Deciding to outsource work is sometimes necessary for a business, if the job falls outside your realms of expertise for instance. You need to remember that who you’re hiring is representing your business to the client, and that you’re completely responsible for the work carried out, whether you did it, or not.
This means, that you’re responsible for any mistakes, problems, or developments in a project due to their actions. Whoever you hire to represent your business must fit the bill, and adhere to your high standards while excelling in the work that you need done in terms of quality, credibility and liability.
While hiring the right contractor can be a difficult task, it’s not impossible. To make the process a little easier for you, here are 10 essential guidelines for hiring contractors:
1. Ask for evidence of license, and ongoing training
Depending on the nature of the job, it might be necessary for contractors to be accredited by an industry body to carry out the work. If you’re a contractor appointing a sub-contractor, it’s your responsibility to make sure that whoever is working for you, is capable of working safely and has the accreditations needed.
Evidence of ongoing training is also something that you should request as it shows that the contractor is keeping their skills up to date, up to standard, and has the desire to continually improve the work that they do. Ongoing training is a sign of a good contractor!
2. Request references from previous clients
Without references, how do you know that they can do what they say they can? Verifying the information that you have been provided by the contractor through references should always form part of your hiring process. It also helps to see the standard of work that a contractor can deliver, just so that you know they’re capable of carrying out the work on your project.
3. Check that they have the right insurance
Whether the contractor that you hire is bona fide, or labour only, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they have the right level of insurance just in case the worst should happen. In the case of labour only contractors, you need to make sure that your own employer’s liability insurance will cover the work that they’re going to do for you.
4. Ensure they’re health and safety trained
While you’re responsible for providing contractors with a working environment that provides low risk to the health and safety of your contractors, it isn’t only your responsibility. They also have a duty of care to ensure that the worksite they, and their workers are sent to do not pose any risks, and should be trained to carry out relevant health and safety assessments and follow procedures.
5. Find out who exactly is doing the work
Will the contractor you’re hiring do the work themselves? Or will they be hiring a subcontractor to do it? If it’s going to be the latter, you need to be provided details of the criteria that the contractor will use to employ a subcontractor (it should be a repeat of your hiring process) so that you know they’re also up to the job. Remember, you’re the one responsible at the end of the project.
6. Understand what your own responsibilities are
Before work begins, and your contract is signed, you need to define exactly what your responsibilities and deliverables are to the contractor. Whether this be providing them with paperwork, your health and safety procedure, or specific tools they need for the job, you have to understand what the contractor is expecting from you to do their job.
Once defined, ensure they’re added into the contract.
7. Get your contract signed
The contract should cover costs, brands of materials used (or items installed), approximate start and finish dates, a complete set of drawings (if applicable) with written specifications, deliverables expected from each party and responsibilities. A contract can never be too detailed.
8. Appoint a point of contact
It’s much easier to maintain contact with the same person every time you communicate about a job. Having one single point of contact per project ensures that lines of communication are always kept open, and the chances of crossed wires are reduced.
9. Agree KPIs
Monitoring the work carried out by your contractor is a vital part of any project. To ensure that your high standards are achieved, and that the project is kept on the right track, agreeing and implementing KPIs to monitor outcomes is necessary.
10. Remain compliant
Remaining compliant with regulations, and industry standards is the key to making sure that projects can run without a hitch. By following the 10 essential guidelines for hiring contractors in this blog, you’re already part of the way there… If you’d like to learn more about maintaining a level of compliance with your contractors, you should download The contractors guide to managing subcontractor compliance, for helpful tips and advice.