In this episode of If Walls Could Talk, W&C Publisher Jill Bloom talks with Trent Cotney, partner at Adams & Reese, about how the subcontractor market has changed over the past year.

One thing Cotney mentions is that the changes are here to stay, especially in regards to labor.

“Contractors are now basically construction managers,” Cotney says. “They’re subcontracting out the majority of their labor, even contractors that historically never did that.”

However, the reason for this has more to do with company growth than cost.

“It can be [cheaper to subcontract labor], but the big thing is you can scale,” Cotney says. “And the big thing is demand is out there, so if you’re looking to grow, it’s very hard to grow organically with W-2’s. It’s easier, especially if you’re doing storm or restoration work, to expand quickly with sub-crews.”

There is more to having subcontractors than simply managing the job site, though.

“You have to understand how to manage subcontractors,” Cotney says. “And that requires good onboarding, good vetting – there are great sub-crews, there are bad sub-crews out there – and you need to make sure you’re getting the right subcontractors – that they’re insured, they’ve got workers’ comp and CGL.”

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