Who makes a good candidate for a deck builder subcontractor?
First, they should be your best customers for a reason. They should be reliable, responsible and good at what they do from a craftsmanship standpoint. They have to know what they're doing.
I think if you choose to use a few of your existing deck builder customers as subcontractors for an installed sales program, you should ask them some sort of standardized questions so that they can prove that they're competent at what they do.
In our case, for my employee deck builders, we have a test that involves simple math such as adding fractions and so on. We ask them how long a 12-foot 2x4 is in inches, and that sort of thing. I also may ask them what their favorite late night television show is? If they answer the 10 p.m. news, I know that they're probably going to make it in to work on time. If they pick a talk show that does not come on until 1 a.m., I might be a little concerned about that.
I've had a lot of people who call themselves contractors come to me with questions such as 'how do I put down diagonal decking?' Or they ask me to figure out their material list for them. I think if a contractor doesn't know something like that, they're not really a contractor. Instead, those people are just a guy trying to build decks until something better comes along. They aren't professionals, and you shouldn't be using them to build decks for you.
- Bob "The Deck Guy" Heidenreich