by Mark Holman, Director & General Manager, WolfDesign
Now that it’s late summer, you’re probably on the hunt for the best subcontractors to help you with your snow removal accounts.
How do you hire the right subs? Here are 11 tips to get you started:
1. Look early. Yes, your snow removal competitors start looking for their subcontractors in September. However, you should be looking year round to get the best of the best subcontractors in your region.
2. Character counts. You need to be reasonably sure your subs will show up on time with good equipment on their vehicles. And your aim should be to hire subs who are willing to communicate with the dispatcher and receive correction on jobs that were done. The only way to find those qualified folks is through interviewing them and checking their references.
3. Keep your ear to the ground. As you know, word of mouth is the best referral in the snow and ice removal business. Who have you heard does an outstanding job? What about the people already on staff? Could they recommend a sub for you?
4. Retainer method. Make your life easier by keeping your subcontractors coming back year after year. Stay in touch with them throughout the year, pay on time, and treat them with respect.
5. Referral perks. Get your current subs to refer their buddies by including a bonus for each referral. You might find yourself with more subs than you need.
6. Proof of insurance. Don’t leave yourself open to liability. Make sure your subs are appropriately insured with a current certificate of coverage.
7. Make sure your subs know the scope of work that you expect from them. Have them sign a contract before the first flake falls.
8. Hire subs with quality equipment. Save yourself a headache by only hiring subs with good equipment. You don’t want to rescue anyone stranded across town because their truck won’t start.
9. Don’t forget the power of teamwork.
10. Pay on time. Your subcontractors aren’t volunteering their time. Instead, they’re out for 12-24 hours at a time—maybe longer—away from their families and jobs. Respect them by paying them on time.
11. Train them. Everyone does their best job when they know what’s expected of them. You don’t want to over-train your subcontractors so they can start their own snow removal business. Yet, you don’t want them in the dark when the first snowstorm hits your area.
Remember, start early to look for qualified snow removal subcontractors. Then use the above tips to get them on board before you need to go out for the first storm of the year.
Morris, Kate, “No Sub-Stitutions,” SNOW Magazine: October 4, 2007.
Riell, Howard, “Help Wanted,” Grounds Maintenance.