While contractors can at times seem indispensable in achieving our objectives, just like any of us, they are not irreplaceable. In fact, keeping on a contractor who isn’t performing as well as we would like will negatively impact the business in the long run. While we can’t strictly ‘fire’ them, as in actually separate them from employment, we can however, end their contract if they don’t meet the necessary standards of work. The key is the regular review of your contractors, so you know their performance metrics, understand their compliance status and ultimately know when it is time to let them go.

Signs That Your Contractor Might Have to Go

While contractors don’t fall under the same rules as our employees, it doesn’t mean we should just leave them to get on with it. And that goes for specialist contractors too; it’s vital that we monitor their performance and ensure that not only they’re doing a great job, but they’re adhering to all contract requirements, including workplace health and safety. Just knowing they are being overseen may be enough motivation to keep them on track, however it also gives you a chance to spot some early warning signs. Some of these include:

  • Requesting early payment – a contractor who frequently asks for upfront or early payment may be experiencing financial difficulty which could impact your job.
  • Working hastily – a contractor that rushes their work demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and risks workplace health and safety.
  • Keeping strange hours – Some types of work need to happen out of hours, however as a general rule if a contractor works at different hours to that of your business, they may end up costing you more money.
  • Communicating poorly – a contractor who doesn’t keep you well informed is much more likely to miss important communications placing the project at risk.
  • Breaking the contract – a contractor who doesn’t follow contract guidelines needs to go before an incident occurs or projects get behind.

If any of these things have happened, then it is time to review the contract and consider moving the contractor on. The next challenge is understanding whether the issues you’ve encountered justify termination of the agreement.

How to Fire a Contractor

If you’ve noticed poor delivery, unsafe work practices or a failure to communicate, it is probably time to fire your contractor. You will need to provide documented evidence that there have been ongoing issues resulting in a consistent failure to meet the terms laid out in your contract. The next step will be identifying the procedure for terminating the contract; this may involve giving the contractor opportunity to rectify the non-conformances, ensuring notice periods are upheld and making sure payments are up to date.

Ultimately, firing a contractor can be complicated and getting it wrong could land you in a legal battle. You may not be able to sit a contractor down and tell them their performance isn’t meeting expectations like you would do an employee, so if their work delivers the agreed product or service, you could struggle to terminate the contract. This is why it is vital that you have a clearly defined written agreement, that you clearly understand your rights and obligations regarding contractor services, and, most importantly, that you only hire the right contractors in the first place.

Keeping Track of Your Contractors

Having the right contractor working on your project could well be the difference between it failing or succeeding. It’s important that you select the right contractors, making sure they stay on track once engaged. By utilising a specialist contractor management solution, you can adhere to best practice, prequalify your contractors and have the right documentation from start to finish. Not only does this mean that you’re more likely to finish your project on time and to the required standard, but it means you’re also much more likely to remain compliant throughout the process. Mistakes happen, however if contractors are managed effectively, you are much more likely to find issues sooner, having a greater lead time to work them through before they escalate.

For over a decade, Conserve has helped organisations overcome contractor management challenges. We can help you develop a contractor management service that will be not only effective but will make your organisation safer, while minimising your overall risk. Request a demo now or visit the Conserve page for more great content.

For more information call +61 2 8883 1501, visit www.conserve.com.au or email enquiries@conserve.com.au


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