small business, brand, entrepreneur, subcontractors

3 Things Your Subs Should Do on a Job Site

When it comes down to it, your clients think that you are in charge of everything on a project. You can explain how the process works and what the contractor and architect oversee, but clients will still see you as the leader, especially if you're good at what you do. So when it comes to subcontractors on site, whether you hired them or not, clients will almost always see them as part of YOUR team. Why is that important? Because on a job site, they represent you and your brand. So here are 3 things you should be sure subs do!

1. Dress the Part

I've been on sites where I was appalled that the painters showed up looking like they had slept in their clothes for a week. I've also seen movers for installations show up in grease-stained clothes. And the personal hygiene was awful. That can be incredibly embarrassing if the client is around to see it. It may be uncomfortable for you to talk to their supervisor or to the contractor/builder, but you have to do it. In fact, it's better if you set expectations AHEAD of time. When you meet the person who is hiring subs on site, even if you are not "in charge" of them, you want to hand them a sheet that explains how you expect them to show up. If you're the one hiring them, that same sheet will go a long way toward explaining what you expect. You can always add clauses that says you'll send people home at their expense if they show up in a way that isn't clean and professional. Because that's ALL you're asking for here. It's a sign of respect to the job and the client. That goes for loud music and laughter or any cursing when the client is around.

2. Keep It Clean

I am a stickler for being sure that we are keeping a clean job site. Again, this is about respect. At the end of the day, all trash needs to be cleaned up, tools put away, and anything dangerous locked up. There is nothing worse than seeing drink cans scattered around, nails dropped, or paint cans left open. The client could drop by at any time and you don't want them to think that the work being done is substandard. But that's the impression they'll get when they see a mess around what is supposed to be their dream house. You can head this off at the pass by asking for clean-ups throughout the day, and definitely by the end of the workday. Speaking of cleaning up - I once had to ask a design assistant to clean out her car because my client walked past it at the project's site and asked if my assistant lived in her car. OUCH. But again, that's a reflection on MY brand and MY business. Finally, when it's move-in time on installation day, everyone on your team (including movers) should wear paper booties and face masks. Show respect for your client AND the work you've done!

3. Clear Communication 

When a client drops by to see how things are going - and they will - sometimes they'll talk to a sub to see what they're doing. It's just human curiosity. However, if the client starts to question things, like asking if that's the right grout or if the paint shouldn't have been eggshell, that's where problems can occur. The subs should not EVER answer those questions. They should always direct the client to you. You will be the one with the right answers, and any documentation to back up what the client selected and signed off on. It's just going to open a huge can of worms if the subcontractor tries to answer OR - and this can be worse - gives his or her opinion on what should have been selected. That can create a frustrating situation, for you and for the client. So be sure that it is very clear that all questions about the job being done should go to you. Period.

All of this should be spelled out in an agreement or one-sheet that you create for your contractor and subcontractors. You want to be sure that everyone receives one, even if your contractor hired the people working on site. That will avoid any dark marks on your reputation and brand!

Another way to keep things in line is to have regular meetings with the build team. Download my FREE Guide to Building Team Meeting Notes so you'll be ready to lead those meetings with confidence!




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