What Are The 6 Main Criteria For Selecting Subcontractors? – 2024 Guide

Subcontracting is quite a common occurrence in construction work. According to Ron Nugent Toronto contractor, more often than not, a contractor will need to find someone else to help out with the project. A subcontractor can either take on the full scope of the project, leaving the contractor with some of the profits and the labour force for another project or step in as just as an expert for a certain aspect of the project.

Whatever the case may be, you still have to find a way to select a reliable, knowledgeable subcontractor. Otherwise, you might put the entirety of your project in jeopardy. Now, while we are fully aware that different companies have different selection methods, mostly based on their previous experience or some other factor, we do feel like there are some universally applicable, general criteria that can help in the shortlisting and selection process.

On that note, let us take a quick look at what we consider the main criteria to look at when selecting a subcontractor.

1. Skill Level


More often than not, a company is in need of a subcontractor because they are unable or unwilling to perform a certain part of the project. At that point, the only viable solution is to find a reliable subcontractor to fall back on.

Now, the key question you need to ask yourself is – how does the subcontractor’s crew stack up again your own? Are they better, or are they worse? Do they do a certain aspect of the business than your guys? Having an answer to this question is very important because it will allow you to properly assign your assets, in this case, workers, in a much more efficient manner.

2. Experience

Many of the construction projects you will be undergoing require a certain level of knowledge and expertise, as well as experience. As you might know, those three usually go hand in hand, so if you are looking to find a knowledgeable crew – your safest bet is to look for an experienced one.

Experience is one of the main factors you should look at when selecting a subcontractor. While it is true that even an inexperienced crew can do more than a decent job, it is always smart to have an experienced crew by your side.

Some of the problems you might encounter on these projects can only be effortlessly handled if they have happened previously, and that is where experience comes in handy. If the subcontractor’s crew has been through thick and thin many times over, it is far more probable that they will be able to handle any issues that might arise.

3. Price


While it is very vital that you save as much money as possible when hiring a subcontractor, the price should not be the only factor you focus on. However, if you are required to work within a set budget, and that’s limiting you, there is a way how you can still find a reliable subcontractor and an affordable one.

By relying on software, such as, you can set up criteria for the bidding process and have the software help you find the right subcontractor for the right price.

You could even set up a “Buy It Now” price, which would eliminate the need for bidding, but instead, it would award the job to the subcontractor that is up to your standards and is willing to work for a certain price.

4. Portfolio

We guess you could make the case as portfolio being quite similar to experience, and in some way it is, but looking at the past projects when you’re considering hiring will be of grave importance. This is one of the best possible ways for you to assess the subcontractor’s abilities and see what they are capable of.

When negotiating, feel free to ask the subcontractor about any previous projects they have worked on. Inquire about the scope of the project, schedule, budget, man-hours and everything else you might find important. By doing so, you will most likely be able to paint yourself a good picture of what you can expect from the subcontractor.

5. Subcontractor’s Plan


Before hiring a subcontractor, they must first provide you with a detailed plan of action, describing in great detail what they are going to do and how they will approach the project you are hiring them for. You can learn a lot about a subcontractor by simply reading their plan.

A reliable, skilled contractor will provide you with a detailed plan, describing every step of the project, while also providing an explanation of how would they deal if an unexpected situation or a problem was to occur. Naturally, they will factor in all the important aspects, and in the end, they will provide you with an accurate assessment of how long should a project take.

6. Equipment And Tools

Every subcontractor must have their own set of tools and equipment necessary for finishing the contract – if that is what you need for your project. In some instance, you will need only manpower, but sometimes, you will need equipment, too. Therefore, it is important that you specify in your RFQ what you are looking for.

In case you do require a subcontractor with their own tools and equipment, you should always pay attention that the contractor that is bidding for the job has the necessary tools. Furthermore, you should also always look for a repair plan.

The equipment is sure to undergo a lot of wear and tear during the project, and even if it didn’t – it would still require regular maintenance. With a repair plan, you are making sure that you are not the one that’s taking care of maintenance or the associated costs. That is the subcontractor’s responsibility, and not yours, provided that you state that in the contract before you hire them.


There you have it. As you can see, there is a lot more to finding a subcontractor than just choosing the best bid. Hopefully, with this mini-guide, you will now have a better understanding of what it takes to find a reliable, experienced subcontractor. We hope you’ve found this helpful.

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