There are a lot of useful articles out there that include tips on how to pick a reputable general contractor. We even like to write on this topic ourselves! However, the majority of these articles are written from the client’s perspective. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, we’ve discovered that there are a whole new set of tips and tricks regarding expectations for a contractor from a subcontractor’s point of view.

As we all know, subcontractors are an integral part to most projects. Once you find a good one, you will want to keep them at all costs. In order to help you both maintain a good relationship with one another—which means securing more work for your business—subcontractors should know how a reliable general contractor operates.

Six Expectations Subcontractors Should Have

Establish good communication – as with anything, you’re only as good as your communication is clear. Being able to communicate effectively with the general contractor will help to avoid potential problems before they escalate.

Make clear agreements – when it comes to the contract, don’t leave anything to guesswork. This includes avoiding allowances. These are line items in the contractor’s bid for something that has yet to be determined, like a specific tile or plumbing hardware. An allowance will usually list the price well below what you’ll end up spending.

Set deadlines – time management is one of the most important parts to managing a subcontractor. Agree on a start and finish date before beginning any project, ensuring that the work is done to your standards and in a timely manner.

Regular follow-ups – contractors will not just assume that the subcontractor’s work is getting done—they will check-in quite regularly. This doesn’t mean that they don’t trust their subcontractors, it’s their way of creating a culture of accountability. 

Pay only for completed work – this one should be expected. Whether your payments come in installments or in one lump sum, you will have to finish the work completely, in a timely manner and to the contractor’s standards in order to fulfill the agreement you both initially made.

Reward good performance – as mentioned above, a great subcontractor may be the most useful tool a contractor has in his toolbox. Once a good relationship is established through hard work, clear communication and mutual respect, a contractor will continue to hire that same subcontractor, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

The reality is this goes both ways for contractors and subcontractors: Working with the wrong person will not only cost you money, it can cost you your entire business. Finding a great contractor or subcontractor will help to create more business and finish jobs more efficiently, ultimately leading to more money and less stress. That is the goal!

Tammi Keckler is CFO, CEO and partner at JGL Consulting, a recent 2017 Best of HomeAdvisor award recipient.