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Subbing, Not Snubbing Installers

(February 2014) posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014

A four-step process for subcontracting installers.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jared Smith

Quotes and checklist
Step three in outsourcing is to get multiple quotes. In our case, though, this doesn’t mean we’re simply seeking out the lowest figure. Rather, I’m looking for an installer to deliver the best option. The best option is a combination of response time, quality, rapport, and price – it’s not just any one of those.

I know installers who are extremely skilled but don’t call back in an appropriate time frame. I also know installers who are courteous and priced well, but just lack the skills to complete an install in an acceptable way. We strive to deliver the best options to our clients, and I know we are not the cheapest out there. So getting quotes is a vital step, but price alone should never be the deciding factor.

Our last step to help ensure we have a smooth process when using a subcontracted installer is to produce a checklist for communication requirements when awarding the job. We’ve built this checklist over the past 15 years and I’m not sure how we would live without it. It includes steps to capture items such as: the install company’s full contact information; the COI; the signed subcontractor agreement that outlines the terms; the estimate in writing; the bluemedia-issued purchase order; job specs with photos; install diagrams and inventory sheets; the install date; the photo request; the notification of completion process; and the final invoice submission.

Once the install is complete, we then add the installer to our own database by region with ratings on speed, quality, professionalism, and price.

Making it work, together
In the client’s eyes, there should be no distinction between your company and the installer. Your company and the install company need to perform together as one, and that starts by you managing the process to ensure that this is exactly what happens. Your quality level, your response time, and your customer experience are what the subcontracted installer needs to deliver. If you just ship the contractor the graphics with an address and a contact phone number, don’t be surprised when they don’t represent you in the exact fashion you desired.

And don’t forget that much of an installer’s success is on us as print shops; the best installer in the world can’t fix poor output on our part. So when you find a great installer, take care of them because they’re looking for print partners to work with that have their act together as well. They’ll spread the word about you just as you should spread the word about them.