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BuildMapper Blog

10 Common Pitfalls to Avoid for Subcontractors


Running a successful subcontracting company comes with its own set of challenges. From managing daily operations to growing your business, it's easy to overlook critical strategies that can hinder your progress. To help you achieve the success you deserve, we've compiled a list of ten common mistakes that subcontractors often make. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can position your company for future growth and prosperity.

1. Working "In" the Business and Not "On" the Business

If you find yourself constantly immersed in the day-to-day work of your business, it's time to take a step back. Delegating tasks and trusting your employees to handle projects will free up valuable time for you to focus on strategic planning and business development. Don't be afraid to relinquish control and empower your team to take on more responsibilities.

2. Neglecting to Track Your Numbers

To maximize your profits, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your financial metrics for each project. Accurately tracking costs, including employee wages, materials, and equipment use, allows you to determine your profit margins and price projects effectively. Make it a priority to analyze and assess the financial performance of your business regularly.

3. Failing to Maintain a Full Pipeline of Job Leads

While it may be tempting to stop seeking new opportunities when you have a few jobs lined up, this mindset limits your growth potential. Strive to differentiate yourself by selectively choosing high-quality projects instead of simply accepting whatever is available. Continuously nurturing a robust pipeline of job leads will improve the caliber of projects you undertake.

4. Wasting Time on Unqualified Leads

Creating detailed estimates and meeting builders on-site can be time-consuming. Prioritize efficiency by qualifying leads over the phone before investing significant time and resources. Engage in preliminary discussions to gauge compatibility and alignment regarding price ranges, start dates, and expectations. This approach will save you hours in estimating and ensure that you focus on the most promising opportunities.

5. Underestimating the Power of Branding and Advertising

Don't underestimate the impact of branding and advertising on your subcontracting business. If you've dismissed these strategies in the past, it may be because your efforts weren't targeted effectively. Utilize online advertising tools to precisely reach your desired audience and measure the success of your campaigns. Allocate a monthly budget for print, online, and social media advertising to consistently promote your brand. Remember, sustained exposure across multiple channels is key to capturing the attention of builders and homeowners.

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6. Overlooking Employee Training and Development

Investing in the training and development of your employees is crucial for ensuring both the quality of their work and their job satisfaction. Establish a comprehensive training protocol that equips your team with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform at their best. By empowering your employees, you create a positive work environment and enhance overall productivity.

7. Underpaying Valuable Employees

In a competitive industry with a high turnover rate, retaining skilled employees is essential. Recognize and reward exceptional performance by offering competitive wages. While this may reduce immediate profits, it fosters loyalty and allows you to focus on growing your business with a reliable team.

8. Failing to Establish Clear Contracts with Builders

Before commencing any project, ensure that you have a well-defined contract in place. Clearly outline job details, payment terms, and expectations to avoid misunderstandings or payment issues. Even when working with trusted builders, a contract provides essential protection for both parties involved.

9. Avoiding the Temptation to Lower Your Prices

Competing solely on price is a detrimental business strategy that leads to a race to the bottom. Instead, focus on differentiating yourself based on the quality of your work and exceptional customer service. Building a reputation for excellence will attract discerning clients willing to pay for quality craftsmanship, ultimately resulting in long-term success and profitability.

10. Overlooking the Power of Networking and Building Relationships

Building strong connections within the industry is often underestimated but can have a significant impact on your subcontracting business. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and actively engage in networking opportunities. By fostering relationships with builders, suppliers, and other subcontractors, you gain access to valuable referrals and collaborative opportunities that can fuel your company's growth.

As a subcontractor, avoiding these ten pitfalls is essential for positioning your business for success. By prioritizing strategic planning, tracking financial metrics, maintaining a steady pipeline of job leads, and focusing on branding and advertising, you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Additionally, investing in employee training, fair wages, and clear contracts with builders will contribute to the long-term stability and profitability of your company. Finally, never underestimate the power of networking and building relationships within the industry. By avoiding these common mistakes and adopting a proactive approach, you can navigate the subcontracting landscape with confidence and achieve the level of success your business deserves.



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