As the independent workforce economy continues to grow, more and more independent contractors are enlisting other contractors to help them expand the volume and scope of the work they can take on. This is frequently called the master contractor/subcontractor model.
Though this allows contracting companies to distribute additional work to master contractors, the visibility into the subcontractors who are doing the work for the master is often elusive.
Contracting companies are struggling to find the balance between keeping themselves separated from the specific details of every subcontractor, while also feeling reassured the people doing the work are properly qualified and insured.
Openforce is in the midst of a major initiative to bring you a set of features that will allow you to better control the level of visibility and validations that you require of subcontractors doing work for you. We’ve built on the recent updates we told you about here, to offer you more flexibility to visualize—or not—the relationships between masters and subs.
Keep tabs on who’s doing what by assigning a contract role
In May, we rolled out the ability to quickly designate a contractor according to their contract type; now you also have the ability to associate a contractor with a specific role—driver, helper or installer.
From the Contractors’ tab, you can click Assign Contract Role/Type. Here you can get a complete list of all contracted ICs and their roles and types. To associate a contractor with a role, select the relevant role from the Contract Role dropdown.
You can set the role for any IC, not just a master or subcontractor so you can more clearly track and represent the function of each IC, which is especially useful if those roles are associated with different pay rates.
If you do use masters and subcontractors, the beauty of this is you’ll be able keep a high-level record of the kind of work each subcontractor is doing and reference it at a glance whenever you need to.
Associate a subcontractor to a master in 1 click (ok, 2 clicks)
When a master invites a subcontractor to an enrollment, the subcontractor is automatically assigned to that master within the Openforce platform. But what if your business sent the enrollment invitation to the sub?
Now you can quickly associate those subs with a master by navigating to the Contractors tab and clicking on the new Unassigned Sub Dashboard. The dashboard lets you know the number of contracted subs who are not tied to a master in Openforce. Once you click through, use the Assign Subcontractor To dropdown to select the name of the relevant master.
You’ll have a clean record of the relationship in seconds.
View all the subcontractors associated with a master
Along with the ability to designate the relationship between a master and a subcontractor, we’ve enabled you to see at a glance all of the subs performing work for each master. From the Contractors tab, click on Assign Contract Role/Type. Click on the arrow to the left of each master’s name to see a list of the associated subcontractors and their roles.
Choose whether or not you see enrolled subcontractors in Openforce
One of the strengths of the master/subcontractor model is that it reinforces the independent status of the ICs performing work. This helps reduce any lurking worker misclassification or third-party liability risks.
Depending on your business needs, you may want to have a lot of visibility into the subcontractors completing work for a particular master. The new tools above enable you to do just that.
However, if reinforcing an arm’s length relationship to subcontractors is a concern, you now have the option to remove visibility of subcontractors from your Openforce contractor grid. When you opt for this, the record of the subcontractor is still stored in Openforce along with their completed enrollment workflows and documents, but you will no longer see them when logged into Openforce.
This works best when paired with our optional managed onboarding service, so that an Openforce onboard coordinator can approve and disprove subcontractor enrollments and ensure your compliance requirements are met. This balances the need for subcontractors to meet your specified criteria while further distancing your business from the active oversight of subcontractors.
Turning off subcontractor visibility is a quick configuration change on our end, so if you’re interested in learning more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.742.7508.
Stay tuned as over the next few months we’ll continue to add new features to make managing masters and subcontractors work for the way you work.
Openforce® is the leader in technology-driven services that reduce operating costs and mitigate risk for companies using independent contractors. Our cloud-based applications help companies and contractors alike achieve more sustainable, profitable growth by removing financial, operational, and compliance barriers to getting business done.