Subs or employees, the issues are the same

Over the years, on many different boards, I have been asked dozens of times about my use of subcontractors. The questions vary, but the underlying premise seldom does. In short, many contractors (if not most) view subs as completely different from employees. In terms of essentials, this simply isn’t true.

Whether our production personnel are subs or employees, the basic issues remain the same:

  • Dependability
  • Quality of work
  • Customer service skills
  • Problem solving
  • And much more

In other words, production personnel are production personnel, no matter what label we attach to them. Certainly there are differences between subs and employees, but those differences aren’t essential. Those differences are merely details in how we pay, the control we exert, etc. These differences are certainly important, but they aren’t as important as some seem to believe.

The essential goal of our marketing is to generate leads. There are many ways to accomplish this. Whether we use the internet, the yellow pages, direct mail or any other medium is a detail. These are the means to our end.

The same applies to production. The essential goal of production is to put paint on the wall. There are many ways to accomplish this. Whether we use subs or employees, whether we pay hourly or piece work, these are simply the means to our end.

As business owners we strive to provide a superior overall experience for our customers. We have many, many options in what that experience looks like and how we provide it. Again, these are the means to our end.

While there are certainly wrong ways to accomplish any of our goals, there are many right ways to do so. For example, a marketing piece that says “Hey Bozo, call me if you want your house painted” won’t work well. But there are many messages that do work well.

Ultimately, our ends determine the means. What we want to accomplish determines how we accomplish it. At the end of the day, all that really matters is whether we accomplished the goal or not.

The issue of subs vs. employees isn’t the real issue. The real issue is how we solve the problems associated with production.

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