Hiring a Subcontractor

The Checklist You Need When Hiring a Subcontractor

The Checklist You Need When Hiring a Subcontractor


Hiring quality subcontractors has its challenges, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult process any longer. When you are going through the process of hiring a sub keep these important key things in mind, and you will be on the path to success. The following checklist will help ensure that you hire top notch hardworking subcontractors.


Look for strong performance and credentials

At the beginning of the hiring process, request a report on the subcontractor’s credentials, experience, and expertise. This allows you to confirm and validate what the subcontractor is telling you. Examine any previous lawsuits or disputes that the sub has been involved in. If a subcontractor has a work history full of disputes and lawsuits, this is probably not someone you want to hire.

Make sure they are insured

This is by far one of the most important things to ask a subcontractor. If you neglect this, the cost of your insurance could raise exorbitantly and you could find yourself deep in money problems. General liability insurance covers any possible accidents, such as property damage or bodily injuries, that may occur involving your subcontractors. If your subcontractors cause property damage and aren’t insured, you will likely have to pay the costs yourself. Remember also to check that your workers limit of liability matches yours. For instance, if you carry a $500,000 limit, then your subcontractor needs to carry this same limit.


Make sure they are licensed

In some states, a license is not required, but if a license is available, your subcontractors need to have it. In states such as California, a license is required, and customers can refuse to pay someone who is unlicensed. This is not a situation that you want to get yourself into, so double check that they have a license! Also, make sure that the subcontractor’s license is up-to-date and not expired. You can check if a subcontractor’s license is valid by going to the Construction Contractor Board website and entering their license number.


Ask for referrals

Like any job applicant process, referrals are essential. Ask them for referrals from contractors they have worked for in the past. If a potential subcontractor doesn’t want to give you referrals, that’s probably a good sign you don’t want to hire them. If they do give you referrals, this gives you a chance to talk to their previous contractors about the quality of their work.

Check to see if they have any complaints logged against them

On the Construction Contractor Board website, you can check to see if the subcontractor you are considering has any complaints logged against them. This can help prevent you from hiring a potentially problematic worker!


Ask them about safety

Fatalities and injuries in the construction workplace are unfortunately quite prevalent. Asking a sub about their safety plans and processes can help give you an idea of how much they know about safety regulations and practices.

Create a written contract

In your contract specify what you expect from the sub and how you will pay them. This effectively establishes the expectations and responsibilities of each party and protects the interests of both parties.



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