After being in business for a while you realize that there are many negligent and incapable subcontractors out there. It takes time and money to sort through the various businesses to find a good fit — actually, it can take lots of time and money. Callbacks are costly when your sub will not back up his or her work. Like the old fairy tales says, “Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince,” or your sub, as the case may be. The best way to find a good subcontractor is always word of mouth, but networking groups work well, too. Networking builds relationships because often you get to know the owners personally. However, it is still best to have a contract between your two companies spelling out your expectations and requirements. If things do not pan out as expected you have everything in writing.

When you find a good sub, honor him or her with respect. Relationship is key and runs through every aspect of what we do. So take time to get to know your subcontractors personally. Spend a minute on the phone asking how their day is going before you jump into business. And, then listen to their answers. These small exchanges build friendships. It’s so much better to work with friends than a generic company, isn’t it? It pays off because friends are good to one another. Your subs will take care of your relationship by taking care of your clients.

One of our subs is going through some scary times with his little boy. His son needs a serious operation that entails stopping his heart. Can you imagine the added stress our sub is under? The gift of a listening ear is a wonderful thing when you are facing something like that. I know the well-known saying is “Time is money,” but I like to think that giving time is “human.”

—Kathy Shertzer is office manager at DuKate Fine Remodeling, in Franklin, Ind.