Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done

 
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:54 AM   #1
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Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


a) What line of work are you in?
b) What was your subcontractor turnover rate in 2019 (calculated by # of Subs Who Have Left divided by Average # of Subs)
c) What is the 1 best, actionable, thing you could advise other GCs to do to keep subs long-term?

I'll start:

a) Carpentry
b) 50% (2 / 4)
c) Set expectations via a signed agreement before any work is done with a new sub (i.e. pay draws and drug use)
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Provide a profitable work environment.
In case you haven't noticed, labor wages have been suppressed for a long time. It's time to pay the piper! It's way overdue!

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Old 01-08-2020, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


In addition to above...
Provide good detailed plans.
Good clear selections.
Limit change orders to a minimum.
Do realistic scheduling, that doesn't have to be modified every few days.
Provide good supervision so jobs are ready when next sub starts.
Provide a good all around electronic po, scheduling, selections, & payment system.
Don't go to overboard on this though by making it impossible for everyday subs to
figure out. Most can't afford an it guy to figure out overly complex systems.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:01 PM   #4
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by Railman View Post
Provide a profitable work environment.
In case you haven't noticed, labor wages have been suppressed for a long time. It's time to pay the piper! It's way overdue!
Everything else contributes to that.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:03 PM   #5
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


I will advise from the other end, subcontractor.

I have very little turnover with my GC's
2 main GC's provide about 75% of our work over the last 15 years.

Professionalism on both ends is the most important.
That means being honest and acting with integrity. Pricing fairly and expecting prompt payment go hand in hand. If you expect me to wait an unreasonable amount of time, expect the price to be higher.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:04 PM   #6
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


a. General contracting (hence; "Subs".....If I was a specific trade contractor I wouldn't engage "subs")

b. This depends on if we're operating in a state with or without state contractor licensing. In California, I very rarely have to find another sub - In Colorado it's a revolving door.

c. Move your operations to a state with contractor licensing; (CA, OR, WA, NV, AZ, UT, ID, NM, Fl)

Herein lies you "sub" turnover issues-
In states with authentic state licensing you're dealing with generally capable people - In states that lack licensing, it's a free-for-all and the majority of "contractors" or "subs" (as they are commonly referred to), shouldn't even be in business. They are otherwise & for all intents & purposes employees masquerading as "independent subcontractors".
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:29 PM   #7
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


fastest way to blow subs off is to hand them a 19 page contract full of legalese etc...

be honest with them.

be loyal, don't try and beat every dime out of them you can.

PAY THEM WHEN THEY ARE DONE...

however, if you are shopping bids looking for the cheapest price one usually gets what they pay for.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


a) GC - high-end home remodeling
b) 0% - no subs left
c) Clear scope of work. Agreed about expectations. Organized scheduling and job site. Prompt Payment. Fair pricing.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:39 PM   #9
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Want to keep subs long term?


Don't try to save a buck by always looking for a cheaper one.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:41 PM   #10
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren View Post
I will advise from the other end, subcontractor.

I have very little turnover with my GC's
2 main GC's provide about 75% of our work over the last 15 years.

Professionalism on both ends is the most important.
That means being honest and acting with integrity. Pricing fairly and expecting prompt payment go hand in hand. If you expect me to wait an unreasonable amount of time, expect the price to be higher.
I have two guys that feed me probably half my work, they call when putting their prices together for the owner, I give them the price.

They know my work and want more of it, and I repay in kind by being prompt to arrive and get the work done during the timeframe they specify.

I get paid on time, they get the work done on time, it's crazy really.
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:00 PM   #11
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Have a few ive been subbing for 20 years+. Many more over 10+. Prices never needed, let me do my own thing.

Iíve had to let go a lot of contractors over the years. Iím picky who I work for. I can be. My goal isnít to be huge or make a fortune.


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Old 01-08-2020, 05:11 PM   #12
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


1. GC doing high end remodeling and additions

2. 0%, probably 15 different subs I used this year.

3 Give them advanced notice when jobs are starting. I give a email when I have gotten the job and expected start date, then I call about 4 weeks before we start. I also call a week before we start as guys always seem to have 100 things going on. It may seem redundant, but most actually prefer it.

