Subcontractor vs Employee – What’s the Difference?


On the job site, most people are used to working with a mix of employees and subcontractors – but what’s the difference?


Subcontractors, or subbies, usually run their own business and complete one-off jobs for your business. They invoice you for any work they do and may subcontract to other companies.

Subbies are great to have around because they tend to be specialised in a particular area, meaning they’re skilled at what they do. If you have a job that’s a little trickier, subbies can bring in that all-important experience and skillbase.

If you’re going to hire a subcontractor, you’ll need to make sure they have the right kind of insurance for themselves, and that they have all of the relevant certifications and licenses required.


With employees, you’re usually their only focus and source of income, so they tend to be 100% committed to you and your business. You also have a bit more control over how and when they work, and the processes they need to follow.

Employees often work set hours weekly, making it easy for you to crunch the numbers for them. Also, because employees work together more often, if you’ve got a good team, the jobs can get done quicker and with much less hassle.

If something goes wrong, your insurance will need to cover your employees. And because of their leave entitlements, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the admin side of things sorted.

When choosing between employing or subcontracting, we think a balance of both is the way to go. What do you think?

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