Working with subcontractors can be a little challenging because they cannot be managed as directly as the typical employee. However, this does not mean that managers have to just give up and accept that some subcontractors are not fulfilling their full potential. Try following these tips to deal with a problematic subcontractor and encourage them to meet their obligations on time.


Look at the Contract

Before taking any other steps, carefully read the subcontract. This document should spell out all of the subcontractor’s and contractor’s obligations, and it is meant to protect all parties in case something is going wrong. Therefore, the subcontract is an essential tool for dealing with underperforming subcontractors. It will detail causes for terminations and explain what sort of fees each party may be expected to pay in case of a termination. Termination should typically be avoided since it can add more time to a project, but it helps to be aware of all potential consequences before speaking to the subcontractor.


Discuss Expectations Clearly

Choose a time when the subcontractor is not busy to go over the duties they are expected to perform. Provide clear goals to meet within a specific deadline, and bring up how these goals are outlined in the contract. Remind them of what sort of fees they may be expected to pay in case of terminations or missed deadlines. Be reasonable and offer suggestions for how the subcontractor can eventually get back on track instead of telling them they have to reach the initial goals immediately. To avoid conflict, try not to sound belligerent or bossy. Instead, phrase the discussion in a way that emphasizes a desire to work with the contractor and avoid having to terminate them.


Offer a Short Remediation Period

After explaining the duties that the subcontractor needs to perform to avoid termination, provide a remediation period during which the subcontractor can work to meet their original schedule. A notice of around 72 hours is usually reasonable, though extra time may be necessary if it is almost the weekend. Giving a subcontractor too much time to meet goals may be problematic because it makes them feel like they have plenty of time to procrastinate. However, excessively short remediation periods can discourage the contractor because they are impossible to meet.