What is a Subcontractor?
A subcontractor or ‘Subbie’, is an independent contractor executing services on behalf of a head contractor. A subcontractor is technically a business (Either an individual, multiple individuals or a company) and as a result are generally treated as businesses as per Australian legislation.
A subcontractor can:
- Work for themselves (Regardless of business structure)
- Work for multiple contractors
- Work with multiple clients
- Negotiate their own contracts and terms of engagement
- Hire employees
- Hire other subcontractors
- Usually use their own tools, arrangements and methods to perform the required services. Note: Services executed will need to be compliant with the relevant legislation governing the role/industry.
A subcontractor must (Where applicable):
- Hold relevant trade licences, qualifications and certifications
- Hold insurance (Public Liability Insurance & Professional Indemnity Insurance are the most common). It would be wise to also get insurance on the products that you use as a subcontractor such as tools, equipment or machinery.
- Ideally, have signed agreements with the contractors they work for the provision of their services.
As a business, subcontractors hold different types of risk to employees. One of those risks is the promise of work.
To be a successful subcontractor, you should:
- Continue to grow your network, put your name out there! List your business for free on Findasubbie.com.au for head contractors to be in touch!
- Secure and document arrangements via written agreements
- Gain an understanding of pricing before negotiation with the head contractor
- Vet employees you hire
- Maintain a stellar reputation. Head contractors value reliability.
- Invest in the right tools and don’t cut corners!
- Use modern software to manage your business.
- Continue to seek feedback from clients and head contractors
- Undertake relevant training that applies to your profession and in particular, areas that you may have a weakness in.
- Become a peacock – Work on your business image and stand out from the crowd! Start with creating a professional logo on Looka.
5 Tips to becoming a successful subbie!:
- Don’t burn bridges! None of us can walk on water.
- Don’t just go for the cheapest option! This applies when hiring other subbies, employees and even using equipment. Think of your clients first!
- Customer/client service is key to maintaining a resilient long-term relationship
- Quality of work is key to maintaining your image
- Keep your business and skill sets up to date!