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Your thoughts on using Sub-contractors?

Are sub contractors the answer to short term staffing issues i.e busy periods, mat/paternity etc.

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Hi All,

Just wondering what your stance and thoughts were on the use of sub-contractors?

I am looking into the possibility of using them to help out during busy periods, and as cover for when a member of staff has 3 months unpaid leave to go travelling. Also could subcontractors be used in any period of staff change over i.e. from when an employee leaves and the new member of staff starts?

I would be grateful if you could share your thoughts / experiences:

  • Do you use them?
  • Would you use them?
  • If not what puts you off about sub-contractors?
  • What concerns / reservations do you have about using sub-contractors?
  • What issues have you had trying to find sub-contractors?
  • What issues have you had with hired sub-contractors?
  • What payment structure do you tend to use i.e. day / hourly rate, fixed job rate?
  • Where do you look for / find sub-contractors?
  • Do you think local is key or are you open to cloud based working?

Thanks in advance.

Replies (5)

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By zebaa
26th Feb 2020 15:21

Sub-contractors are a varied group, some good, some less so. Bit like employees really. Oversight is key as is a slow gradual build up of work so you can see problems - and there will be problems - before they become critical. Simple is best as a payment structure, where you both understand what is required and when it is due. It may help if you know why they are sub-contractors and not employees and then use that as motivation, by offering pay or conditions to match. Lastly, never tried cloud, but it seems to me to difficult to manage on a long term basis, might be okay for a one-off.

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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 20:53


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By Richard Grant
27th Feb 2020 07:38

As a subcontractor I would say that if you want it to work you must ensure various things:
Ask them to sign a non disclosure and non compete agreement
Your working papers are correct and clearly laid out
Your / your clients book keeping is to a high standard
You check their qualifications and take references
Above all reply to queries promptly (don't switch you phone off or take a week to reply to emails) I work 100% remotely so communication (or lack of it is a big issue)
Remember they are just like you, they want the job done, money in the bank and to move on to the next client.
Agree a fees per job so both of you have clarity. It means that if they spend a long time getting themselves up to speed you don't pay for it and conversely they have the ability to profit on the good jobs.
Normal fees are 30% of your charge out on the job as a ballpark figure, but have a fee in mind before you offer the job. Remember if you continuously hand over messy jobs that will run up their clock and leave them out of pocket they will turn down future work.

So subbing out work is not an easy fix you will have to put in some effort too.
I work with some excellent practices and have also been presented with complete disasters by others that I've just handed back.

I agree with much of zebaa's post but really the future of subcontracting is cloud based.

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By Rgab1947
10th Mar 2020 10:49

Or gets coronavirus

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By pauljohnston
10th Mar 2020 10:52

Dont forget there are companies mostly based in in India that could fulfil this role

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