Letting contracts isn’t easy.

Failing to identify the need or component of a trade can significantly affect a budget, and how do you know who you can trust to get the job done right? Here are a few things worth remembering when letting a subcontract on your project.

6 ways to minimise risk when letting subcontracts

  1. Be specific   Before you start calling around get clear on your brief – be as specific as a Request For Tender (RFT) with an accurate scope of the work. This way nothing is missed when discussing the job, you have somewhere appropriate to note any relevant questions or comments from the contractor, and most importantly, you have something to email as a follow up post call. Confirmation emails even as bullet points are useful legal documents should there be any discrepancies down the track.
  1. Ask professionals   Do your homework. Only ask reputable subcontractors to submit to tender. Cheap and cheerful might get the popular vote but quality and professionalism is what will be the winner.

Not sure whether to engage in a new working relationship? Conduct due diligence.

  1. Evaluate and apply apples   Evaluation and an “apples for apples” comparison are vital to the success of a trade letting. Be thorough in your evaluation because even though you have done your part providing excellent and detailed information, the contractor may not have read it. This can cause you big problems down the line. It may also prevent the right contractor from winning the job.  It’s good practice to communicate with everyone who has put in a quote or tender, not just the one who won the job. Don’t leave a contractor up in the air. Let them know (via email to have a record) any areas where their quotation was lacking. This can give you the opportunity to ask them to revise and resubmit.
  1. Be accountable   It’s up to you the builder to ensure subcontractors are aware of their responsibilities before contract signing. Give them as much relevant information as possible. Ask if they have any questions and discuss everything to prevent issues during the job.
  1. Be compliant   Trust is an important factor in the success of any working relationship and compliance builds trust. Show subcontractors you have their back with compliant Safety Work Method Statements (SWMS).
  1. Excellent contracts   Never cut corners when formalising your subcontract agreement. Be sure to review the contract to ensure it meets the brief, has all the correct details (dates/names/addresses) and is compliant.

We hope you find this guide useful next time you’re calling for tender onsite.