Why You Shouldn’t Use Friends as Subcontractors

Consider The The Pitfalls First


Building or renovating a home is an exciting and challenging endeavor. As you embark on this journey, one crucial decision is selecting the right subcontractors for the job.


Spend your money only where it matters.

Difficulty in Enforcing Standards


Professional subcontractors bring a level of expertise and specialized knowledge that’s crucial for the success of your project. When hiring friends or family, there’s a risk that they may lack the professional experience needed to handle complex tasks. It’s essential to prioritize qualifications over personal connections to ensure the work meets industry standards.

“I have a friend (or a brother-in-law) who is willing to do the tile work in my new home for a discounted rate. I’d like to use him and save some money.”

Most quality custom home builders have learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to allow homeowners to use friends or relatives for subcontracting work on the house during construction. Frequently it turns out to be a disaster for both the builder and the homeowner.


Potential for Unreliable Timelines


Here’s one example of why: Scott wanted to use his friend’s custom cabinetry shop. Scott knew the friend well and had spoken to another friend who was pleased with the cabinetry from this particular company. The builder didn’t want to allow it, but also didn’t want to anger his client so he agreed to let Scott use his friend’s cabinet company. The builder was promised the cabinet work would be completed by a specified date, but the cabinets were not installed on time. In fact they were delayed several times and eventually caused a two-month delay in the construction schedule. In the end, Scott and his family moved in without any cabinet doors on the face of the cabinetry in their entire home and then waited an additional two months to have their job complete. That didn’t even take into account the lost momentum or additional cost in interest carry, overhead, and other expenses as a result of the delay from the cabinet shop

Friends and family members may have other commitments and obligations that can interfere with project timelines. Professional subcontractors are more likely to adhere to a set schedule, minimizing delays and ensuring the project stays on track. Reliability is key when it comes to construction projects, and hiring professionals can provide the assurance needed for a successful outcome. 


Professional Expertise Matters 


When you hire a builder, I strongly encourage you to allow your builder to do what he does best. When you visit a dentist, you expect him or her to be trained and equipped to do the job efficiently and effectively. You wouldn’t think of bringing your own tools or materials, handing them to your dentist, and asking if you could save money on a filling because your neighbor or friend is in the dental supply business. You wouldn’t take a steak to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you so you could save a few dollars on the meal.

The principle is no different in home building, If you use friends or your own business contacts, it will disrupt the smooth flow of work and communication of what an experienced builder does best. Trust your builder. He has vendors, subcontractors, and a labor force already in place that he works with on a regular basis. 



Hire a competent builder to do the building; save your friends for the housewarming party.

-Sean Sullivan


Building A Quality Custom Home

Want to know more? This book by Sean Sullivan is full of helpful information in easy-to-read chapters like this blog post.

It is a step-by-step guide to the “must-know” issues of building your dream home. Discover the custom-home construction secrets that could save you headaches, heartaches, and thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars.

Building A Custom Home