If you are a contractor, your subcontractor partners’ performance, reliability, and quality are crucial for your success. When your subs underperform, it can be time-consuming, frustrating, and draw the construction contracts to a crashing halt. The subs and their performance can impact your capacity to deliver quality projects on schedule and within budget.
So what you should exactly do when your team of subcontractors is not performing well, or worst, not even showing up. You are never alone, as they are common issues for subcontractors. If you are looking to improve your sub’s performance quality, read this blog.
The Definition of Performance Quality in Construction
To put it simply, quality is always getting it right the first time. So, your subs’ level of performance quality is the difference between the project specifications and completed work, including how many attempts it takes to meet them. At one end, there is the first-time quality or finishing the job to some specifications without any defects during the first attempt. Moreover, a job requires various corrections and reworks from your subs. The results may be similar, but the path to get there can be different.
We know that you are dealing with an underperforming sub and it fears you because it will drag the project down. We hope you learn what performance quality is. Let’s go over some signs of poor subcontractor quality performance that you should know as a contractor:
- Failure to justify and correct issues on time
- An unreasonable or an increasing list of construction punch items
- Incomplete work
- Job-ready issues found by subs on the job
Whenever you see these signs, you need two options. You can change the subs, or you can change the sub. This is not a typo! The first option is to switch and change to a different sub, while the second option is to work with your present subcontractor to shift the performance issues.
How to Measure Performance Quality of Your Subs?
Subcontractor quality performance is usually measured by the percentage of work that is being completed by your subs as the first-time quality vs. fixed. The high the percentage, the higher the quality. The main objective has always been one-hundred percent. So, now that you understand what quality is, the next step is to deploy a construction tech to measure it. While spreadsheets are always a go-to data collection resource for many companies, construction project management software allows you to take over and control the information in a way that Excel spreadsheets cannot.
Below are some tips you can follow to measure the performance quality of your sub-partners effectively:
1. Use checklist data
Make sure to have First Time Quality and Fixed and Open checkboxes. This allows you to track the work done the first time around versus work that should be fixed. But how can you do this effectively? Always go for checklists that collect the correct information and store it via a cloud database. This is crucial for measuring the quality performance later on.
2. Discover the percentage of first-time quality
The rate of the first-time quality across various projects can show you how effective your performance improvement efforts are. For this metric, it is essential to be multi-dimensional to understand the data. Numbers are significant, but understanding the reasons behind them is critical.
3. Set Subcontractor Performance Scores
Include quality rating scores because they can add another level of understanding beyond standard deficiency counts when assessing your subcontractor’s performance. Other subs may have a lower deficiency count, but those errors could have been significant. So, the only way you can know how well your subcontractor performs and how their performance improves over time is by assessing and scoring the quality of their work.
4. Review Dashboards
Data collection is entirely useless if it is not easy to digest. So, dashboards are an essential aspect of your construction management plan, allowing you to see how subs rank based on their performance, which most of the time continues to have issues. The more metrics you can view in a snap in your dashboards, the better you are at making decisions.
Tips to Improve Your Subcontractor Performance Quality
You can ensure the performance quality of your subcontractors when you know how good and capable they are even before hiring them to be part of your team. The selection process or pre-qualification is one critical area you must be focusing on. So, the first three tips focus more on carefully selecting the right subs.
1. Do not focus solely on costs when choosing your subs
It can be tempting to go with the lowest bid. So, if you notice at first that a sub is throwing a lowball bid, it can be because they have made an error or mistake in the judgment. On the other hand, a lowball bid is a sign of a subcontractor partner who may attempt to cut corners.
We have found out that some of today’s subs want to get the job done by making the least effort. Not all candidates desire to establish a repeatable name and provide a quality end performance.
Honest and open conversations can help avoid these same mistakes.
2. Surround yourself with the “Best-fit” Subs
It can change everything when you surround yourself with the right subpar (subcontractor-partners). It is important for you to be selective about who you are working with. You must collaborate with someone who has the same commitment and drive as you and your team. We suggest that you meet your subs in person or via video chats even before making a final decision.
It can be tempting only always to review a few subs, but you can be missing the best candidate if you do not look at all your choices. Only the best fits are proven to have excellent quality in performance.
So, if ever you have any doubts about your subs, figure out why.
3. Investigate carefully and prequalify your applicants
Before even selecting the candidate, you have to determine first whether these candidates are fully qualified to be part of your projects. This is called pre-qualification, which we started earlier. This is the process of assessing the capabilities of the subcontractors.
So, assuming you conduct a pre-qualification. But, the real question here is how formalized and detailed your pre-qualification is. Most pre-qualification methods look at surety, safety records, bonding, litigation history, financial standing, and check references. Determine if the subs have all excellent records on any of this. In many cases, some are capable in many areas but somehow lacking in other aspects.
4. Use Software for Construction Management
Today’s modern technologies offer a unique opportunity to supercharge your communication, productivity, and collaboration – leading to an overall boost in profit. The things that have happened recently have only increased the dependence on technology. People and businesses rely on digital technologies and software tools.
If you want to avoid any costly reworks and improve the performance of your subs, make use of the right collaborative and cloud-based project management software. This helps you keep your projects within budget and schedule. Besides, the lack of proper insights is an issue that many contractors and subs face daily. Therefore, making informed decisions based on the most up-to-date files and documents allow for much greater project transparency that helps mitigate risks.
You build better teams and structures when you allow technology to help you and your teamwork efficiently. Again, only a pre-qualification process gives you visibility into a sub’s possible risk. And the insights you obtained from the process help you form a well-thought risk management plan in construction.
5. Have a growth mindset and learn from previous experiences
Because sub-par contractors can wreak havoc on the job site, it is crucial to deal with the situation immediately. Therefore, ignoring red flags give you the impression that these undesirable behaviors are acceptable. So, if you feel like a sub is not giving their A-game, a little coaching will help you get them back on track.
Having a growth mindset means embracing mistakes and challenges. And rather than being weighed down by any issues, you can always see them as opportunities to learn. Communicating with underperforming team members can help them avoid creating the same mistakes again.
Improve Everyone and Everything with Pro Crew Schedule!
While you focus more on the performances of your subs, your relationship with them is equally important too. So, for a Contractor-Subcontractor Partnership to be successful, you must implement standard measures and encourage ongoing discussion and feedback about jobsite and performance issues in an open and supportive environment.
Two-way communication is critical. And Pro Crew Schedule can make it possible. It provides you and your team a convenient platform to communicate and perform inspections, where subs can show proof of completed work. Of course, your ideal scenario is to never deal with underperforming subs. While this is not realistic, you can still avoid any issues in the first place by deploying this cloud-based software tool, setting clear expectations, defining the inspection process, and providing training if necessary.
FACT: Pro Crew Schedule has one of the best construction management software reviews today. Get started with a 30-day live demo for free!