Does Your Contractor use Employees or Trade Partners?
It seems to matter greatly to some consumers whether or not a contractor will use his own employees or use trade partners. There are several legitimate issues associated with this question, but it really is not an issue in most cases. It just seems consumers have been warned against a contractor who mostly uses trade partners. Understand that the contractor is just as responsible for the trade partners as he is for his own employees. It is solely the responsibility of the professional contractor to decide how and by whom the work will be completed. The contractor needs a wide margin of flexibility in this area because problems may arise and he needs to have the ability to solve the situation in a timely fashion. Some aspects of the remodeling process can only be legally completed by trade partners while some can be completed by just about anyone, but it is only the person performing that task all day, every day that becomes proficient and is cost-effective.
Contractors who have their own employees tend to be more stable and in control of all aspects of the project. It takes a steady flow of work and a steady flow of projects to effect steady employment for quality carpenters, leaving them engaged and satisfied. The carpenters tend to control the flow of the day-to-day operation on the job and guide the trade partners in the absence of the contractor himself. Having the same workers there every day leads to better projects. A contractor is familiar with his own carpenters and their strengths and weaknesses.
Contractors who subcontract all of the work lose some of the control of the whole process and spend a certain amount of time trying to anticipate everything that could happen. Contractors spend a lot of effort conveying to the trade partners how the work should be done and what has been sold to the consumer. The longer a trade partner has worked with a general contractor, the more these things happen without intervention. Trade partners may send a different crew each time, creating the necessity to stay on top of the project better so everyone is “on the same page.”
Unacceptable: The contractor hires carpenters and other workers on an hourly basis from a day labor work pool. No one on the job is in charge. Every worker is doing “his own thing” and no one is supervised. There really is no plan. Workers come and go in an unpredictable fashion.
Good: The contractor has had the same group of employees for years. These employees understand the general contractor’s systems and every one is working together with clear communication between all concerned parties.
Better: In addition to the above, the contractor has invested time and money for his employees’ continued education. Many of the employees have taken classes or participated in ongoing education to further their knowledge and understanding of their trade. They take great pride in their contribution to the project as a whole.
Best: In addition to the above, the contractor knows the strengths and weaknesses of all employees and has good personal relationships with all of them. The carpenters have secure jobs and they know it. There is room for advancement in the company and the company encourages and supports the growth of all employees.