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Without Action There's No Satisfaction: Controlling and Leading Subcontractors

May 8, 2018

Without Action There's No Satisfaction: Controlling and Leading Subcontractors

Hardly any other company in craft today trades without subcontractors. We wanted to know how the exchange of orders between parties works, how communication is structured and how payment is handled. Around 50 craft companies have answered our questions and we find the information so exciting that we want to share it.

Without a Subcontractor Nothing Works

For the execution of large orders, a majority of craft businesses can not handle it without a cooperation including subcontractors: 75 percent of all interviewed entrepreneurs work together with one or more subcontractors. Only a quarter of respondents can work without this support. In addition to the design of contracts, other key factors for good cooperation are clear agreements and sound planning, as well as the timely resolution of problems and fast payment processing. After we want to map exactly these factors in our ZIP app, we are interested in the status quo of course.

Somebody and Nobody

Most of the companies interviewed work together with several subcontractors, usually with a small number: between three and ten subcontractors, with a company size of up to 10 employees, are the rule. Is there anything to discuss or clarify? The phone is used in about 98 percent of all cases. Around 90 percent write an e-mail and 57 percent use a chat app. Post (19 percent) and fax (17 percent) as additional communication channels are used much less. Since there is always someone working in the field who builds a mess, and no one who is guilty, binding communication with clear and unambiguous agreements is one of the most important success factors.

Mastering Chaos

Order documents can be found in a variety of folders and programs. Data archiving is a colorful hodgepodge of possibilities. Multiple answers were allowed for the question, because there are often also different filing locations: 59 percent of the respondents store documents in paper form within a regular file folder. About half (52 percent) store documents within their e-mail inbox, 54 percent on a computer, and 65 percent use the archive function within a used software program. Already, ten percent of the surveyed companies use cloud storage. Payment is usually processed by bank transfer.

Success in Two Letters: Do

The evaluation of the survey shows there is still room for improvement in managing subcontractors: in our opinion, the key to greater efficiency lies in communication and coordination between clients and subcontractors. Binding, fast communication through a mobile application that also tracks job status and integrates essential documents and photos simplifies collaboration. Faster exchange of information, precise orders and clean documentation ensure transparency. Electronic payment processing can also simplify processes considerably.

We take Goethe's two-letter phrase seriously and DO what we do best: we build zip.app that makes it easier for craftsman to organize. And at full throttle. In August we plan an open beta version and in September the "public" release.

Posted by
Frank Moser