What Does a Contract Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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A contract supervisor administers the acquisition and maintenance of contracts for a business or government agency. This can begin with the evaluation of competing bids and the development of an appropriate contract, and may continue through the performance of the job until the contract is complete. A support staff may offer assistance including research, performance of administrative tasks, and other services. Such positions may be full time for large companies, and some can come with added benefits.

Companies and agencies use contracts for work they cannot perform themselves. The contract sets out the terms of a job, including the timeline, materials, and pay. As entities determine that they need contract work performed, they can put out a request for bids. Contract supervisors may help develop the specifications of the request, oversee the reviews of the bids, and finalize the contract with the winning bidder. Once the contract is initiated, it requires ongoing administration.


Responsibilities can include reviewing expense accounts, requesting progress reports, and visiting the site where the work is performed. Advance planning can also be part of the responsibility of the contract supervisor. This staff member may need to think about issues like securing permits and making alternate arrangements when facilities and equipment are not available because they are under construction. Mobile contract supervisors may work primarily in the field to oversee the job as it takes place. The contract supervisor can report back to the employer on the progress and may intervene if quality control problems or other issues become apparent.

These personnel have the authority to hire and fire their support staff. They organize employee training, making sure everyone is qualified, and can intervene to resolve disputes and address problems with the quality of work in the office or the field. Working as a contract supervisor can require good communication skills, as it is necessary to interact with a variety of people while on the job. Administrative support staff may need mentoring from their supervisors, for example, while workers may need to be reminded of the terms of a contract so they can do the job right.

Employment advertisements for contract supervisors can be found in a variety of resources including trade publications and public job boards. This job usually requires some familiarity with the industry and the nature of the contracts involved; an oil and gas contract supervisor, for example, needs to understand what kind of work a contract might entail. Administrative and supervisory experience is valuable, as is comfort with contracts and other legal documents.


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