Most remodelers need subcontractors to remodel and build. Here are a few tips about creating mutually beneficial relationships with subs.

Demonstrate respect. Call subs ahead of time and negotiate their start dates -- and respect their scheduling problems. Pay them as quickly as possible. When the sub's mechanics are on site, help out as your time permits. And recognize them as part of your team. Let them know when you win awards or receive positive feedback from clients.

Express your needs. Discuss with each subcontractor the best way to work together. The carpenters and the sub's mechanics should be involved in this discussion. Find out what you can do to ensure that they keep their commitments.

Express appreciation often. Nothing builds good will like saying thank you. For a job well done, take them to lunch or dinner. Think about having a sub of the month contest. Publish the criteria, judges, and reward.

Share what's going on. It is important to keep subs up-to-date on the progress of the job and the next steps. Tell the plumber about who will follow him and when they are scheduled. When things don't go well or you get frustrated with a sub, talk to them about it and take steps to resolve the situation.

--Tim Faller, Field Training Services,