Your 1099 workforce — the stable of subcontractors you use to fulfill business needs — has two basic needs: receiving consistent work and getting paid for it on time. But as a business owner, you’re trying to maintain the success and solvency of your company. Though you rely on subcontractors to get the work done, you’re often at the mercy of your clients and how quickly they respond to requests.

It’s a delicate balance, but you can do the following to keep your 1099s happy:

  1. Maintain Communication — Most of your subs are reasonable — you wouldn’t work with them otherwise. Yet they can get antsy if you don’t shoot an email or pick up the phone now and then to let them know where business stands. Keeping subcontractors in the loop is a way to build trust and ensure they’re always ready for the next job.
  2. Pay On Time — Few things bug a subcontractor more than always having to follow up on outstanding invoices. If payment terms are 30 days, send checks as close as you can to that deadline. If you’re a week or so late, most will understand. A month late? That’s another story.
  3. Talk Shop — Coffee is the great equalizer. Many subcontractors are alone in their offices for days at a time. Meeting for coffee to talk about business every now and then allows you to get to know them better, and it helps them see you’re more than just Accounts Payable. You may even find ways to bounce even more business back and forth across the net.
  4. Build Relationships — We’re all people, so treat each other as such. Your subcontractors have their own lives, businesses, and responsibilities. Learn about them. Strong relationships lead to strong business results.

Do you work with subcontractors? How do you manage those relationships?