News & Blog
Senior Estimator Raquel Perez
In the construction industry, we all know the bidding process can be extremely stressful and labor intensive. Ensuring competitive pricing is crucial to providing customers with the best value possible, but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you're knee deep in project drawings. It's also easy to fall into the trap of taking subcontractors and suppliers for granted. Most of us are guilty of this at one point or another, especially when we're rushing to meet multiple proposal deadlines.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. That's universal across all industries. In construction management, it's important to stop and remember that our subs are providing us with valuable services since they are the ones usually doing the actual building. So let's show our subs some love!
Establishing and maintaining successful relationships with these companies takes work, and it's a two-way street. However, there are a few simple things we can do (and should do!) to help ensure a positive experience with our subs. Most of these we already know, but it's good to be reminded.
- Appreciation events. I'm not talking about extravagant parties or expensive outings. A simple "thank you" lunch or afternoon coffee and donuts from a local bakery are great ideas that don't cost much. For example, at JMC, we held a sub appreciation lunch at one of our project sites at UNH during the summer. We had the food catered by a local barbeque restaurant, and it ended being a fantastic event for everyone (without breaking the bank).
- Honest communication. For CMs, it can be nerve-wracking waiting to hear back from a client after submitting a bid. The same goes for our subs. Communicating with trades after bid submittal is critical for creating successful relationships. Even if the customer hasn't made a decision yet, we can still let subs know that the bid has been submitted and that we'll be in touch as soon as we know more. A simple acknowledgment takes five minutes and goes a long way. Of course, when it's time to inform trades of award, making the phone call to the successful bidder is the easy and fun part. Letting others know they didn't win – not so great. But, they deserve to know (and in a timely manner), and they deserve whatever feedback we can provide. Be honest. It may be uncomfortable, but it is beneficial and is (almost) always appreciated.
- Pay on time. I don't know a single person in any industry who appreciates being paid late. Paying subs on time sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many times it doesn't happen. Again, most of us have been guilty of this at some point, and there are instances when this is not feasible due to certain circumstances. For example, it's hard to pay our subs on time when we are still waiting to be paid by the customer. But, whenever we can do it, we should do it, and when we can't, we need to communicate it. Everyone deserves to be compensated for their work within a reasonable time frame; they shouldn't have to do more work just to collect what they've earned. And, your reputation as a good payer within the sub community will be rewarded with more attention and better pricing.
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