The success of any construction project hinges on the quality and reliability of your subcontractors. As a general contractor, building a network of top-notch tradespeople is crucial for delivering projects on time, within budget, and to the highest standards. In this article, we’ll explore four essential strategies to help you find, vet, and maintain excellent relationships with subcontractors, ensuring your business thrives.

Your Guide to Hiring the Best Subcontractors

1. Finders Keepers: The Art of Finding and Retaining Great Subcontractors

Finding the Right Subcontractors

Finding exceptional subcontractors can be challenging. Many of the best tradespeople are often fully booked and don’t need to advertise their services. When you do find a promising subcontractor, it’s important to make them feel valued and appreciated to ensure they prioritize your projects.

Start by conducting a thorough online search. Look for subcontractors with positive reviews and strong online presence. While those with extensive advertising might be popular, they may not always be the best fit for your needs. Sometimes, the most skilled subcontractors are those who focus more on their craft than on marketing themselves.

Building Strong Relationships

Once you’ve identified potential subcontractors, focus on building a relationship. Ensure they feel valued and appreciated, offering them consistent work and treating them with respect. This not only fosters loyalty but also encourages them to prioritize your projects.

2. Check Them Out: Due Diligence is Key

Background Checks

Before committing to a subcontractor, perform thorough background checks. Verify their licenses, check their insurance coverage, and look into their business history. Sites like the Better Business Bureau can provide insights into any past issues or complaints

Assess Their Fit

Beyond credentials, consider their business fit. Evaluate their company size and capacity to handle your project’s demands. A small outfit may struggle with larger projects, while a bigger firm might not provide the personalized service you need.

3. Meet and Greet: Building Rapport

Initial Contact

Once you’ve shortlisted potential subcontractors, arrange a meet and greet. This helps build rapport and gives you a sense of their communication style and professionalism. Discuss your project needs, your company’s values, and what you expect from them.

Ask Tough Questions

Use this opportunity to ask tough questions. Inquire about their problem-solving approaches, their handling of past conflicts, and their payment expectations. This helps you understand their operational style and ensures they align with your business practices.

Site Visits

If possible, visit them on a job site. This provides first hand insight into their work ethic, attention to detail, and interaction with their team. It’s a great way to gauge their real-world performance and compatibility with your standards.

4. Both Ways: Mutual Respect and Professionalism

Creating a Positive Work Environment

A successful contractor-subcontractor relationship is a two-way street. Just as you expect high performance from them, subcontractors appreciate a respectful and supportive work environment. Make sure your job sites are ready for them, materials are available, and schedules are clear and realistic.

Fair Compensation

Paying subcontractors promptly and fairly is crucial. Set clear expectations about payment timelines and stick to them. Reliable payment practices build trust and encourage subcontractors to prioritize your projects.

Feedback and Communication

Maintain open lines of communication. Regularly seek feedback from your subcontractors and be willing to make adjustments based on their input. This not only improves your working relationship but also enhances project efficiency and quality.


By following these four strategies, you can build and maintain strong relationships with top-quality subcontractors. This not only ensures the success of your current projects but also lays the foundation for long-term business growth.

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