Using contractors and subcontractors

Advantages and disadvantages of using a contractor or subcontractor


Your business may need additional resources to carry out specific or specialist tasks. You may want to use the services of a contractor or subcontractor for this, although it is important to weigh up the advantages against the disadvantages of contracting and subcontracting.

Advantages of contracting and subcontracting


You can hire a contractor and/or subcontractor when you need more flexibility with a specific job or task.

Short-term specialist expertise

You can use a contractor/ subcontractor for one-off jobs and jobs requiring specialist expertise or fast turnaround.

Focus on core business

Using contractors and/or subcontractors enables your own staff to concentrate on the core business.

Short notice to start a project

Some contractors and/or subcontractors can start the work or project at short notice, even when large numbers of workers are required.

Set out the contract type and duration

You can often specify the type and duration of the contract you need for the contracted job.

Temporary cover

Contracting and subcontracting allow you to obtain temporary cover for a permanent post or a work project.

Get the most from contractors and subcontractors.

Disadvantages of contracting and subcontracting

Higher costs

Contractors/subcontractors may cost your business more than the equivalent daily rate for employing someone.

Loss of skills

By relying on contractors and/or subcontractors, your business does not acquire or develop skills in-house.

Staff resentment

Your own staff may resent contractors being paid more money for doing similar work to them.

Poor quality work

If you use a contractor that then uses a subcontractor, you have no direct control over the quality of subcontractors' work.

No regard for business culture

Contractors and/or subcontractors may not appreciate your business culture and may lack the motivation and commitment of your own staff.

Tax implications

Workers can be employees or subcontractors of the contractor - you need to understand relevant tax implications and other rights. See employment status of contractors and subcontractors: Tax and workplace rights.