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Subcontract Manager Job Description

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Subcontract managers, or subcontract administrators, are responsible for developing and negotiating subcontracts, arranging payments and analyzing sales records. Using administrative expertise and contract-management skills, these workers evaluate performance of employees and monitor supply changes with their company. Getting into this field typically requires a formal education and experience in sales or purchasing.

Broad Responsibilities

Subcontract managers can find positions within manufacturing companies, wholesale trade, government, management and retail trade. As a subcontract manager, you are responsible for negotiating subcontracts and finding and coordinating with suppliers. This means you oversee the agreement between your company and subcontractors within a contract. For example, in a large manufacturing company, a subcontract manager will oversee the subcontracts to concrete layers or contracted builders that are created within a large multimillion-dollar construction contract. Additionally, you research and evaluate supplies, including quality of products, distribution capabilities and product availability. These workers are also responsible for monitoring the prompt shipment of goods and administering subcontracts to suppliers and vendors.

Day-to-Day Duties

On a daily basis, subcontract managers confer with staff and vendors, attend bidders' conferences or seminars and interview vendors. You will develop subcontract specifications, terms and conditions, as well as modify, add or delete portions of the subcontract to suit your company or vendors' specifications. You are responsible for hiring and supervising purchasing clerks and buyers. You develop policies and procedures for purchasing and contracting agents and ensure that your company follows all applicable laws and regulations. For example, you formulate policies for bid proposals and set the procedures used in the procurement of goods.

Management Expertise

Subcontract management careers require you to have strong observation and communication skills. You must be able to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, as well as handle complaints, settle disputes and resolve conflicts. These workers must have strong decision-making skills, as well as the ability to organize and prioritize work. Subcontract managers need the ability to analyze data and identify the reasons behind specific decisions within subcontracts. You have to be able to monitor the subcontract process, review materials and organize events.

Education and Training

Work in this career typically requires a bachelor’s degree or postsecondary certificate in areas like general merchandising, sales or distribution. Apprenticeship programs in this field are also available. Some employers may also require you to complete approximately three years working in sales or purchasing prior to employment in a management position. While not required, you can also further your knowledge of management and contract negotiation by completing a master’s degree in business administration or marketing management. Additionally, you can choose to earn voluntary certification through an association like the National Contract Management Association, which offers the certified professional contracts manager, certified federal contracts manager and the certified commercial contracts manager credentials.


Michigan-based Jennifer Betts has been writing and editing education and career articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared on several educational training websites and blogs. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and a minor in English. Betts’ first writing job was working as a ghostwriter creating list articles for blogs.

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