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How to Subcontract Work

When you are starting your own painting business, you need consider subcontracting out your work.

Eric Barstow
Published Date: 02/02/2014

When you are starting your own painting business, you need consider subcontracting out your work. Subcontracting is just a way to hire a professional painter to work for you. Why do that? Consider the alternative – hiring painters.

You can post an ad to find a painter – someone who is looking for employment, for a job. Sometimes they are looking for something long-term, sometimes they are looking for some quick cash. Sometimes they have experience, sometimes they don’t. You have to provide all of the equipment, and you have to provide necessary training. You also need to pay an employee as a W2 employee – which means payroll, dealing with taxes, etc. So many things are difficult about employees.

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What Is Subcontracting? (And Why It’s So Great)

Subcontracting is when you are hiring another company and you are contracting the job to that company. Anyone can be a subcontractor. Here is what defines a subcontractor. They have a registered business, they have the required license, they have insurance, and they have all of their own equipment.

The nice thing about working with subcontractors is that you don’t have to worry about payroll, or taxes. You just write them one check. You agree on a price at the beginning of the job so you aren’t paying an hourly employee to smoke cigarettes the second you leave. You don’t have to provide equipment. They don’t require full-time work – since they aren’t an employee. They have the right to go do other jobs, but they also don’t need full-time work. A sub can do a job for you every 3 weeks if that’s all the work you have.

Basically – it’s a no brainer. It is way easier to subcontract. Learn more about how to do it in the  .


The Basics of Subcontracting

Recently, we had a huge influx of work. There was a hailstorm and it’s a feeding frenzy for all of the work that is available. So I desperately needed more painters to handle all the jobs we were getting.

I posted an ad on Craigslist that said something like “We’re looking for subcontractors to help us with work. We have more jobs than we know what to do with. Must have your own equipment, insurance. Contact Eric”

I made it a little sexier than that – but that’s about as simple as it is. Then I start getting calls. I tell them how much we are willing to pay on jobs, and we set up a time to meet at a house. We meet a house we are about to paint. I say “For this job, we are doing the whole house, 2 coats, including all of the necessary prep work. We’re using Sherwin Williams Super Paint on the entire job. We can pay $1750. What do you think?” (By the way – we pay 50% for materials and labor. The sub provides the paint up front. If they can’t afford it, I’ll provide paint and take that out of the 50%.)

Then they say yes or no. If they say yes, I set up the job for them to start. Once they start, they finish the job, they collect the final check. They bring me the final check, and I give them their check. Then we start the next house.

This is the process to finding a good sub-contractor. Simpler than you thought?

Just for perspective, if you use employees, you will need equipment. Here is a great article about all the painting equipment you'll need to purchase if you don't use subs.

For a detailed guide on hiring reliable contractors who want to work for you, check out my course.

Is this blowing your mind? Tell me in the comments.

~Eric


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