Methods for a Freelancer to Manage Subcontractors

Currently, your business is expanding and you’re thinking about hiring some subcontractors. For your business to continue to grow you need help. Subcontractors can help you divide and conquer.

But even though it’ll be a relief to hire a contractor or two to help out, there’s still a lot of responsibility on your part.

You should decide what you’ll need help with the most and how to communicate with them. And that’s just a few details to iron out!

If you’re curious about the best ways to manage subcontractors, check out these five tips.

1. Have a Plan Before Hiring Anyone

Even if you know what you need help with, you should still outline what you’re looking for in a freelancer. Having a list of tasks and what skills you’re seeking will help you narrow down who you’d like to hire later.

You should also decide where you’d like to post your ad, such as on UpWork. Keep in mind that wherever you list the job opportunity is likely where you’ll communicate with them.

After you have these details ironed out, it’s time to look for the perfect subcontractor!

Having a plan in place will make the process go a lot smoother. And it’ll pave the way to find someone who’s a good fit for the position.

2. Establish a Form of Communication

As we mentioned, if you hire someone on UpWork you’ll initially be communicating with them there. That’s not to say you can’t collaborate with them using sites like Slack or Teamwork, though.

After hiring someone, be clear on where you’ll communicate. Don’t give them three different options to converse, such as email, Slack, and UpWork. It’s best to have one main form of communication so no one gets confused.

Setting up a main form of communication will help you both stay on the same page. If you have more than one contractor, having a site such as Teamwork can streamline all your tasks. It’ll make collaborating with many team members a lot easier.

3. Be Clear in Your Instructions

It’s frustrating if a subcontractor receives instructions that don’t make sense. That’s why you must be as clear as possible.

Even if you’re not sure of your instructions (your client might be vague!) let your contractor know this. That way, at least they’ll know that more of the details may come to them later.

If it’s a task they will do regularly, create a document outlining the process. It should also explain what your expectations are. That way, they’ll have something to reference when they go to work on a similar task in the future.

By explaining what each task entails, a subcontractor will be able to hand in their best work. And they won’t have to invoice you for extra time because you didn’t give them good instructions from the start.

4. Pay On Time

If you want to keep your subcontractors around, pay them on time! They will be more willing to perform well and hand in their best work.

One thing you mustn’t do is get behind on payments. If you are late in paying them, eventually, they won’t get you any work. And that means you could get in trouble with your clients.

So, stay on top of paying your contractors. If you don’t have enough money to pay them right away, then pause the project until you do.

Setting up a schedule can help if they’re working for you weekly. Agree to pay them every other week or after they’ve worked a certain amount of hours. That way, you’re both on the same page in regards to payment.

5. Have Regular Meetings

If you’d like to have regular meetings to explain certain tasks, set them up ahead of time. It’s easier for a contractor to attend if they know at least a week ahead of time when the meeting will be.

You may not need to have regular meetings if you use Slack or Teamwork, for example, to communicate.

But, if you do have the occasional meeting let your subcontractors know ahead of time.

Keep in mind that contractor meetings are optional, so if they’re unable to attend, don’t hassle them over it.

But in the same way, they should show you that they’re committed to getting the job done. And if that means attending a meeting once in a while, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to them.


Managing subcontractors may take time, but if they can help you perform well in your business, it’s worth it!

You may end up finding some team members who have excellent ideas on how your business can improve.

Don’t shy away from letting them know you appreciate them and want to help them grow as well.

Stay dedicated to managing your subcontractors. Your business will be that much more successful!