Pay them, too many GC's and builders just beat subs up on price. I don't even get pricing from my subs unless something is truly crazy. My plaster guy I always pay more than the bill, he's just too damn low every time. I have never had a sub leave, but I've dumped them over the years.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:14 PM   #13
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
a) GC - high-end home remodeling
b) 0% - no subs left
c) Clear scope of work. Agreed about expectations. Organized scheduling and job site. Prompt Payment. Fair pricing.
You have to elaborate on this, licensed electrician, plumber and HVAC on staff? If you need excavation or foundation? How big is the crew?

That's impressive, dealing with subs really makes me rethink my life choices.
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Old 01-08-2020, 06:24 PM   #14
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


A) GC
B) 1/7
C) I donít price shop or complain about bills. I treat them fair and expect the same in return

Lost my painter this year after his price on a standard basement went up 2/3 without and heads up or explanation
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:53 PM   #15
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoastjoe View Post
You have to elaborate on this, licensed electrician, plumber and HVAC on staff? If you need excavation or foundation? How big is the crew?



That's impressive, dealing with subs really makes me rethink my life choices.
I read it that no subs left him, not that he no longer uses subs.

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Old 01-09-2020, 10:48 AM   #16
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
fastest way to blow subs off is to hand them a 19 page contract full of legalese etc...

be honest with them.

be loyal, don't try and beat every dime out of them you can.

PAY THEM WHEN THEY ARE DONE...

however, if you are shopping bids looking for the cheapest price one usually gets what they pay for.
Commercial GC with 90% of our work subcontracted. Our Sub turnover is generally 0%.

Pretty much what Griz says except we don't usually pay when they are done. Most of our work is monthly progress payments and our contracts with the Owner usually stipulate that subcontractors are not to be paid until the prime contractor has received payment from the Owner. Basically the Owner doesn't want a sub to be paid until the work is excepted by them. We also hold 5-10% retainage on most payments. That being said, most of our subs know they can pick up the phone and ask for money if needed and we have their backs. It's a two way street. We do not work with any sub that requires "Seed Money" It shows instability an it's rarely worth the battles we know are coming.

Our attitude has always been, "we're only as good as the people we partner with" and "we're all our here trying to make a living"
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:09 PM   #17
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Subs are no different than anyone else... they give preference to those who treat and pay them well... paying them well includes paying them when they are done...

Everyone's got bills to pay and when you get to the point where they know if they get a call from you, they can count on getting paid quickly, they're like anyone else... they follow the money... especially if they have their own payroll to deal with...
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:57 AM   #18
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


A) General Construction (mix of residential and commercial)
B) 0/0 this last year (I've never fired a sub. I have stopped using several, keep good relations, in case I ever get in a bind. Early this year, I found out a sub left the job site for no reason (drugs). I lined all of his tools up on the curb. By the time he got back, the job was done. Paid him in full. I don't plan on hiring him again, but there were no hard feelings. Well....maybe a little, but he got over it.)
C) The subs I almost always use, I've worked with them or the company for years. Some about 29 years. I pay my bill quickly. Try to keep the job organized and keep them up to date on our progress. I don't call them and say I need this done now. I keep up communication, so this doesn't happen. There are emergencies, but they are rare. I try to treat all subs as I would like to be treated.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:09 AM   #19
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Re: Sub Turnover - What Is Yours, And What Can Be Done


Quote:
Originally Posted by builditguy View Post
A) General Construction (mix of residential and commercial)
B) 0/0 this last year (I've never fired a sub. I have stopped using several, keep good relations, in case I ever get in a bind. Early this year, I found out a sub left the job site for no reason (drugs). I lined all of his tools up on the curb. By the time he got back, the job was done. Paid him in full. I don't plan on hiring him again, but there were no hard feelings. Well....maybe a little, but he got over it.)
C) The subs I almost always use, I've worked with them or the company for years. Some about 29 years. I pay my bill quickly. Try to keep the job organized and keep them up to date on our progress. I don't call them and say I need this done now. I keep up communication, so this doesn't happen. There are emergencies, but they are rare. I try to treat all subs as I would like to be treated.
For a job that's multi-week with a single sub: How often do you "check in" with them, or do you ask they "check in" with you?

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