You have a new client who wants you to build an artsy website for a large sum. You excitedly accept the offer; while at the back of your head, you know that you know nothing about HTML. What you do know though is that you are a damn good graphic artist. So good in fact that you’ve decided that you should be called a graphic artisté, not just an artist. But HTML? What does HTML even stand for?
You may need a subcontractor.
A subcontractor is a person or company you hire to perform a duty or a part of the work.
Usually, work is outsourced when you are not capable of doing it or it is a task that can be performed by the subcontractor at a lower expense and/or with greater skill.
Subcontracting is basically finding someone who can do the work you can’t or don’t want to do. It’s kind of like making your nerdy classmate do your math homework for you, except you pay a fee, it’s legal and it doesn’t involve bullying.
People subcontract when they have skill gaps to fill and don’t have time to allocate to certain tasks. Deadlines are more easily met and functions are done more efficiently.
A note though – since you’re not the only one involved with the project, you have less control over it. When problems arise, you may be the only one held liable by the client, since you are the primary contractor.
To prevent confusion with possible inconveniences, you may set defined terms in your contract with a subcontractor, stating that responsibility will be shared amongst the two of you should a problem occur. Just make sure your subcontractor doesn’t sign the contract with an ‘X.’
Subcontract if and when necessary. Evaluate the situation and determine if you really do need a subcontractor.
Subcontract if a project calls for special requirements you can’t fill or if deadlines are much too tight to be working on the project on your own.
Don’t subcontract if your client already has several freelancers working on that single project.
Subcontract if you have the necessary funds to pay or if it will still earn you a good sum if you hire a subcontractor.
Don’t subcontract if you just don’t like the client or you’re too lazy to do the work yourself. Just turn down the job if these are the sentiments.
Some have established relationships with subcontractors even before they start a certain project. They usually pass off work to subcontractors they know, trust and have had good working relationships with.
If you haven’t hired a subcontractor before, browse through forums and job boards. Post a job ad and filter through the responses and portfolios. Ask questions and get to know the one you’re hiring. But not too much questioning though – you may start sounding like a detective or stalker.