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Residential Subcontractor Agreement

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Updated on December 17th, 2022

residential subcontractor agreement is a document used by a general contractor to designate a tradesman to complete a portion of a residential construction project. This agreement forms a legal bond between the parties that will ensure the subcontractor performs their services to the contractor’s standards while securing fair and prompt payment in exchange.

A residential subcontractor will usually specialize in one area of construction but will be required to perform a number of tasks, which should be clearly defined in the contract. The start and completion date, responsibilities for expenses, payment amount and method, and other important terms and conditions should be negotiated between the parties before the agreement is executed.


Residential Subcontractor Duties

A residential subcontractor is an individual tasked with completing a specific segment of a construction job. While subcontractors usually concentrate on one trade, they sometimes perform services that overlap within the construction timeline (e.g., drywall + painting, flooring + finish carpentry, electrical + heating).

Residential subcontractors working in one area of construction are often extremely efficient due to their vast knowledge and experience in their particular trade. This creates better project workflow and allows the general contractor to be hands-off and concentrate more time on overseeing the overall progress of the job site.

Hiring a Residential Subcontractor

The general contractor of a construction project is in charge of hiring and overseeing subcontractors. It’s common for construction companies to only keep a small staff of tradesmen and workers and instead hire a number of subcontractors to complete portions of a construction job. Sometimes an owner-builder will manage their own project, and will therefore be in charge of hiring subcontractors.

Independent Contractor Status

Because a subcontractor is an independent contractor, not an employee, a general contractor is not responsible for their subcontractor’s workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, liability insurance, and any other legal and industry requirements that an employer is normally obligated to provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the subcontractor in charge of permits?

No. The responsibility of pulling permits falls under the general contractor’s purview. Sometimes the client might obtain a permit instead, but it’s more common for the contractor to add it to the cost of the job and complete this task on the client’s behalf.

Is the client responsible for the subcontractor?

No. The client on whose behalf the general contractor is working will bear no responsibility or liability for the work or safety of the subcontractor. The residential subcontractor agreement is solely between the general contractor and subcontractor.