How to Subcontract Painting Jobs

Plus a free subcontractor agreement template

By George Leon | Posted on January 12, 2021 | Updated on July 5, 2022
how to subcontract painting jobs

When first starting your painting company, you might opt to run it as a one-man painting company. But as business begins picking up, you’ll have a decision to make.

Do you want to grow your team by hiring employees or subcontractors? There are pros and cons to both options, but many painting business owners choose to hire subcontractors as the first step to expanding their team.

If subcontracting is your preferred option, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to subcontract painting jobs.

Why Hires Subcontractors vs. Employees?

There are many advantages to hiring subcontractors instead of employees — especially for painting businesses that are just starting out. With fewer legal responsibilities to focus on, you can hire a team that is responsible for themselves, which allows you to take on more jobs without the overhead.

Most painting subcontractors:

  • Purchase and use their own painting supplies
  • Do not receive health benefits or vacation time
  • Work for multiple painting companies at once

Ultimately, hiring a painting subcontractor will help you more successfully manage seasonal fluctuations in business, reduce expenses for painting supplies, and take on more business without adding additional overhead.

How to Hire Painting Subcontractors

Now that you’ve determined hiring subcontractors is the preferred way to staff your team, you need to put a plan in place to find the best contractors to represent your painting company. Here are a few different methods you can follow to find painting subcontractors:

Referrals and Networking

Whether you have friends in the painting industry or have worked with contractors in the past, the first place you go looking for subcontractors should be this group of people!

Your industry contacts or former colleagues can likely direct you to some reliable and skilled painting subcontractors that you can hire on an as-needed basis.

With so many subcontractors out there, using referrals from sources you trust can narrow out any bad apples and ensure you only have the best contractors representing your painting company when on the job.

Post a Job Listing

While word of mouth from those in the industry can get you on the right track, it isn’t the only option at your disposal. Another way to find talented subcontractors is to create a job listing which will help you collect a number of resumes and contact info at once.

We recommend crafting a well-thought-out job description that thoroughly details your company, job requirements, and qualifications. The more information you can give, the better the job listing will be. You can share this job listing across multiple platforms such as Craigslist, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, GlassDoor, and more.

Along with posting it to job boards, sharing it on your company website and social media channels can also be a great way to reach your desired audience.

If you don’t get enough bites on the listing, or the quality of submissions aren’t aligning with what you’re looking for, consider paying to boost the job ad. This will allow you to set a target audience and get your listing in front of the right crowd and improve your chances of being seen.

Finding a list of subcontractors can be a time-consuming process, but by taking your time, you’ll be able to build relationships with a reliable group of contractors you can call when needed.

Use Hiring Websites

Similar to how you can post a job listing looking for subcontractors, subcontractors can use hiring websites to post what types of jobs they are looking for. If the other two methods aren’t getting you help fast enough, take a look through Indeed or Craigslist at ads posted by subcontractors.

The best part about this method is that you don’t need to filter through hundreds of resumes that are submitted to your listing, but you can quickly go through the hiring listings and determine quickly if the subcontractor would be a good fit for your team.

Using this method, you’ll be sure to add a few names to your roster of painting subcontractors.

What to Look for In a Painting Subcontractor

Using the methods above, you’re sure to build a roster of subcontractors that you can turn to at a moment’s notice. But how do you weed out the unreliable or inexperienced from the bunch?

If your goal is to find a reliable group of subcontractors that you can continuously hire to take on painting jobs for your company, look for subcontractors that:

  • Provide their own painting supplies and tools
  • Have experience subcontracting and understand how it works
  • Gives off a professional vibe (they’ll be the face of your company!)
  • Have a list of references from successful paint jobs
  • Can provide high-quality work with a fast turnaround time
  • Are reliable, trustworthy, and timely

Ultimately, you’re looking for a subcontractor that can take the reins for a bit and successfully complete a project with little direction and oversight from you.

The more reliable your team, the less babysitting you will need to do — enabling you to take on even more jobs since you won’t be spending your time guiding the subcontractor through every step of the process.

The more projects your painting company can take on, the more money you’ll make to cushion your bottom line.

How to Pay Painting Subcontractors

As we noted above, the payment structure for a subcontractor is different than that of an employee. Instead of paying them hourly or salary, you pay the painting subcontractor by the job.

In most cases, the subcontractors earn somewhere between 50% and 60% of the total cost of the job. While this might seem high, you need to keep in mind that there are fewer overhead costs associated with a subcontractor than an employee.

You won’t be the one supplying the paint, paint brushes, drop clothes, or other painting supplies. Being paid by the job, not by the hour, also incentivizes your painting subcontractors to work faster and get more jobs completed for you — helping you grow your painting business even more quickly!

If your subcontractors need an invoicing template so they can bill you, check out our free painting invoice template.

Draft an Agreement

Set clear expectations for your painting subcontractors might by having them sign a painting subcontractor agreement.

Written by

George Leon is a Managing Partner at Scalebloom. George loves to help business owners scale their business with modern marketing strategies and branding.