Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on February 15, 2024.


A subcontractor is an individual or a company that is hired by a primary contractor to perform a specific portion of work or services on a larger project.

What is a subcontractor?

Subcontractors are typically specialists in a particular field or trade, and their expertise is enlisted to contribute to the completion of a more extensive project led by the primary contractor. The relationship between a subcontractor and a contractor is generally governed by a subcontract agreement, outlining the scope of work, terms, conditions, and compensation for the subcontractor’s services.

While subcontractors perform important tasks, they usually have an indirect relationship with the client or project owner. The primary contractor remains the main point of contact for the client and is responsible for coordinating and managing the entire project.

The subcontractor’s scope of work is well-defined within the subcontract agreement. This document outlines the specific tasks, responsibilities, and deliverables assigned to the subcontractor. It may also include details about the timeline, quality standards, and compensation.

Subcontractors are typically required to comply with relevant laws, regulations, and safety standards in performing their work. Compliance is often outlined in the subcontract agreement, and subcontractors may be required to provide insurance and other documentation.

On larger projects, there may be multiple subcontractors working concurrently. Coordination and collaboration among subcontractors become important to make sure the entire project is successfully completed.

Example of a subcontractor

ABC Construction Company specialises in general construction work and doesn’t have the expertise or resources to complete all aspects of the project, such as electrical wiring and HVAC installation.

To complete these specialised tasks, ABC Construction Company hires a subcontractor, XYZ Electrical & HVAC Services, to handle the electrical and HVAC work.

XYZ Electrical & HVAC Services is a subcontractor because they are hired by ABC Construction Company to perform specific tasks within the larger project. They have their own team of skilled workers, tools, and equipment necessary to complete the electrical and HVAC installation according to the project specifications and timeline.

ABC Construction Company remains responsible for managing the overall project, coordinating with the subcontractor, and ensuring that the work is completed to the client’s satisfaction.

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