Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

A healthy relationship with subcontractors can pay dividends in more than the expected avenues for general contractors. An article from Cliff Woodman in REMODELING's September-October issue highlighted several of the potential benefits of fostering a good relationship with subs. On the same topic of working more effectively with specialty trade contractors as a general contractor, Remodelers Advantage's Tim Faller shares two ideas that he picked up from a project manager course he facilitated.

Setting Long-Term Schedules
While discussing scheduling trade contractors, and actually getting them to the site, this idea came up. Ask them for their long-term schedule. This may be as far out as three to six months. This can accomplish significant things:

  1. They’ll have to create a long term schedule!
  2. You can find holes and perhaps schedule around them for your work.
  3. You’ll know whether they’ll be capable of handling all the work you have coming in.

Comparing their schedules to your company’s master schedule will enable you to plan better.

Tiered System for Subs
Give your trusted trade partners preferential services because they help you overcome your challenges. One company said they have the Quick Pay option. In general, the trades get paid in 30 days. But those that choose the Quick Pay have to meet some conditions, like using the company’s cloud-based software, showing up on time, and so on.

I know many remodelers already pay in five to 10 days, so that may not be your thing. But the idea is to see what you want your trades to help you with, and then set up an incentive. If that incentive can be something you do anyway, like paying them, it doesn’t cost you anything extra. However, we know our trades can make or break us—so even if there’s a little extra cost, it may be worth it.

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