As a subcontractor, you obviously work for yourself (the ultimate dream). There are, however, pros and cons to working for yourself, but mostly pros, if you set yourself up right.
The pros of being a subbie are the obvious things:
- working for yourself
- you make the decisions
- charge your own rates (while still being realistic)
- you don’t have to report to anyone
You just need to know how to find construction work to really make it worth it.
When it comes to the cons (if you really want to call them that) is that you don’t accumulate paid leave and you have to manage your own tax, super and accounts. You also don’t get paid to quote jobs so there’s a lot of leg work involved. But being your own boss and setting your own rates, that heavily outweighs this right?
The key to being a successful contractor is to build a great reputation and a big network to back you. Your main focus is to learn how to find subcontracting jobs to keep the workflow happening.
Your network shouldn’t just be limited to other subcontractors but head contractors, sometimes client direct and basically anyone with extended connections to help you out.
Don’t stress though, we’ve got a few tips for subcontractors when it comes to finding construction jobs.
Where do I find subcontracting jobs?
Check out notice boards
Your first go-to will always be the notice boards. As you’d already know (because you’re on our website), that’s one of our core purposes, to provide you with endless jobs to look through.
If you check out our tender notice board you’ll see you can search all different tenders by location and every trade specialty you could think of. You can also set up job alerts for the right jobs to hit your inbox.
But we’re not just here to plug our own noticeboard, we’re here to equip you with all the knowledge you need to really win those jobs and grow your business.
Notice boards are easily accessible on the internet or your subbie mates might know some good ways to find work too (we’ll talk about networking soon).
It’s also worth jumping online to look at Facebook groups. Mostly there are groups designed to link up subbies for work when they need to fill some spots on a job but there’s always the potential to stumble across some work among the chatter so keep an eye out!
Network, network, network
As we all know, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. This couldn’t be any more true in the construction industry when it comes to finding a commercial construction job.
You should always try to strike up conversations where possible – always looking for that next job.
Get to know everyone you can, whether they are other subbies on-site, head contractors and even sometimes you may interact with the clients who stroll through the sites. Make sure they remember you (in a good way)!
You can also directly reach out to contractors if you’re not currently on a job. If you have a profile with us, you can access our head contractor directory. From there, you can get their contact details and a list of their recent projects for reference.
Keep in mind though, when reaching out to head contractors, remember that you are the master of your domain and have the power to provide expert advice on certain parts of a project. Use this as your ticket in to really give them a good impression of your skillset.
In the building industry, there are many different types of industry associations that you can join to gain many benefits.
Industry associations provide you with specific advice around things like security of payments, contractual disputes (general advice, not legal advice) and so on.
They can, however, also act as a connection with other subbies, whether it be through conferences or online forums. This is where your networking skills can come into play too.
Associations like Master Builders Australia are a good starting point to check out. They represent the building and construction industry and are 32,000 members strong so you’re bound to make some connections.
A quick Google search though will give you a list of local industry associations that might be broader or more specific to your trade.
Let them come to you
While you can hunt down your own work, it’s always worth keeping in mind that you can influence how builders can naturally find your business on the internet especially.
More often than not, contractors will vet subcontractors via good old Google. This means you need to set up a great website and practice good search engine optimisation (you might need to temporarily hire a digital marketing pro to help you out) so you can reach that first page of Google.
You also need to make sure you have a good social media presence. Basically, use social media to communicate with everyone, with a focus on attracting new customers or contractors with work.
Checking all of these channels is something contractors do regularly so it’s important to have a strong, professional presence. Just make sure you also have contact details easily available on your website and social media pages.
No matter what, you can always come back and check out our subbies notice board. We have jobs of all sizes, across all trades so you’re sure to find a tender that would be suited to you.
Don’t worry though, we can also help out with preparing responses for the construction tenders you want.