Paying Borrowed Employees

Paying Borrowed Employees

We all like work. It’s what pays the bills and for the most part, we enjoy knowing our skills helped make other people’s lives better. When we take on bigger projects, sometimes we need more manpower than we currently have. That’s when borrowing employees can come in handy. If you have a job that requires either an expertise that’s outside your wheelhouse, or just needs more bodies than your current team, having another GC help you out with staff can be a solution. But there are some ground rules to keep in mind.

Trust the Other Team

Let’s say you’re remodeling a 5,000 sq. ft. house. It’s getting a total makeover. New kitchen, bathrooms, flooring throughout.  A deck, you name it. As a general contractor, you’re capable of doing the work, but the family wants to be in the house to celebrate the holidays, and it’s mid-October. You’re going to need help to pull this off. You’ve worked with a number of other contractors in the past, so you decide to call a couple and see if they have any workers they could part with for a few days.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before agreeing to anything:

Are You Sure You Can’t Pull Your Own Team Together?

Borrowing workers from other contractors might seem like the ideal solution, but it can also create a whole new set of problems. It might be worth it to hire some additional members for your team and keep it in the family. But if that’s not an option, keep reading.


Are you willing to pay what the other GC pays them or is it different, especially if it’s less than what they normally pay? If you’re willing to match the GC’s pay, then fine. If not, either be willing to negotiate or have other GCs on standby.

Who is Paying Them?

 Let us stop you here. You’re paying them. That’s the best way to ensure the employees show up when you expect them to, stay for as long as you need them and don’t screw around on your dime. If you pay their contractor, you lose that control, and if the GC doesn’t care, you could be paying for more for less work. Unless you get a detailed arrangement in writing from the other GC that specifically details what’s expected from the workers in exchange for the bill, you’re better off paying them yourself.

What if the Other GC Needs Them Back?

You’ll want to be as efficient with a borrowed team as possible because, at any given point, the other GC might recall his team. If he lands a job and needs his team, unless you have a contract that states how long you can use them, the other GC is well within rights to ask his team to come work for him. You’ll also want to have other GCs you can call on or consider using a temp service for workers in the event this happens.

You Might Not Get the Best Workers

Some GCs could use the opportunity to pull less talented or more problematic workers from jobs. You need workers, yes. But don’t take on someone else’s problem employee because you’re desperate.

Landing big jobs can be a dream for any contractor. Make sure you go into the job as prepared as possible, including knowing how to handle borrowed employees. This will help prevent your dream job from becoming a nightmare.