Day one with a subcontractor

The first day on site for a subcontractor is a busy one. Having to deal with an entirely new site and possibly with a completely new set of co-workers can be daunting. You can help them quickly get their bearings and settle in, by planning out a good first meeting. Set some time aside to make sure they get started with a clear idea of what is expected.

Overview the job

Although what needs to be done has (hopefully) already been established in a pre-construction meeting, make sure you both have exactly the same understanding. It is best to have this discussion onsite with a good visual overview, just before the work starts.

Establish your team values

The better they can adapt the way your group works, the easier it will be for everyone to work as a team. It helps if you have a short document with details on worksite rules and team values. You also need to treat them the same as you would anyone in your group.

This way, you can expect him or her to respect your team’s way of doing things. For example, do you make your workers check in with you once or twice a day? Make sure that he or she follows the same pattern so you can have a clear picture of their progress.

Cover safety thoroughly

Check if they’ve had safety training recently. Convey that, like the others in your team, they need to be actively involved in keeping the site safe i.e. removing a safety hazard if they spots one, or at least bringing it to your attention immediately.

Make sure the proper forms are filled out promptly

If this is their very first day with you, schedule time for them to fill in the proper contract, tax forms and safety waivers, as applicable. Make sure they hand them in by the end of the day, or the next.

Make sure the subcontractor has everything they need

Ask questions. Make sure there are no obstacles to slow them and/or others down. Make sure they bring any issues to your attention immediately. If any issues involve other trades, quickly set up a meeting to create a game plan to resolve the issue.


Don’t pay in full until the job is finished. And don’t pay until you have done your final inspection of their job. Make this policy very clear to them on the first day and they will have good motivation to complete the job to your standards.

See you onsite!

Triforce Spec Guide

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