So, you’re thinking about becoming a subcontractor – but don’t know where to begin?
The steps to turning your business or trade into subcontract work is not as hard as you think. Most of the process comes down to simple organisation and a bit of red tape.
We will walk you through what it means to be a subcontractor, and how you can begin your journey to do so today.
What is a subcontractor?
According to the Australian Government Business site online,
“A subcontractor is an independent contractor that’s hired by another independent contractor to help them complete their contracted work.”
Essentially, if a contractor is hired for a project, and they in turn will hire a subcontractor to take care of some elements of that project.
For example – if someone is building a house, a subcontractor may be bought in to take care of the concreting, whilst the contractor is overseeing the whole house being built.
Why is a good option for me?
It’s quite a leap, moving from being an employee of a larger company to being a subcontractor. You are essentially building up your own small business, as opposed to working for someone else. This comes with new responsibility, and declaring to various government bodies that you’re doing so.
However, with this new responsibility comes a great deal of freedom: you can choose who you work for, and when you work for them. Longer hours means more money in your pocket, and you still don’t need to take on the pressure of being the primary contact for a certain project, as the main contractor would be.
If you have had five or more years experience in your particular trade, and are looking to take on more responsibility, subcontracting is a great way to move up into business ownership without needing to take on employees.
Where do I begin?
There are five main steps on your checklist to going from an employee to a subcontractor.
- Establish your business structure: will it be just you, or a team? What is your role? Do you need to hire other people to fill the gaps?
- Apply for an ABN: your Australian Business Number is what you will need to invoice future clients.
- Get a business licence: you are not legally allowed to work as a subcontractor without a licence.
- Register your business name: what will you call yourself? Has this name been taken? If not, register it.
- Sort out your insurance cover: the most important – insure yourself in case of accidents.
Who can give me more information about my particular trade?
Before jumping in, it’s a wise idea to have a chat with some local contractors over what they’re actually looking for when hiring a subbie.
You might find that your local area is already inundated with subcontractors offering the same thing – so, how can you expand your skillset? Or, is there another area that is requiring your trade?
Going in prepared will mean less rookie errors in your early months.
Who can help me with the red tape?
Licences, ABN’s, and business registration can feel like a lot of hassle at the start. Pages and pages of forms, gathering together of identification, abiding by the guidelines of how and when to submit online.
Make the most of the helpline phone numbers provided by each particular party. The Australian Government bodies such as the ABN have extremely helpful people on the other end of the phone to walk you through each question, and show you how to fill it out.
It’s a good idea around this time to find yourself a good accountant. They will be the ones to help you out around tax time to submit your earnings to the Tax Office. An accountant is also a great resource at this time to help you fill out the paperwork.
Taking the time to ensure you’ve filled out the paperwork correctly is crucial – any errors, half-truths, or omissions will come back to bite you at tax time!
Where can I find out more information?
Because we know how intimidating the leap intro subcontracting can be, GoGetta has worked with industry experts to put together a comprehensive eBook to guide you through the process, step by step.
From providing you with real-life examples, to a checklist of ‘must do’ activities, and all the other information we know you’ll need to start up your business, this is your go-to guide!