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General contractors and subcontractors need to have a collaborative relationship with one another in order to become (and stay) successful. If you have a large operation, you’re bound to work with hundreds of subcontractors a year, all of them helping you power through your projects. The larger the project you have to manage, filled with complex data to abide by, the more important a solid relationship with subcontractors becomes—you need to track their progress while respecting their expertise. You need to hold them accountable for quality and safety, and keep them to deadlines, but you also need to seek out their input and innovation.

Between industry best practices and modern technology, you’ll be able to do all of this while still maintaining a healthy relationship between yourself and your subcontractors. Here’s how you can do so. 

  1. Pre-Qualify

It’s a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said: when you’re hiring subcontractors, you need to make sure that they’re capable of doing the job you need them for both physically and financially. This means that you need to review prequalified subcontractors and get rid of the ones that aren’t experienced enough or don’t have the necessary resources for your project. 

Additionally, keeping tabs on subcontractors latest work will let you know their productivity and quality, leading you to determine who’s best suited for your project. Many clients want modern approaches to projects, so look for subcontractors that use modern technology and software.

  1. Set Rules, Guidelines, and Expectations

This needs to be done from the moment they’re hired. All of the roles and responsibilities you expect the subcontractors to perform should be written into their contracts, and terms and conditions need to be clearly defined—project specifications, expectations, timelines, payment, etc. Take this time to make sure the subcontractors have their own proper documentation in place, then walk them through the project in detail. Go over safety procedures and practices, and make sure their own procedures are in compliance with your project.

  1. Keep Them in the Loop

Collaboration means that you need to keep your partner in the loop with project changes, and this is no different. Your subcontractors should consistently know about changes, have real-time project data, and get their information ahead of schedule so that everyone stays on the same page. An easy way to do this is to use an integrated, cloud-based construction management program. 

Likewise, make sure that subcontractors can always get a hold of you. Listen to their concerns, quickly address their questions, be honest with them, and be transparent. This will build trust and respect between yourself and the subcontractors, which will increase the likelihood of them working with you again in the future.