Choosing A Labour Hire Company: 9 Red Flags (Worker Edition)

Whether you are new to the casual construction industry, or you are thinking about switching to a new labour high company, you’ve got to do your research!

If you spot one of these, chances are the labour hire company is a bit dodgy, or it is badly managed (and your working life will suck)

Ignore these 9 Red Flags at your peril!!

Lets’ begin.

First, What is a Labour Hire Company?

Nowadays, it has become simpler to outsource work to third parties or work with labour hire companies to manage construction workflow. 

Simply put, a labour hire company interviews, vets, and hires workers and then sends them to construction sites to meet the needs of construction project managers and site managers. 

These managers may be filling a temporary labour shortage or they may rely on labour hire companies to constantly fill their labour needs.

For workers, this may involve working at one site for weeks or only a day.

A labour hire company is also responsible for paying the workers and providing insurance and super. 

Here’s how a typical labour hire company works: 

  • The company checks the workers qualifications, licences and expertise and interviews them.
  • The company may also vet the workers’ expertise and qualifications. It may request the worker gain additional licences and permits that are needed for construction work. 
  • The worker is placed in the recruiter’s database.
  • The recruiter will receive calls or requests from construction companies and site managers – often at very short notice. 
  • The company will then contact the workers in their database to find appropriate skilled workers that are able to travel to the location in time.

The idea is that when you work for a labour hire company, it takes care of all your employment needs, so once you receive a call, you simply have to show up and give your best. 

Typical Issues When Working For A Traditional Labour Hire Company

If everything is working perfectly, you will need to receive phone calls early in the morning and potentially later in the day (or even in the evening!).

But, a mismanaged labour hire company is dreadful for the workers (and their clients who are not above dumping their problems on you!).

Top 4 Problems: 

Lots of Phone Calls

In a good labour hire company, everything is well-organised. Everyone gets the information about their job on time and is paid in a timely manner too. But in a mismanaged labour hire company, you’ll be making endless calls back and forth just to get basic information, such as the construction site you’re supposed to work on, where it is, and the number of hours you have to work. 

On top of that, you’ll have trouble getting paid on time, especially for overtime. 

Poor Scheduling

Unfortunately, many companies are still mucking about with bits of paper – but the nature of the business – and the work – means that the situation is constantly changing.

Unless the hire company is really switched on, you’ll have trouble scheduling your plan in advance. As a result, you may find yourself on job sites at the last minute, unprepared for the work you’re supposed to do. 


But the single biggest issue is disputes over timesheets and overtime. 

There are so many potential points of miscommunication here: from the information the client passes to the hire company, to what they tell you, to what you believe you’ve worked, to what the client says you worked.

In other words, this lack of transparency typically means the worker misses out on some of the hours they believed they were entitled to.

Payment Problems

Timesheet issues mean what you get paid may not be what you expect. But you may still suffer from pay that differs from this – with deductions you didn’t know about –  or it may be late in getting to your account – or it may not turn up at all!


All of these problems amount to a lot of stress that will eventually take a toll on your work performance. 

So how can you avoid this pain, stress and loss of earnings? Pay attention to the following list of Red Flags!

9 Red Flags

What To Look For Before You Start

#1 Abysmal (or no) reviews: 

No company is perfect. And even the best places have a couple of disgruntled employees or customers. But check the reviews on Facebook, Google and on forums.

If there is a bit of a mix, it is probably fine – but if they are all 5-star, that is a bit odd too.

#2 Minimal online presence / No physical address

If they’ve just got a Facebook page and a phone number, you need to start wondering if this place really exists. 

Do they have the people required to manage the work? Do they have an accountant? Is there more than one person behind the scenes?

#3 No past track record

All businesses need to start somewhere, but it is always risky trying something for the first time.

What To Watch Out For In the First Month

OK, you’ve chosen a company. They don’t seem too bad: they’ve been around for a while, they’ve got some ok reviews, and there aren’t too many negative comments about them.

Fantastic, right?

Not so fast.

There are plenty of things that can happen. 

So, here are 6 more Red Flags to watch out for in the first month.

#4 Your Payments are late or incorrect

The biggest red flag for a company is late or wrong payments. If a company is notorious for paying its workers late, you don’t want to be employed by them. You’ll spend most of your time chasing after your payments.

#5 They insist in paying you in cash or with an ABN

This is a big no-no for any company in any industry. Cash signals tax avoidance – and while you may be celebrating a bit more in your pocket, it signals they are more than happy to bend the rules.

And as for working on an ABN, casual workers are technically employees, so this is also a major issue.

If they are doing this, they are probably doing something else too.

#6 Timesheet Arguments or Inconsistencies

Basically, you can’t really win on this. 

It is difficult to prove that you were working from a specific time to another time. It is all too easy for the client to claim that you were late or that you wasted an hour at break time.

And frankly, it should not be on you to prove that you worked a specific amount of hours.

#7 You Can’t Easily See Your Super Payments 

All casual workers are entitled to super. If you can’t see evidence that payments are actually going into your super fund, you have a major problem.

#8 Last Minute Schedule Changes (or no work when you turn up) 

You’ve committed to working and you may already have left – and then you receive a call that actually you are not needed – or you need to go to a different site.

This simply is not acceptable. You are working to get paid – not for the exercise.

#9 Lots and lots of Phone Calls

Remember, they are collecting fees to do all the organising. If they are so disorganised that they need to call you multiple times (or you need to call them back to confirm), this is another red flag

If they can’t manage basic information, how can they manage anything else?


We understand that no one (and no company) is perfect and we all make mistakes. But if these things are happening constantly and the company is not making an effort to resolve them, you need to move.

But how can you avoid the same thing happening again with a different hire company?

You can’t. Not if you are working for a traditional hire company.

Maybe you should consider a totally different kind of labour hire company – one that focuses on the construction industry? (More below)

So, What Makes A Great Construction Hire Company?

If you want to choose the best construction hire company, look for the following features: 

#1 The Minimum Amount of Communication Necessary

Although communication is the key in any work relationship, you shouldn’t have to call the company half a dozen times a day to get basic information about your work. A good labour hire company gets you all the details from the beginning, saving you a lot of time and hassle. 

#2 Transparency

Because you are a casual worker, you need to know exactly what is happening with earnings, tax and super. Ideally, there

#3 Control Over Your Schedule & Where You Work

Ideally, the hire company will allow you to schedule your jobs according to your availability and where you can travel. 

They will then offer work according to your needs.

You shouldn’t have to be at job sites you can’t easily get to on days when you already have commitments.

#4 Correct & Timely Payments

When you give your best to a job, you also expect to get paid on time. It’s only fair. 

If you know you will get paid the correct amount on a specific day – every week – you will never have to make any unnecessary calls to get paid either. 

#5 More Money

Let’s face it – you aren’t working for the fun of it! The more you get the better. 

Check that the base rates for your skill level are reasonable, and at what point overtime kicks in. Construction workers often end up working long hours in a day – so this can make a real difference.

Essentially, what you need is an innovative labour hire company that uses technology to eliminate mistakes, increase transparency, eliminate phone calls and avoid disputes of timesheets and pay.

Sounds like you need Dragon.

Choose Dragon – Download the App to Get Started

Are you looking for the best labour hire company in Sydney? Become a Dragon worker to earn more, get consistent work, save time, and get paid without any delays or unnecessary calls. 

Download the Android or iOS version of the Dragon app, set your work radius, turn the ”Available to Work” toggle on, and get started. 

All you need to do is check in, submit your timesheet, and get paid every week. Download Dragon Worker now to set up your profile. 

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