Quick summary: I "manage" a contract software developer whose efforts are substandard, and before I say something to our mutual employer, I'd like to find a way to light a fire under him and get him to produce better work.
Background: I'm contracted to build a software application for a small business. It's mostly just a few of us, so I'm both the project manager and the lead developer. The company has assigned me two contractors to help out, who I didn't hire and who I don't pay.
One of these contractors has been inconsistent. Sometimes he writes good code and finishes in a timely manner, sometimes it takes much longer than expected. I've not said anything, since he's not my employee, but it's been hard to get things done when I have to rely on indifferent updates.
At the same time he's been pressuring me for more to do, so, recently, I gave him a fairly substantial task. Rather than showing he can do capable, quality work, after a week of promising progress, I find out he's only written a couple of hours' worth of code (if that). This puts us behind schedule, and will probably require that I step in and write much of the code myself in order to catch up.
In the past I have explained the need to update tickets, and contact me right away if he has any blockers, but again his efforts there have been indifferent. Sometimes he is good about this, but often it's hard to tell if he's not deliberately shirking.
Again, this is not my contractor. I don't know what he's billing the company. I can talk to them about his performance ... but before I do that, I'd rather try one more time to motivate him to at least a reasonable level of effort. I know he's capable, I just need him to also be consistent.
Any suggestions on what I could say to him, or ways to constructively criticize his performance, without causing too much disruption that might affect my own relationship with the company?
(Edit) We have a daily online "scrum" during which I repeatedly asked him how it's going, and if there were any blockers. He replied, "I'm working on it". I knew it was a significant task so I didn't expect it to be done quickly, but I did expect far more progress than what was delivered.
If he was my own contractor, I would handle it by only paying for results (not for reported time) or just cutting him from the project and getting someone else. As is, I'm hoping to try out some non-confrontational management techniques.
(2nd edit) To be clear, I have many options, including taking over this task, and not tasking him with anything important again, or even getting his contract terminated. I'm looking to see if there is a more congenial option.
(3rd edit) I do not understand how this is "primarily opinion based". I'm not asking "what do I do?" -- I'm asking for specific, workplace-related communication techniques, which I can use or not as I see fit. The close votes are entirely specious and undermine the integrity of this forum.