About a year ago I started working with a remote subcontractor, who has done some really great work for me since then. It is an ongoing project, and he has been very responsive and easy to work with. The only reason I didn't offer him a full-time position is that he's in a different country.
However, in the past month or two he has not been very responsive. I get the sense that he is taking on other clients and projects which are vying for his attention. Some weeks, he only logs 2 or 3 hours on my project.
One thing I am planning to do is to schedule his projects better, so he knows the deadlines for all upcoming tasks.
I also have a small bit of leeway with his hourly rate. I was thinking about giving him a 10% raise, in hopes that would give him a bit more incentive to pay attention to my project instead of the others. Is it a good idea for me to do that pre-emptively, without him asking for it?
Is there anything else I could try that might get this person re-engaged? I can move on to another freelancer if I need to, but would prefer to keep working with this guy.
Everyone is human, have a talk to your contractor ... say you've noticed the recent drop off and were wondering why.
There are many reasons for their lack of attention of which a combination is likely.
Make sure to mention you want to keep working with them over other contractors if possible.
Steer the conversation to possible outcomes, if its just a money issue, then would you consider a pay rise. If its life getting in the way then a balance, if its personal growth then how can you help them which also helps you maybe hire another contractor that they guide and manage OR let them start to take more of the requirements and design work.
Mostly the outcomes help both parties, occasionally it just isn't meant to be, but at least you know to find someone else, and if you've considered their situation, they will most likely consider yours and help you find, train and hand over in order to keep you going.
You really should have how many hours he is expected to work on your project spelled out somewhere in your contract if it's critical that he gets to things in a quick/reasonable amount of time.
Overall if he's becoming unresponsive I wouldn't offer him more money, I'd move on to someone willing to pay attention to me. Contractors are more than just their technical skills, they're also customer service (with you being the customer).
It very well could be that he is receiving more money to work on other projects. It could be that he's simply bored with your project. It could be any number of things. But regardless, I would start setting clear deadlines for things. If he fails to meet the deadlines move on to someone else.