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Finding and Keeping Great Subcontractors

Finding reliable subcontractors can be tough, but we’ve got you covered. This week, we’re breaking down how to simplify finding, vetting, and keeping great new subcontractors in your local area.

We’ll share some proven strategies the HeyPros team used while working with subcontractors at In 2022, we hired 200 excellent subcontractors in just six months!

Following these practical steps, you can efficiently find, vet, and retain the best subcontractors, ensuring your projects are completed to the highest standards.

Finding Subs

Here’s an easy, almost free method we use to find quality subcontractors.

Early Morning Donuts & Coffee at a Paint Store

Find the hot spots in your city where subcontractors pick up materials, typically between 6:00 am-9:00 am, Monday to Wednesday, like Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore stores.

Subcontractors often wait 20-30 minutes for their orders during these early hours, doing nothing but waiting. This is a perfect chance to connect with potential new subcontractors.

Steps to Follow

Notify the Suppliers:
Stop in a few days before and ask the manager for permission. Explain that you’re looking to connect with more quality painters and would like to buy some donuts and coffee and spend a couple of hours connecting with them.

Script: "We’re a local painting company looking to find more painters. Do you mind if I ask the guys waiting for their orders for their info?"

We’ve never been told NO. Sometimes, they’ll even provide you with a list of small crews they like.

Buy Donuts and Coffee

You could go empty-handed, but everyone loves free donuts and coffee. A 96oz box of coffee that serves 12-16 people is only $19 at Starbucks.

Approach the Subcontractors: Don’t hesitate to approach subcontractors directly. A box of donuts can be a great icebreaker.

Use this script:
"Hey there, I’m [Your Name] from [Your Company Name]. We’re looking for more painting subcontractors. We do a lot of [Type of Projects] and need more quality subcontractors. Can I get your contact info to send you details about some upcoming jobs?"

If they say they are currently too busy with work, that’s an even better sign. Get their contact info because busy painters are usually the best painters.

Using this parking lot method, one person can gather contact information from 10-20 subcontractors in a single morning.

2-Step Vetting Process

It takes time to distinguish great subcontractors from the rest. Follow a consistent, written system for vetting new subcontractors to identify the best ones quickly. After doing this a few times you'll be able to tell the good apples from the bad ones in seconds.

Step 1: On-Site Visit

Request to visit them on an active job site (preferably vacant or exterior). It’s ok if it takes a couple of weeks until they have one that is ok for you to visit. Please don’t skip this step as it’s very valuable in helping you determine the best subs before risking a job on them.

Evaluate the following:

  • Job Site Cleanliness & Organization
  • Van Cleanliness & Organization
  • Attire (how much paint is on their clothes)
  • Masking and Cut-Ins Quality
  • Personnel on Site (find out who’s on their team)

Ask these questions:

  • What does/will the prep work look like on this job?
  • When do you think you will be finished here?
  • What paint do you prefer to use here, and why?
  • Any other technical questions relevant to your needs.

If they impress you, proceed to step two. If not, consider passing.

Step 2: In-Office Meeting

Schedule a meeting for them to sign a subcontractor agreement and bring compliance documents. Discuss your processes and job site rules. Check for:

  • Punctuality (did they show up to the meeting on time)
  • Attention to Detail (bringing all requested compliance documents)
  • Receptiveness to learning your business processes and rules

The secondary goal of this meeting is to explain your business processes, introduce them to the software you use to grant work orders (like HeyPros), and explain the process of change orders and billing/payouts.

This is when we show subcontractors how the HeyPros software works for them, making it easy for them to see available work orders, place bids and win jobs, communicate with us, verify change orders, and submit their invoices all inside HeyPros.

Retaining Great Subs

To maintain a strong relationship with great subcontractors, follow these practices:

1. Set Proper Expectations

  • Accurate Work Orders: The quality and accuracy of your work orders can build or lose trust with a new subcontractor.
  • Clear Job Rules: Make sure job rules (arrival times, communication with the homeowner) are clearly written and available to them in whatever system you use to send work orders.
  • Your Company's Best Practices: Communicate your company's best practices on common issues (repairs, upset customers, material types, etc) efficiently and assertively, making sure everyone understands what’s required.

2. Maintain Open Communication

  • Daily Check-Ins: Use HeyPros to send daily check-in messages on each work order with an expectation of a daily response.
  • Post-Job Feedback: Use HeyPros to leave reviews for your subcontractors after each completed work order. This instills a sense of ownership and provides needed feedback.

3. Enforce Non-Negotiable Processes

You only have a few key points to stand your ground on. Make non-negotiable items the most valuable to your company.

For a company that uses HeyPros as their subcontractor management software, these non-negotiable items might include:

  • Communication Method & Frequency: All communication through HeyPros on each designated work order. Frequency expected is a daily check-in when working on an active job.
  • Systems and Software Usage: All work orders sent and awarded through HeyPros, with all completion photos uploaded in HeyPros and automatically synced to CompanyCam.
  • Change Orders: Requesting change orders on items that should have been noticed at the start of the job is not acceptable. Communicate problems at the beginning of the job. Change order requests can be made inside of HeyPros chat and will be sent for approval.
  • Invoice Submission and Payment: All invoice submissions must happen inside of the HeyPros work order. Subcontractors cannot change the amount themselves. Each invoice submission must include real completion photos of the job.

We hope you found this guide helpful. If you are interested in learning more about HeyPros, visit our website at