Subcontractor Hiring Options

At the last think tank, one participant asked for advice on hiring subcontractors and a fee model that would allow her to take on more business than she could complete herself. Below is a table of hiring structures that Nancy Weiss of Catalyst Consulting Group had developed for a previous coaching client:

Structure Type


Percentage of Fixed Bid

Contractor receives a percentage of the total fixed bid

Percentage of Company Hourly Rate

Contractor receives a percentage of your hourly rate

Percentage or flat amount of Charged Rate

Percentage of Rate you charge client for contractors work

Full Pay

Some consultants require their full rate. Use them when they add credibility and stature to your work.


Used to secure work that you could not ordinarily obtain on your own because you do not hold the subject matter expertise yourself

Contract House

Finds work for contractors. Usually takes a 30-50% markup. Rate is negotiated by each contract. Little to no support.

Consulting Firm

Assigns projects to salaried employees. Support provided, e.g., back up, advice, professional development, benefits, etc.

Collegial Partners

Reciprocal relationships with other firms. You subcontract with them when needed; they subcontract with you when needed. Can be a referral source.


Depending on level of expertise employees are:
 –  Low cost, high supervision, higher risk
 – Higher cost, low supervision, lower risk


Students or new graduates with little or no practical experience. Best for targeted projects. Pairs are less risky since they need to be accountable to each other before delivering draft products to you.

Optional Roles for Hiring Firm

Account Manager, Project Manager, Quality Control, and Advisor. Other roles depending on availability and interest.


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