Far be it for me to promote or criticize a particular business plan. I know a lot of business owners that are having great financial success as auto glass providers with a diverse number of different business types. However, I feel the need—for the sake of safety—to comment on the practice of subcontracting technicians.
First of all, subcontracting technicians is a periodic necessity if a disaster strikes or if business has a drastic unforeseen increase. You can’t turn down business because of fluctuations in the demand. However, there is some realizations that must be dealt with by both the business owner and the technician offering the service before entering into the subcontracting relationship.
If you are a business owner employing a subcontractor, there are some issues you must be aware of:
- The subcontractor is not your employee. He does not have your long term benefit at heart. You cannot control the technician—except by ending the relationship which also ends your extra help.
- You are responsible for his/her work—good or bad.
- Does the subcontractor follow your directives once they are out of your sight, or do they do what is expedient for them? If you pay by the job, they will do as many jobs as they can no matter what directives you give. If you deduct pay for warranty or callback work, they will make the job leak free, but is it well bonded?
- Liability is still yours. Heaven forbid that an accident occurs and the glass installation failed to perform properly. No matter what legal papers were signed, the improper installation will stain your company and good name—not the subcontractor’s.
- How well do you know the technicians skill level? Did you witness an installation? Did you check credentials and reputation?
What about the subcontractor’s responsibilities? Most, but not all, subcontractors are ex-employees of another auto glass company. They may be excellent technicians but average businessmen. Or, they can be poor technicians and poor businessmen. Either way, the relationship must be open and above aboard.
- As a contractor, do you carry your own business insurance? Do you carry your own worker’s compensation insurance?
- What happens if you damage a customers’ vehicle?
- A subcontractor is his/her own employer; it is his/her own business. All self-employed business taxes, fees and responsibilities apply.
- Are installation supplies and equipment provided, or are they the subcontractor’s responsibility? What do those supplies include, and what do they cost? Is the truck supplied? Is the fuel supplied?
- What if the glass is broke while installing? What if the wrong glass is ordered and a new glass must be picked up?
There is a lot to consider and discuss when subcontracting is the chosen business plan. However, there is one consideration that must be addressed above and beyond the financial and logistical issues, and that is the safety and provided service to the customer. Can it work to subcontract? Yes. Is it easy to provide safe and competent service? You be the judge.