Weighing the risk

The benefits of hiring subcontractors varies among companies

It's no secret the construction industry is struggling to find enough workers to keep up with demand. In 2018, 91 percent of more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders and trade contractors surveyed for the Commercial Construction Index reported having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers. As a result, construction professionals, including roofing contractors, increasingly are turning to subcontractors to fill their labor gaps. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate in 2012 subcontractor labor accounted for 44.2 percent of total labor hours in single-family construction, 74.5 percent in multifamily construction and 84.9 percent in industrial construction.

There are residential and commercial roofing contractors who tout the advantages of using subcontractors to complete projects and those who caution their use. Subcontractors can help you keep up with demand and take on projects outside your crews' skill sets, but they also may complete work that doesn't meet your company's quality standards—only you can decide whether the use of subcontractors is a risk worth taking to enhance your business.

Professional Roofing spoke to several roofing contractors to identify some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring subcontractors.