Q: I’m in charge of managing our subcontractors. We do work nationwide and outsource labor for most installations. What tools, connections and services can NSCA provide us to make this process work most efficiently?
A: The first resource is helping you to manage these sub-contractors with a checklist of what they should provide you even before getting a number from them. They should be insured (accident, general liability, property and casualty) and carry workers comp insurance. Have them show proof of those items.
Then we have the actual contract templates. It’s best to use these rather than issuing a purchase order. These templates spell out the scope of work, payment terms, general conditions, quality of workmanship provisions, etc. Plus, they protect both parties fairly. These tools are on the Essential of Systems Integration web portal located at www.nsca.org/essentials.
Next, we help you find legitimate companies via our Members on the Map resource. I get dozens of calls about finding qualified sub-contractors and in many of these cases the member is really searching for someone who is a very low cost independent technician. I caution you that many of these people simply “work for wages” and often have no actual business permit, tax permit, low-voltage license, insurance, etc. Remember the may be cheaper and you can be more competitively priced using them, but I also know of companies who have been thrown off jobs, sued, found non-compliant with state law, etc. for using non-qualified subcontractors.
We also have members who supply only out-sourced labor. They are a better choice than using an unlicensed independent technician. The Guide to State Licensing (also on our web site) helps you determine which credentials to ask for. Keep in mind many states, counties, even municipalities have license requirements you may not be familiar with. My advice is to avoid getting a price from an installation company until you first review the steps outlined above. — CW
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