Are Subcontractors Bad for Commerical Painting?

“Subcontractors”. It’s a controversial word in the construction industry. Customers do not like to hear that their project is being “subbed out”. But, the sub-contractor model has been the mainstay in construction for years. The fact is that the vast majority of construction or renovation companies (renovation, new construction, restoration, roofing, drywall, painting, framing etc . . .) utilize subcontractors to deliver their service. Yet, the fear remains:

“It’s scary to think that you are hiring one company when another is doing the work. One place books it and then sloughs it of taking its percent of the profit,” said the owner of a recently renovated home. “I write a cheque to one company, but who knows who is doing the work?”

There is a perception that the only way to get a job done right is to get an actual employee-based company. In reality, a properly managed project with subcontractors can deliver the best result at the most competitive price. Why is the subcontractor model successful? Simple: subcontractors are paid a fixed price to deliver their service. Inefficient or poor quality work means money lost for the subcontractor. In other words, subcontractors’ are motivated to get the job done on time, on spec and budget.

A good construction firm screens its subs just as rigorously as it would employees, weeding out the weak from the strong. Once a project is awarded, the professional firms assign Project Managers who oversee every step of the process, holding the customer’s hand and stepping in when needed. Professional HR practices, strong management and motivated on-site workers mean a successful project.

One local company is taking that a step further. Wolfgang Commercial Painters is putting their subcontractors through school. To be a contractor for Wolfgang, they must go through Wolfgang University. “Wolfgang University is designed to use the collective knowledge of the Wolfgang Organization and the painting industry to ensure that our painting crews are experts in preparation and application,” says Operations Manager Greg Bertram. “[With] Wolfgang University training [the painters] will give you a better paint job and a better customer service experience. Ultimately making everything easier for all parties involved. Win/Win.”

It’s not all just about the paint. “We are more excited about the opportunity for everyone in the company to grow from the experience. [It] is also about living our values of openness and teamwork within the company,” says Greg. “I look forward to the great possibilities of improvements on all fronts”.

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