The benefits of managing the subtrades on your behalf By: greening homes

August 25, 2017
Planning a Renovation

This blog is part of a series – Planning your home renovation.

You are planning to hire a general contractor to transform your house into your dream home. General contractors often come with a team of construction managers, carpenters, and sometimes designers to help make it happen. The tradespeople, typically referred to as subtrades, provide specialized tools and equipment, not to mention their expertise in their area. This offers you quicker, and a more cost effective service.

That’s certainly the case at Greening Homes. When it comes to specialized tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, and painters to name a few, we hire them on your behalf.

There are several benefits to this.

Our approach is to competitively bid different specialised aspects of the work on your behalf, as we know what to propose as the intended scope, and are able to ensure if the estimates are reasonable or not.

Another benefit is our experience in working with professionals who have proven themselves time after time on our projects. We can vouch for them and, more than that, guarantee their work. If something goes wrong, the problem will be fixed promptly, and at no added charge and headaches for the client. This is important to note. While a general contractor charges a 15 percent margin on a subtrade’s work – called a general contracting fee – this fee serves as a warranty that the work will be done to the general contractor’s and client’s satisfaction, and that any remediation needed will be handled.

While 15 percent may seem like a lot, this is often offset by the subtrade’s ten to 15 percent discount to the contractor.

Subtrades offer this discount to contractors because of the work we do to assist them. The electrician may need us to make detailed cuts in cabinetry to allow for proper installation of their devices. Or a mason may require us to shore up a part of the house to accommodate their work. We speak their language and know how to set up a site to ease their workflow. We also know what to look for to ensure that the work is done safely and properly. Ultimately, this saves you stress and money.

If the process with a subcontractor isn’t handled properly, it can sour. One of the biggest reasons that a homeowner should not hire subtrades directly is for this reason alone. One of the most common reasons why a homeowner/subtrade relationship can devolve is that the homeowner doesn’t fully understand the scope of the trades work, and doesn’t realise the challenges the trades face at the site. This leads to the subcontractor becoming frustrated and not preforming top quality work.  The problem escalates from there, and soon enough you find yourself in a dispute over payment of the subtrade, and the subtrade may decide to exercise their right to register a lien on your real estate property.  A perfected lien will inhibit you from selling your home, should you need to, until it is paid out. A headache indeed, and one that as a homeowner you simply don’t want.

As general contractors, we serve as your watch dog to ensure that the quality of all work is up to the highest standard, and manage the subcontractor relationship to keep all stakeholders’ interests in line.

Clients sometimes ask us if we can use a family member who is a tradesperson. We are happy to accommodate this request, so long as their person is insured. This includes the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board – a provincial association through the Ontario Ministry of Labour that covers workplace accidents. In addition, they must have general commercial liability insurance to protect your house from potential damages. We may also ask to see some examples of this individual’s work to help ascertain if the quality will align with our finished product.

The downside to hiring tradespeople we don’t know is that we can’t vouch for their quality and reliability. Like anything, our business is based on trusted relationships. Knowing what to expect from them and what they can expect from us ensures a smooth process.

The Bottom Line

Hiring a general contractor to manage specialized tradespeople ensures that all of the work completed in your home meets our high standard of quality, while reducing stress and cost for you during the process.

You may also be interested in:

Building trust – working collaboratively with your home renovator

To sell or renovate in Toronto’s heated housing market

You’re ready to renovate! Now what?

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