Recruiting Sub-Contractors

The use of subcontractors is an essential part of many logistics companies whose operations demand flexibility. Bringing subcontractors into the supply chain is a straightforward business for those with established procedures and a tried and tested panel of subcontractors.

But, for those who need to find a firm of subcontractors at short notice, it's easy to come unstuck unless sensible precautions are taken.

No matter how tight the deadline, it's vital to check the subcontractor is who they say they are and to make sure they have a sound track record. Steps to take include:

  • Check that the subcontractors' address and telephone numbers provided are genuine

  • Get references from firms the subcontractor has or is working for

  • Obtain their 'O' licence number and check their credentials on the VOSA website via the operator search facility

  • Go to the Companies House website and check their credentials there

  • Obtain company number and tax number if dealing with an EEA registered company

  • Check, and periodically re-check, all relevant documents such as 'O' licences and driving licences to make sure they are valid

  • Firms such as The Licence Bureau can be used to check driving licences

  • Make sure the subcontractor is experienced in the type of work that is required of them and has the necessary equipment.

Agency drivers and owner-drivers working exclusively for you need to be managed particularly carefully:

  • Treat these drivers in the same way as you would your own employees

  • Make sure they receive the same training, written instructions, manuals and so on

  • Make sure they know what steps they must take as regards load handling and load security

  • Make sure they know what to do as regards daily vehicle checks and the procedures for dealing with defects

  • Make sure they know how to contact your Traffic Office if they have things like accidents, breakdowns or delivery queries or issues

  • Check not just vocational driving licences but also other relevant records such as digital tachograph cards and ADR certificates

  • And finally, take particular care with foreign nationals. Make sure they are entitled to work and hold an appropriate vocational driving licence that allows them to drive your trucks in the UK

Taking these basic steps can help you avoid potentially serious problems that might otherwise ensue further down the line.