How to work with subcontractors: Rates, relationships, and sourcing

Ann F Dewar
May 29, 2023

With a talent shortage across the field service management industry, businesses are increasingly turning to subcontractors and third-party vendors.

Hiring field service subcontractors is a good way to speed up productivity, improve quality, and keep clients happy. It’s also a cost-effective way of increasing your geographical reach and covers any skills gaps you might have for one-off jobs. In short, they give you tonnes of flexibility. 💪

And with the right field service management software, it’s now a simple process to manage too.

With the right tech, the hiring, onboarding, and scheduling of subcontractor jobs are all now streamlined in one system. Plus, some job management software makes white labelling possible – making it a seamless process while ensuring quality remains high.

If you want to expand your team with subcontractors and third-party vendors, keep reading to learn more about current rates, how to build effective relationships, and where to source them.

What’s a fair subcontractor rate?

Subcontractors have been an important business asset for years. And paying a fair rate will attract the right person for the job and create a two-way value exchange.

  • According to jobsite, the average UK field service engineer rate is £125-£200 per day.
  • And it’s probably no surprise that some specialisms may garner a higher rate - depending on experience and specialist skills, some specialist subcontractors earn over £400 per day.

Understanding fair subcontractor rates leads us to the next section: How can you create strong subcontractor relationships? So let's outline a few best practices.

How to develop good subcontractor relationships

Building good subcontractor relationships starts with the right tech. That’s because the right field service management software helps you with:

  • Subcontractor quotation management – and managing multiple suppliers
  • Auto-assign and dispatch subcontractors
  • Mobile app to help them work on jobs easily and efficiently
  • Integrated accounts and payment processing

This means you can all follow the same process and each job can have a different checklist to guide the subcontractor through the steps they need to perform.

With the right tech, subcontractors can also use a mobile app to change the status of work orders, complete them, and record parts used.

Plus, they will see if any new jobs have been assigned and accept them on the spot.

Now that we’ve covered how to develop good subcontractor relationships, let’s explore how you can work with subcontractors to maintain consistency with your clients and make your life easier too.👇

How to maintain brand consistency with subcontractors

As we’ve seen, the right tech can help build a strong relationship with your subcontractors, but it can also help provide a streamlined service to clients too.

For instance, field service management software like BigChange can also help with:

  • Ensuring consistent delivery of quality service
  • Visibility into customer data and service/job history
  • Real-time updates on work order progress and customer quotes
  • Close out work orders on-site, enter parts used/needed, and time-on-site
  • Collect signatures immediately while on-site
  • Take and upload photos while on the job site
  • Append documentation for the customer, job, etc.

And if that’s not enough, a tool like BigChange also helps you to find subcontractors via its network.

The best bit is that they will already understand exactly how the system works, even if they have never done a job for you before. And since you supply them with the worksheets, they know exactly what you are looking for and the information and workflow you need, meaning that you can provide customers with completed job cards and invoices quickly too.

As an interesting side note, when outsourcing work to subcontractors, having visibility into their activities is critical. You can’t give them work and lose sight of where they are, as they might miss key deadlines, cause delays and harm your reputation with your customers.

Whereas, with the right software, you can gain the same insight into the movements of your subcontractors and third-party vendors as you would with in-house engineers. So you can see their schedule, availability, and work status as they complete tasks, and ensure they are on time and executing the level of service you need them to perform.

And as jobs are completed, you can quickly pay your subcontractors with integrations with your finance systems. This helps you build a reputation as a fast payer and further cements your relationship.

So now that we’ve covered how to work effectively with subcontractors, let’s look at exactly where to find trusted expertise.👇

Where do field service businesses find reliable subcontractors?

This one is the million-dollar question, regardless of which sector you work in. Where do people find reliable and high-quality subcontractors? As with most things in life, the most effective way is through referrals and word-of-mouth.

Some field service management software, like BigChange, provide networking communities where you can find reliable and recommended subcontractors.

You can even list your own business to subcontract for others.

BigChange also comes out-of-the-box integrated with the BigChange network, so that you can get work orders and jobs sent out to accept quotes from subcontractors – without leaving your field service software. This means you can accept bids, turn them into quotes, and meet your growing demand.

Ready to scale your field service business?

Sub-contractors can be a game changer for your business. They allow you to speed up productivity, improve quality, and keep clients happy. You can even expand into new markets and cover skills gaps in a super-flexible way.

How can you achieve all this? The most efficient and productive field service businesses rely on field service management software, like BigChange, for effective contractor management.

With the right tech you can deliver consistent and exceptional customer service for every job and strengthen contractor relationships – all while reducing operating costs. Win-win!

Join BigChange and get access to:

  • A private community to network and find subcontractors and third-party vendors.
  • Tools, systems, and software to make your business more efficient and receive alerts on delays and manage and monitor subcontractor activities.
  • Smart scheduling, vehicle tracking, and route planning to ensure you’re sending the right subcontractor for the job.
  • Access the same mobile app as your field service engineers.
  • Templates, workflows, and automations to make your business run smoother.

So if you’re looking to work with sub-contractors, give BigChange a try. Request a demo now.

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