laws and rules. This means getting the right licences, following safety rules, and following the right labour laws. Stay up to date on the rules in your business and make sure your subcontractors know what they need to do.

Using middlemen gives you more freedom, gives you access to specialised knowledge, saves you money, and lowers your business risk. However, there may be a lack of control over subcontractors, a reliance on their availability and performance, concerns about privacy, legal and regulatory problems, and trouble communicating and working together.

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With our cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of how the Field Service Management sector operates, the i4TGlobal Team loves to share industry insights to help streamline your business processes and generate new leads. We are driven by innovation and are passionate about delivering solutions that are transparent, compliant, efficient and safe for all stakeholders and across all touch points.

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