As a business owner, you’re probably going to spend some of your time dealing with contractors to help your operations run as smoothly as possible. And while this is usually a pretty painless experience, you will run into difficulties from time-to-time.
In my time in business, I’ve worked with contractors of all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen it work at its best… and its worst. Fortunately, I’ve learned from my mistakes, and have amassed a few guidelines on what to do to minimise the risk of things going wrong. And in this article, I’m going to be sharing with you my top five tips on how to deal with contractors.
#1 – Mutual Respect
No one likes to be treated badly, not you or the contractors you work with. It’s not uncommon to rub each other up the wrong way, particularly when it’s an aspect of your business at stake. But remember, your contractor’s work is their livelihood, so the stakes are pretty high for them too. Any bad blood can be pre-emptively avoided by simply showing each other respect and having mutual empathy.
#2 – Align Your Expectations
This one’s important across the board in business, particularly when working with contractors. It’s your responsibility as the employer to figure out as many terms, conditions and possible curve balls as you can before the work gets started, so that you’ve got pre-agreed methods for dealing with problems as and when they come up.
#3 – Pay Them What They’re Worth
I understand that business owners are always on the look-out for a great deal, but the reality is that you can’t put a price on peace of mind. If you go out looking for the cheapest contractor available, the chances are you’re not going to get the highest quality work done. And the repercussions of this can be pretty severe. Do some research and get an idea of what a fair price is for the job you want done, and find a contractor with a decent reputation within that price bracket.
#4 – Divide up the Work
One of the biggest problems when it comes to dealing with contractors is their availability. Of course, they’re not full-time employees, so you can’t expect them to come running when you click your fingers. They might be on another job, on holiday or out sick. My solution to this is having several contractors from different industries who I regularly work with. This way, I have a list of names of workers who I know and trust can get the job done for a fair price. And if one of them isn’t available for whatever reason, I have a few other options.
#5 – Be Proactive, Not Reactive
As I’ve already mentioned, you want to work with contractors you know you can trust… and who aren’t going to bleed you dry. This relationship is particularly important when it comes to recurring problems. As a business owner, the last thing you want is to have to keep calling contractors out every month to fix the same problem. It’s expensive and inconvenient. What you really need is to fix the root of the problem in the first place. This isn’t always in the best interest of contractors because it means they’re out of pocket in the long run. However, find a contractor you get along well with who sees you as a top client, and they’ll want to do everything they can to help you out without ripping you off.
As you might have gathered, one of the most important steps to successfully dealing with contractors is building great relationships. You want to find someone who is a great worker and also invested in seeing you and your business succeed.
Of course, this can take some time, and you might have to go through a few contractors before you find that winning combination. However, if you bear these steps in mind, you’ll get there eventually and hopefully avoid a few headaches along the way.