How to Manage Subcontractors Effectively
By Nathan | Posted on April 29th, 2015
Everyone's heard the saying, "For every problem, there's a solution". Ironically in the construction industry these days, the opposite is true when it comes to managing subcontractors. The solution they offer is skilled labor to make up for workforce shortages at construction firms. The problem that they offer is that they do and don't work for you on a project. And as a result, trying to schedule these freelancers in around supply deliveries and other subcontractor work can quickly create a chaotic situation at a work site. It can also cause administrative woes in terms of report collecting and filing and payroll reporting. Subcontractors can pick and choose assignments these days, and you certainly don't want to alienate a company that does good work for your firm. So how can project managers and foremen diplomatically and effectively supervise workers that they don't actually supervise?
Start by meeting with the individual or individuals who actually do supervise your subcontractors. Make sure that the company owners and managers understand your project scope of work and schedules fully. Discuss reports that need to be submitted, protocols for overtime, who's responsible for supplying on-site equipment, and on-site etiquette (no swearing, no smoking, no unauthorized visitors) that all site workers are expected to observe. Set up regular meetings with the owner or manager of the subcontracting company or companies to discuss their progress. And be sure to get that manager or owner's input into what their workers will need to complete their part of the project safely and correctly before they begin work.
And to further insure harmony and efficiency on busy work sites, go digital. Software like Raken's for daily reporting allows project managers to oversee sub-contracted employees without stepping on toes. For example, Raken's various reporting formats are easily accessed via devices, making it easy for managers and foremen to observe work being done by subcontract employees, how long they're doing it, and how many are involved in it. Raken's software not only creates professional, industry standard compliant reports, it allows for collaboration, meaning that the subcontractor's office can contribute data directly to report fields. And files created using Raken's software can be stored for up to ten years, meaning data can be saved to refer to if issues occur.
No, it's not easy supervising employees who don't work for you. But by using techniques like advance planning and software for subcontractor management like Raken’s, managers will find it easier to keep all workers happier, and work continuing more smoothly.