By Jeff Eriks,Cambridge Companies
Strengthen your construction business by prioritizing strong relationships. From clients to contractors, building trust leads to successful projects and long-term success.
At Cambridge, our purpose is “Simplifying Clients Lives One Project at a Time”. We fulfill this purpose by fostering genuine relationships, based on knowledge, trust, and effective communication
The construction industry is one of the oldest and most traditional industries in the world. It’s a sector that has been slow to change and adapt, but it is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the world. One of the most important aspects of any business is building strong relationships, and this is especially true in the construction industry.
A lot of this is because of the collaborative nature of the work that is involved. It is often the case that the projects may involve more than one general contractor and several other subcontractors all of who are experts in their own areas.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of building strong relationships in the construction industry. We will look at why these relationships are so important and how you can go about developing them.
The Construction Industry is Built on Relationships
Strong relationships with clients, contractors, and other professionals can make the difference between a project being completed on time and within budget or be plagued by delays and cost overruns.
It is no secret that the construction industry is a relationship-driven business. The most successful contractors are usually the ones who intentionally develop strong relationships with their clients, employees, and suppliers.
Construction projects can often be quite massive undertakings where a single entity cannot provide all the labor and expertise that’s needed to get the construction work completed and delivered on time. Due to the sheer variety of building projects, you may also need consultants to weigh in. It would not be cost-effective to have these experts on the rolls of your organization and they are often freelance consultants or other construction firms that specialize in that kind of build who come in.
Let’s take the example of building a solid waste transfer station. While you may do a reasonably good job on the structural aspects, you would need help from waste industry experts for the utility and equipment layout, and other such aspects. As an example, we at Cambridge have been waste industry experts for almost 3 decades now. Working alongside industry experts and trade partners across the nation, we help communities and local governments achieve greater efficiency in waste management. Having consultants and experts who understand what it takes to build your project will help you in the long run to access a bigger share of the market.
In other cases, if you are not working with a design-build approach, you may be the project manager of a construction project but the team has been assembled by the project owner which means you have to work with the architects, designers, and subcontractors they have chosen.
It is also the case that the project owners are also looking for reliable licensed contractors who can deliver the work well. In an industry that is infamous for cost overruns and delays, finding a good reliable contractor can be a great thing. This is maybe different in the case of someone looking to build a new home as it is likely to be a one-time affair but in commercial construction, it is likely that there’s more business to get from a project owner.
The idea of a fixed team is not a reality in real estate and construction. It is the strong relationships that you build with other service providers in the industry that gives you the advantage. You need to rely on the workmanship and expertise of several individuals to get a project completed and delivered on time.
The Benefits of Having Strong Relationships in the Construction Industry
Having strong relationships in the construction industry has many benefits. For one, it can help you get complete or partial projects that can be great for your cash flow. Additionally, having strong relationships can help you get better prices on materials and services. If you are able to negotiate with vendors and suppliers, you may be able to get discounts that can save you money and ultimately make more competitive bids for projects. Getting the per-square-foot rates down for your bids may seem like a loss in the short term but it will certainly help you get more business in the long run.
If you are a construction company working in Arizona, it is important to not just be well networked within the Arizona construction scene and other contractors. It will pay to know all the different vendors out there who are dealing in construction equipment in major centers like Greater Phoenix Tucson and Yuma. This way, you will be able to expand your reach and bid for projects anywhere within the state of Arizona.
Relying on strong relationships is also a great way to mitigate the risks you have as a contractor. You can be certain about the quality of work of the partners you are relying on as well as the materials you are using. This is invaluable in a high-risk industry.
In addition to financial benefits, having strong relationships in the construction industry can also lead to improved safety on job sites. When everyone is on good terms, there is better communication and cooperation. This can help prevent accidents and injuries. Furthermore, good relationships can also lead to a better work environment overall. If all the people working on a project feel like they are part of a team and have good relationships with their co-workers, they will be more likely to enjoy coming to work each day.
Construction being a high-ticket item may not entirely be done via cold outreach. People would not be willing to bet millions on a construction firm just based on your website or the presentation you do. References are important in the industry. Building a good relationship with others will ensure that you get a favorable word when project owners are looking for recommendations and references.
How to Build and Maintain Strong Relationships in the Construction Industry
Here are some tips for building and maintaining strong relationships in the construction industry.
Communicate Openly and Often
In construction, communication is key. Make sure you are keeping your clients, vendors, and subcontractors up to date on the status of the projects as well as any upcoming projects that you are likely to get. One of the best ways to build great relationships is by ensuring that you are not transactional in your communication. It makes sense to have no-agenda conversations with them, know the people behind their roles, and maintain a good personal relationship first. Remember that people work with people. Putting the person front and center and dealing with them with empathy and care will help you communicate better and build stronger relationships.
Be Open and Honest
Being open and honest is a great way to make sure that you maintain good relationships. If there are problems with the project, be upfront about it and work together to find a solution. Trying to hide problems will only make them worse in the long run. Having clear and honest communication and sharing constructive feedback is appreciated generally and doing this will hold you in good stead with other professionals in the industry.
Respect their Time and Deadlines
Nothing frustrates people more than missed deadlines and people not respecting others’ time. This is especially true in the field of construction where people generally tend on hourly rates as consultants. Estimating the time that it actually would take and hiring them for that much time is important. It is also necessary to make sure that you respect the deadlines and ensure that their work does not get delayed because of issues from your end.
Don’t Nickel-and-Dime your Partners
No one likes working with someone who’s always trying to get the best deal possible without regard for the other person’s interests or needs. While negotiating a fair deal is in everyone’s interest, it is vital to remember that everyone wants to get paid a fair amount for their efforts. Being fair and honest in these negotiations is important. Play fair and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty down the road
Keep your Promises
This goes along with being honest – if you say you’re going to do something, do it. Trust is the currency you are dealing in mostly. Your word is your bond, so make sure you can always be counted on to deliver on your commitments. It will ultimately determine if you are someone they trust and they want to work with in the long run.
Strong relationships are important in any industry, but they’re especially important in the construction industry. The construction industry is all about collaboration and teamwork, and strong relationships are essential to getting the job done right.
Building good relationships is often about helping without the expectation of reciprocation and building goodwill with the other party. This may be other construction businesses whom you may be competing with for projects, vendors and suppliers, subcontractors, architects and designers, and of course workers. Remember that it is not about getting the bigger slice of the pie. It is ultimately about expanding the pie so that everyone wins.
Having a win-win mentality and working with integrity is the best way to build strong relationships in the construction industry. It may be hard for you to take the first step but once you take that leap and see that it gives you good rewards, the rest of the journey becomes much easier.
Cambridge Companies is a design-build company with a track record of multiple successful projects across the country in various areas such as waste management, commercial construction, and logistics. We have worked with many public and private entities to deliver complex projects on time and at competitive prices. Get in touch with us today to know more about our capabilities and how we can help you get your next project off the ground!