Self-performing vs subcontracting: What should you do?

Self-performing vs subcontracting: What should you do?

When it comes to construction, there are two ways that work can be done: self-performing and subcontracting. Each method has its own set of pros and cons, so which one is right for your business? Let’s take a look at the differences between self-perform vs subcontract construction to help you make the decision.

What is self-performing in construction?

Self-performing is when a company does all the work on a construction project itself. This means that the company hires its own employees, buys its own materials, and provides the labor and equipment needed to complete the job. 

Self-performing can be more expensive than subcontracting due to overhead costs, but it can also provide greater quality control and control over scheduling.

The benefits of self-performing

Here are the benefits of self-performing when considering self-perform vs subcontract construction.

  • More efficient use of resources due to better coordination between departments
  • Improved customer satisfaction thanks to fewer mistakes
  • Less chance of delay since you won’t have to wait on external third parties

Risks associated with self-performing

Self-performing does, however, come with some risks, including the following.

  • Increased cost and overhead associated with hiring employees
  • Difficulty in finding qualified labor
  • Lack of subcontractor relationships, which could come in handy

Tips for self-performing

If you’re planning on self-performing construction projects, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Monitor quality closely, as any mistakes will be the responsibility of your company
  • Have a plan for unexpected delays or additional expenses
  • Ensure that in-house workers are trained enough to handle what’s assigned to them

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What is subcontracting in construction?

In terms of self-perform vs subcontract construction, subcontracting is when a company hires another company or individual to complete segments of work on a project.

Subcontracting allows companies to take on larger projects without having to hire more employees and buy more equipment. It also makes it easier to find specialized workers with specific skills that may not be available within the company.

The benefits of subcontracting 

Here are the benefits of subcontracting in regard to self-perform vs subcontract construction.

  • Cost savings from not having to pay for overhead costs
  • Access to specialized labor
  • Ability to take on bigger projects without having to onboard additional labor

Risks associated with subcontracting

Subcontracting a project’s segments also comes with risks, including the following.

  • Lack of control over quality and scheduling
  • Possible payment disputes due to disagreement on pricing or job specifications
  • Subcontractor unreliability may cause delays

Tips for subcontracting

Here are some tips for subcontracting out work.

  • Research potential subcontractors carefully—make sure they have a good reputation and that their rates are competitive 
  • Establish clear communication—ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations
  • Monitor progress closely—regular check-ins will help you ensure that everything is going as planned

When to choose self-performing and when to choose subcontracting

Choosing between self-perform vs subcontract construction is a decision your company should make based on its needs. 

Self-performing may be the best choice if you need more control over scheduling and quality control, need more efficient use of resources, and prefer to be more involved in the building of your construction projects.

Meanwhile, subcontracting may be the better option if you need access to specialized labor and materials, want to take on larger projects without having to hire more employees, or need cost savings from not having to pay for overhead costs. 

Ultimately, the decision will come down to what is best for your company and its goals.

Regardless of the decision, it’s important to remember that both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Consider all your options carefully before making a final decision about which way to go.

How to decide which option is best for your business

Deciding between whether self-perform vs subcontract construction is best for your business or project depends on a few factors.

Size and scope of the project

Consider the size and scope of the project. If it’s a large-scale project, subcontracting may be the more feasible option since it can provide access to specialized labor and materials that you might otherwise not have. 


Consider also your project’s budget. Self-performing can be more expensive due to overhead costs, so if you’re working with a smaller budget, subcontracting may be the better choice. 

Timeline of completion

Finally, think about the timeline of completion. If you need the project completed quickly and efficiently, self-performing could provide greater control over scheduling and quality control, which could help speed up the process.

Modernize your workforce management with Bridgit Bench

Self-performing and subcontracting are both viable options when it comes to construction projects. Each has its own benefits and risks that must be taken into consideration before making a decision. Consider the size, scope, budget, and timeline of your project carefully in order to choose the option that’s best for your business. 

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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