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Subcontracting in the Snow & Landscaping Business. Ed Laflamme LIC The Harvest Group 284 New Canaan Road Wilton, CT 06897 203.858.4696. Nightmares Yikes!. Why Subcontract?. Financial People Equipment Expertise

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subcontracting in the snow landscaping business
Subcontracting in the Snow & Landscaping Business

Ed Laflamme LIC

The Harvest Group

284 New Canaan Road

Wilton, CT 06897



Why Subcontract?

  • Financial
  • People
  • Equipment
  • Expertise
  • Workloads
  • Geography

Why Subcontract


  • Don’t have the cash
  • Can’t take on more debt
  • Reduce exposure if job is lost
  • Sub smaller jobs to free crews
  • Fix the cost to prevent overruns

Why Subcontract


  • Don’t have the right people
  • Don’t have enough people


  • Need Specialty Equipment
  • Not Enough Equipment

Why Subcontract


  • Don’t know or have the experience
  • Don’t have the license
  • Avoid dangerous work
  • Don’t have the right insurance

Work Loads

        • Can’t make the time requirements

Why Subcontract

Location of Job

  • Too far away
  • Undesirable location

When Not to Subcontract

  • Only potential sub is a direct competitor
  • Customer expects you to do the work
  • When you need the revenue to cover overhead
  • Potential damage to site doing snow work

Quality Subs

How To Find Good Subs

  • Network
  • Newspapers
  • Yellow Pages
  • Internet
  • Tradesman


Qualifying the Subs

  • Insurance
  • References
  • Visit their jobs unannounced
  • See proof of licensing
  • Get size of company, equipment, history
  • Competitively priced?
  • Reputation
  • Driving records
  • Web sites
  • Criminal & credit records


Pricing Your Subcontract Work

  • Pass through – no markup
  • Sub gives standard price – conservative markup
  • Sub gives volume discount you markup more

Note: Beware of the really cheap price


What Limits Should Subs Carry?


  • General Liability including property damage
  • Workers Compensation
  • Auto liability – property & casualty
  • Inland marine coverage on equipment, tools, materials sub will have on site
  • Special coverage’s, i.e. snow plowing, tree work, pesticides


Assuring Quality Work

  • Written Specs
  • Meet & review work on the site
  • Have – on site supervision
  • Have work in progress meetings
  • Take the “pulse” of your customer
  • Have sub understand level of quality expected
  • Progress/final payment tied to your satisfaction


Attaining Operational Success

Communication is the key – Example

  • Alert sub of pending storm – from long range weather forecasts
  • Contact sub within 24 hrs before the storm
  • Contact within 4 hours before predicted start
  • Notify when to go
  • Require them to notify you upon arrival on job
  • Give them feed back after storms
  • Be sure to get all contact information from your sub

Your Customer

Protecting Relationship With Your Customer

Prevent sub from talking with customer?

  • Be careful what information you share
  • Don’t confide confidential information
  • Consider having sub wear your uniforms
  • Consider putting your signs on their trucks
  • Inform your customer you may use subs
  • Your contract should have sub provision
  • *Video or pictures of all jobs pre-season


  • Consider setting safety requirement
  • Hold safety meetings & include subs
  • Be sure equipment on jobs is safely used
  • Consider checking OSHA ratings on subs


Relationships with Your Subs

  • Seek their advice
  • Set ground rules & expectations up front
  • Be friends but business is business
  • Pay your subs according to your agreement


Referrals from Subs

  • Ask for referrals from their customers
  • Refer your subs when appropriate

Legal Aspects

Dot All the I’s

Some Contract Essentials

  • Names, addresses, contact numbers
  • Work site location
  • Description of the work
  • Start & end dates and any specific timing
  • Cost of labor & materials or phases of the work

Legal Aspects

  • Payments
  • Signatures of those authorized to sign
  • Special requirements
  • Consequences for non performance
  • Consequences for non payment
  • Consequences for cancellation of contract

Legal Aspects

  • Guarantees
  • Safety requirements
  • Sub-contractor can not sub contract clause
  • Non compete & confidentiality clauses
  • Contractor (you) ability to sub clause

Ed Laflamme LIC

The Harvest Group

284 New Canaan Road

Wilton, CT 06897