Seeking Business Through Subcontracting
Sub contracting used to be a dirty word in terms of developing your business, but now it is widely accepted that, as long as you stick to certain ground rules, sub contracting is a great way to seek new work and build your business.
So what are these ground rules and how can you make sure your sub contractors stick to them?
Choose Your Sub Contractors WiselyYou can’t just give the work to whoever is the cheapest. Sub contractors are representatives of your company in the eyes of your clients and you have to recruit them with the same care as you would a full time member of staff.
The first way to ensure that you have the right contractors is to give yourself plenty of time to find them. Don’t leave it till the last minute as not only will your negotiating ability be compromised, but so too will your choice.
Now, this is often easier said than done as the first time a small business needs to use a sub contractor is usually when they’re up against it with a deadline. Counteract this as much as possible by building up a network of potential sub contracting contacts when you don’t need them – ask around and if you hear of a job well done, get the details of the people involved.
The second way to get the right sub contractors is to look after them. When you’ve found a decent sub contractor to work with, pay them properly, on time (VERY important) and try to give them notice of projects.
Maintain ControlAlthough the relationship between small business owner and sub contractor is not one of ‘employee/employer’, there does need to be an element of control. As ‘the boss’ you can’t be too heavy handed, as the sub contractor will just not want to work with you, but successful outsourcing does require you to maintain ‘ownership’ of the project and how it is conducted.
If you following the suggestions above, you will find that most sub contractors will be pleased to work with you. Remember that good sub contractors are hard to find.
Maintaining control is just as appealing for the sub contractor as it is for the business owner. Most sub contractors work with a variety of clients and it is often those that are the clearest in what they want that are the best to work with – as long as they pay on time!
Regular ReviewsOutsourcing is a normal part of business now, so it is not to be left to chance, especially if you are regularly working with the same sub contractors and are finding that the same issue crop up time and time again.
It is worth knowing that most sub contractors are very keen to have reviews – it helps their diary project management as much as yours. If you have found someone to rely on and you are able to work with their existing workload, you can both benefit.
Be careful not to approach the review like an employee review- sub contractors are usually self-employed and they like it that way – but do be open, honest and realistic about how to get the best out of your outsourcing budget.