Advantages and disadvantages of using subcontractors

When your business requires additional resources to carry out a specific or specialist task, you may consider using the services of a subcontractor (SC), although it is important to weigh up the advantages against the disadvantages before you proceed.


  • It will probably cost less. Even though most employers pay SCs more per hour than they would pay employees to do the same work it usually costs more to directly employ someone as there are several expenses that you don’t have to pay SCs
  • When you need flexibility during time of fluctuating workload
  • Great efficiency as SCs bring specialised expertise without the time and cost of training
  • For one-off jobs or fast turnaround
  • Quick start up at short notice, even when large numbers of workers are required
  • No responsibility for PAYE or National Insurance contributions
  • If one person isn’t available, can replace them very quickly


  • Less control over your works. SCs often decide how best to do a job for which you hired them to do without reference to the employer
  • SCs will come and go which can be inconvenient and disruptive and the quality of work from individuals can be uneven
  • By relying on subcontractors, your business does not acquire or develop skills in-house
  • No direct control over the quality of subcontractors work
  • May not conform to your business culture and may lack the motivation and commitment of permanent staff


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