General contractors and subcontractors have recently been facing a problematic construction industry. Forging positive relationships is becoming increasingly difficult with record-breaking demand, volatile material costs, and lingering labor shortages.
In such a highly competitive and stressful environment, having a strong general contractor-subcontractor relationship is crucial to success. Subcontractors face mounting pressure to deliver more for less cost, and it’s difficult to balance profit and loss.
So, how can subcontractors improve relationships with general contractors? They must navigate their relationships cautiously and understand that price won’t be the only determining factor in winning a bid and creating a positive working relationship.
3 Ways to Improve Subcontractor-General Contractor Relationships
1) Highlight Your Qualifications
As a subcontractor, it’s your responsibility to understand your capacity and ensure you are able and willing to meet expectations. Having the right resources to do your job is vital to improving relationships with general contractors, especially during a time when material costs and availability can vary.
It’s a good idea to maintain an organized catalog of previous work and projects to better communicate your past performance and highlight your professionalism. You can start with more confidence and operate more smoothly by entering a job site prepared, which is key to building and maintaining positive working relationships with general contractors.
2) Clearly Define Tasks
As a subcontractor, you often perform a specific part of a larger project without necessarily being informed about the full scope. Understanding the project’s intended end result can be quite helpful, as it may improve the way you discuss your work with general contractors.
By increasing awareness of how your contract plays into the task as a whole, you can get a better sense of what needs to be reported and what does not. By demonstrating this awareness, you also collect industry knowledge that can be used as you place more bids and receive more work. This can be instrumental in putting yourself above competitors for future contracts, especially as you begin to show this knowledge.
By maintaining high-quality communication as a subcontractor and understanding the terms of a contract and project plan, you can be sure you meet expectations and exceed them. Having this knowledge of the contract will impact your reputation as well as your ability to track compensation and deadlines.
3) Embrace Technology
It should come as no surprise that open lines of communication with a project’s general contractor is the best way to maintain success. An easy way to do this is to set a regular time to update general contractors using a preferred mode of communication. Doing so will reduce ad-hoc contact between your employees, general contractors, and clients.
Using technology to manage projects can help create efficiencies and greatly improve the subcontractor-general contractor relationship. AP software can help you track contracts, project status, workflows, purchase orders, change orders, invoices, and payments. By having this level of detail at your fingertips, you can set yourself up for success on the job and in the eyes of a general contractor. Plus, you can more easily manage your team and keep everyone on the same page.
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Construction companies face unique accounting challenges not commonly found in other industries — from job costing to subcontractor management to contract retainage and many others. PaperTrl provides the AP tools to help you take on many of those tasks and more with automated processes and supporting data that feeds directly into your accounting system. Start your free trial today.