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What to Consider when Hiring a Subcontractor

Rhino Trade Insurance 09 March 2023

When running a trade business or managing a large construction project, deciding to hire a Subcontractor can have varied levels of benefits as opposed to having a full-time employee. When signing up for a job as the main contractor, you will no doubt need to provide expert skills that your company may not possess. That's one of the beauties of deciding on Subcontractors. they can complete a part of the job to the highest spec as they're trained to do so. 

Rhino Trade Insurance is here to explain the pros and cons of hiring subcontractors and what you should expect when exploring whether to hire them or not. We have a variety of trade-related articles on our blog, so once you've finished this, consider browsing the rest

What to remember when Hiring and Managing Subcontractors

The Pros and Cons of using Subcontractors


  • A Subcontractor opens up the possibilities for your business or job. They zero in on what they truly love and tend not to deviate from it. If you need a specialist fireplace installer, stone mason or the like, a Subcontractor will be inspired to work on a project that interests them. 
  • Whether you are running a business or wanting work done on your property, Subcontractors will charge a higher hourly or daily rate. This is because they aren't salaried employees and sort their own taxes. The benefit of this is that you won't have a full or part-time member of staff there to pay constantly. They come in, do their work and leave. 
  • Depending on which Subcontractor you find, they often pick and choose their work and may be free to work fairly soon. As specialists in a specific area, some can decide to work as much as possible whilst others will only take jobs that really interest them. 


  • Working with a Subcontractor could be deemed less secure because you are putting the project's faith into exterior sources. As the main contractor, you will be relying on tradesmen and women working to deadlines and on budget. 
  • They are their own business, so if they have any time off planned, work booked in or anything else, you will have to work around what they have planned. Depending on your relationship with the Subcontractor, they may be happy to focus on one job at a time, but with current demand, you may find they bounce between jobs that are at different stages of completion.
  • Depending on your relationship with local tradespeople, your business may have to go through an agency where you aren't totally sure who will turn up to the job. They may not be up to scratch in your eyes and may not fit your ethos of working. 

Qualifications, References and Experience

When exploring your options on whether to hire a Subcontractor, you should remember to do your homework. Making sure they are capable of the job required is high on your list. You will want to start by asking for evidence of any work done, maybe their social media profiles, photos, videos, qualifications and accreditation. Whatever will help you deem them right will do. 

Adding to this, you want to make sure they have the right experience for the task. This is so that you know the work will be completed to a high specification, compliant and safe. 

Just think, you wouldn't try a random hotel or restaurant without checking a few reviews, would you? So as a trade business owner or customer, why not look for reviews on a potential Subcontractor? Ask for referrals from previous customers or contractors. Do all of this to get a more rounded perspective on the individual and whether they meet the criteria you have for the job. 

Making sure they have Insurance

One of the best things you can do to safeguard your business, your home or yourself from injury is to make sure the Subcontractor has an adequate level of trade insurance. If anything was to go wrong with their work, like damage being caused on-site or injury, your pockets would be thankful that they were protected. 

Subcontractors should either be Bonafide or Labour-only and their insurance depends on which they are. To find out more about this, read our blog post here. To give a brief summary, A Labour-only Subcontractor will need the main contractor to hold Employers' Liability Insurance, whereas, as a Bona Fide contractor, they will have all the relevant insurance in place for their work. Ensuring the Subcontractor has Public Liability Insurance will stand you, the client and the site in good stead. 

When exploring insurance options, the place you need to check out is Rhino Trade Insurance. We are one of the only insurance companies that specialise and focus 100% on the trade industry. With policies to cover every aspect of your business and tailored insurance for Subcontractors, Contractors and more, we have your needs covered. 

Find out more about Subcontractors and their insurance via our handy guide here

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

One final area to explore when deciding whether to hire a Subcontractor will be making sure they have the right accreditation, licences and registration. For example, if you are having a kitchen fitted and need a Gas Engineer, they will need to hold an up-to-date gas-safe registration. Without this due diligence you as a main contractor or customer could land yourself in hot water. 

The same can be said about Health and Safety checks. Ensuring your tradespeople have policies in place (especially if they have employees) to alleviate the project from danger and hazards. Conducting the relevant risk assessments and adhering to local regulations is key to making sure the project runs smoothly. 

When shopping around for tradespeople and subcontractors, no matter the job you want doing, don't just settle for the first person you find. There are plenty of skilled professionals out there so it's worth having a handful of contacts to ensure you get an affordable price that will also do the job how you intend it to be done. Overall, your business and your clients will be better off following these guidelines. 

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

And that's that. What to consider when hiring a Subcontractor for your business or your home project. When shopping around for insurance, Rhino Trade Insurance can offer various protections for self-employed tradespeople. Whatever level of coverage your business needs, we can provide sufficient cover up to £5 million for Public Liability and £10 for Employers' Liability Insurance. 

Give our team a call today (0116 243 7904) and see what they can provide for you. Whether you are a Builder, Electrician, Plumber or whatever else, they will see you right. Need to get a quick quote? Head to our website and get a straightforward quote today

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