You could be the very best at what you do – the master of customer service, of creativity, and of quick delivery – and your entire project could be destroyed by one sub-par subcontractor. It’s scary, but too often the power to make or break our best clients isn’t actually in our control.
If you’re in a business like mine, who you choose to work with or to partner with, can really be critical to your company’s success! I work with some of the best subcontractors in the business – and I really reward them so that I will be able to work with them for years to come. In fact, I often tell people that I would rather get rid of my brand new house than my drapery guy! That’s a joke, of course, but it does let you know how important that person is to my business. He’s not just important, he’s critical.
And it isn’t just about providing a great product to you and your clients, it’s about reflecting your business’s values and branding, too. For example, you can provide the highest level of white-glove service, but if your art installer shows up in dirty clothes that barely fit and smelling of cigarettes, that’s also going to be a reflection on you! Maybe that doesn’t seem fair, but that’s how it is.
Because whoever you choose to partner with must represent your best, too. So if you have painters entering a home you’re designing, they must be professional, courteous, and look professional. Or if you are a photographer, your assistants must be well groomed, on-brand, and in the background.
The best advice is to be sure you spell this out upfront before you start to work with a sub. My letters of agreement and contracts spell out what my expectations are – that I expect the same level of professionalism that my own company provides. I even talk about personal grooming and presentation. That may seem over-the-top to some, but it’s the best way to protect the hard work I’ve put into building my brand and my customer experience!
And I once even had to ask a person to leave a job site when they showed up with sloppy clothes and a really nasty attitude. I also called the company that sent that person out, to be sure they understood what the issue was. Again, not the most fun thing to do, but I would rather have a few uncomfortable conversations with subcontractors than to lose a client or future business!
So be sure you do the hard work of vetting companies and people that you want to work with – it could save you a lot of headaches in the future. And when you find that perfect partner, be sure you treat them like gold! They’re worth a lot for your future success!