Over our 100 plus years in business, we’ve developed a terrific network of high-quality and dependable subcontractors. We have great relationships with these companies and we truly enjoy working with them. Establishing this network certainly taught us a lot of lessons, but one seems to stick out more than the others – communication is key.

Anytime you add another seat to the table, the threat of inefficiency and bureaucracy grows worse. For all parties to operate at a high level, communication between the client, the contractor, and the subcontractor has to be seamless. We’ve created 4 guidelines that can help strengthen communication between contractors and subcontractors. 

  1. Talk Early and Often- One of the best ways to improve communication is talking well before the ground is broken (ideally face to face), and then continuing to do so throughout the project. Assuming everyone is on the same page without verifying is how mistakes happen.
  2. Document Everything- It seems like no project is complete without a laundry list of change orders. When these changes come in, make sure there’s a paper trail of who told who and when they told them. This helps identify any breakdowns in the event of a dispute.
  3. Chain of Command- A lot of communication breakdowns happen simply because people don’t know who they need to talk to if they have a problem or who they need to relay new information to when they get it. Establishing a crystal clear chain of command ensures lines don’t get crossed or disconnected.
  4. Align Priorities – One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in the contractor-subcontractor relationship is aligning priorities. All too often, party A will request information or action from party B, not knowing that party B has bigger fish to fry. Party B is then slow to act, which puts party A behind schedule. All parties need to frequently update each other on their needs and priorities to avoid such situations.