What bugs subs? Six annoying behaviors in particular, according to DuKate Fine Remodeling's trade contractors. Last year, in an initiative called “Honor Thy Subs,” the Franklin, Ind., company phoned its trade contractors to learn “how we could make them more successful,” says president Mike DuKate. The subs told the company to avoid the following:

  • Poor job forecasting
  • Unnecessary phone calls and other time-wasters
  • Gap work: having one sub start work before another finishes, causing jobsite conflicts
  • Inadequate project knowledge or poor communication
  • Constantly dickering over price
  • Being generally unorganized
  • The unofficial seventh item on the list was a positive note. “A good general contractor causes us to do our best work,” DuKate's subcontractors concluded. “We rise to the occasion. If they're sharp and organized, we're going to be that way too.”

    Fair enough.