Subcontracting is essentially partnering up with other firms that need your service but don’t have the means to do it.  Usually, we are talking about janitorial or property management companies.  They don’t have the equipment, knowledge, skill, or experience to do what we do.  Over the course of time, 70% of our business was derived from subcontracting.  We were the window cleaners for a large number of property and facility management firms.  We even partnered with other window cleaning firms on occasion.

Why would a window cleaning firm want to partner with another company?  There are significant advantages.  A janitorial firm will have a list of clients needing their windows cleaned.  Often, they have an aggressive sales force constantly searching for new customers, and they would love it if they could offer your service.  It can save time, effort, and expense of drumming up new business for yourself.  Without advertising!  If they are reputable and have good relationships with their clientele, that trust can carry over to you.

Subcontracting is not without pitfalls.  Be careful of who you do business with.  There are shady operators out there who will stiff you.  Some firms might be struggling, and the temptation to use money meant for you for other things, such as payroll, could be too much to resist.  Often, another layer of bureaucracy between you and the paying customer is added, and your invoice sits at the bottom of a pile on someone’s desk for a great length of time.

How does one go about finding suitable companies to partner with?  Networking at Trade Associations is one way.  BOMA (Building Office Managers Association) and The Chamber of Commerce are good places to start.  A high-quality website will lead them to you.  Slick promotional materials mailed to decision-makers often lead to profitable business relationships.  

Subcontracting worked extremely well for us.  The advantages significantly outweighed the disadvantages.  Our company did high rise, and that lent itself to subcontracting.  It may not work so well to a purely residential/route company.  But if you like doing large office buildings, military bases, or extensive apartment complexes, you will probably be entering into agreements of this nature.