5 Clues on How to Spot Sub-Contractors in Morristown NJ

Choosing the right home improvement contractor can be puzzling enough. You’ve done your due diligence, interviewed three potential contractors, and based on those meetings, on-line ratings, referrals, and your own gut feeling, you pull the trigger on a contractor. Regardless of whether its window replacement in Rockaway NJ, doors in Randolph, roofing or siding in Basking Ridge NJ; just about every company claims to have their “own crews”.

Come the day of installation you notice the trucks pulling up to you home are either unmarked, or have magnetic signs on them. These are the two telltale signs that the people about to perform work on your biggest investment aren’t employees of the company that sold you the job.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a bad job; however, the company hasn’t been 100% up front with you. You’re not alone; this is the norm in home improvement.

But why you ask? The answer is simple; it’s less expensive to pay a sub-contractor. Despite the legal issue that requires all Sub-Contractors to work for more than one company in any given year, most home improvement companies choose to roll the dice and pay a sub as a 1099. This means they don’t have to pay any state or federal income taxes, unemployment insurance, or worry about health benefits and retirement funds.

The biggest downside to you, the homeowner, is the company has little to no control over quality. The company hires a sub-contractor hoping they have skilled, and qualified labor, but since the workers are paid by the sub-contractor, the company that sold you the job has little say in the matter.

It’s the responsibility of the sub to carry all insurances, including liability, workmen’s compensation and vehicle. The company also has these insurances, but if a claim is filed for whatever reason, the lawyers will be flying lazy circles over both entities.

Here is how it works. The “Company” hires an installation company, “The Sub”, to perform work that the company sold. Keep in mind, the biggest challenge home improvement companies face is qualified labor. They hope the company they hire is qualified, but with so few qualified workers available, often its pot luck.

Some remodeling companies bid their sold jobs to a pool of waiting sub-contractors, and award the job to, you guessed it, the lowest bidder.

Few and far between, there are home improvement firms that have their own employees. They may cost a few pennies more, but generally there is a strong commitment to quality, as well as full control regarding who is performing the work on your home. Gone is the worry of having day laborers show up, or unskilled workers, or worse!

Honest companies will be up front when they use subs, typically for things like gutters & leaders, masonry, or work they themselves don’t perform.

So how do you know if the company you’re about to hire uses subs?

  1. Ask them. If their reply is, “we have our own crews”, dig a little deeper.
  2. Unmarked trucks.
  3. Magnetic signs, (dead give-away)
  4. Name other than the company you bought from on work trucks
  5. Out of state license plates

Lastly, when buying from any box store, chances are they are using outside contractors.

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