Maintain strong relationships with your subcontractors.

Relationship Building

Contractor Relationship Maintenance

An orchestra can only work well when all the individuals can see, and have the conductor communicate signals to them clearly. A similar concept can be compared to building project services because no matter how in tune you may be as the main contractor or individual subcontractor, the project success will depend on the quality of your relationship with your project partners. Every time we work in partnership with our main or subcontractors, we mutually develop the working relationship and increase our working efficiencies through trust.

Your subcontractors should be a network of people you can trust and who places trust back in you as the main contractor. JCW Saunders are experienced in being both a main and subcontractor, read on to see some of our best practices in relationship management.

Take Responsibility

As a main contractor, a certain amount of responsibility must be taken when selecting subcontractors. Therefore, it is important to review and meet with subcontractors often, so that possible price changes and performance improvements can be discussed. Larger main contractors have procurement teams in place to handle these roles, smaller contractors may find it useful to have Account Managers responsible for the main or subcontractors they partner with on their allocated client accounts, this ensures the relationship is not only professional but also has a personal touch.

Build bridges

Building long-term relationships improves your industry reputation, and contributes towards the quality of your work as the main contractor. Sometimes incumbents are not available or may not have the necessary skills. It is normal within the industry for main contractors to appoint a new subcontractor adhoc. It is important to treat these with the same respect as long term subcontractors and in-house staff. Over time these contractors may form a permanent part of your overall supply chain and it is important that all parties learn to recognise each other’s preferred working methodologies. Subcontractors need to be nurtured so they can support and grow within your business culture.


Good communication is key to engaging in successful relationships. Today, we communicate either in forms of a verbal conversation or written email/letter, and staff within the customer serving industry should have the knowhow to appropriately choose the communication portals by judging the priority of situations. Proactive services require a lot of detailed planning, and therefore written communication is necessary to provide as much information as possible. Reactive services are generally emergency situations, and so written communication can take time, if an immediate response is required, always make the call first.

Inject healthy competition

Host healthy and open competition in a form of a tender process. It is often routine to carry on doing what we know best, and in the contracting industry, it is giving the same works to our preferred contractors’ list. However, hosting a tender process can be a chance to review a few factors: as well as discovering the best suited contractor, companies can also analyse their own requirements during the pre-tender process. You never know, you might find someone more suitable than your incumbent or find that your requirements have changed. When a subcontractor loses out on the tender, the best thing to do is to be honest about the their short comings, their strengths and be clear as to why they lost the bid, as well as to encourage them to continue bidding on projects that they are better suited for.

These practises are key to continued improvement and a stronger relationship over time. JCW Saunders follows these methodologies and are proud to have worked with our subcontractors as well as for our main contractors since our establishment.