For subcontractors, building strong, long-lasting relationships with general contractors is key to success. Better relationships lead to consistent work, and not just winning more bids, but winning the bids you want.

There are millions of subcontractors in North America. That’s a lot of subcontractors bidding for the same jobs. You need to stand out to general contractors to win more work. If not, your competitors could win the bids you want.

Here are four ways you can strengthen your relationships with general contractors.

1. Stay up-to-date on communication and contact details

Communication is key, from the bidding process to proposals to working relationships. If you can’t effectively and efficiently communicate with general contractors, your win rate and business could suffer.

It also needs to be easy for a general contractor to contact you. They need to make sure they’re not sending ITB’s to the wrong person or sending it to multiple contacts within the same company. Outdated means of communication can lead to missed or late bids.

How to build a better relationship: Use a platform that allows you to make your workflow more efficient, eliminate manual entry, and have everything in one place. Implementing a system ensures that you are on top of your due dates, and get bids to the general contractor on time, so they don’t have to track you down.

2. Improve security and reduce risk

Security is important to subcontractors. Bid boards on Excel spreadsheets lack the security businesses need to ensure that sensitive data is only seen by employees that are given permission. Transparency can be a great thing, but it can also leave a company exposed.

If someone has access to an Excel spreadsheet, they have access to all of the sensitive information. If an employee takes the bid information to a competitor, it can hurt your bottom line and your relationship with general contractors because you run the risk of losing their trust.

How to build a better relationship: Move your bid board online so you can manage who has permissions to important data and bids. Decide who has access to certain information so there are no more surprises for you or the general contractors you work with.

3. Track your relationships with historical data

Right now, a lot of subcontractors manage relationships with general contractors based on feel. You might have an idea if you regularly win or lose bids from certain general contractors, but you should be 100% sure.

Knowing hard numbers such as win rate lets you know where you should be allocating your time and resources. If you always win bids with a specific general contractor, then you can work on improving that relationship by bidding on more of their projects. If you always lose bids, then figure out why your bids aren’t getting accepted and what you can do to improve next time.

How to build a better relationship: Track your bid history in one place. In-depth reports allow you to look at your entire bid history, see your outcomes with specific general contractors, and track win rate so you can bid smarter.

4. Don’t be afraid to try new technology

In construction, processes have always been done a certain way. While the phrase, “don’t reinvent the wheel,” has applied to construction in the past, the industry is evolving because of advances in technology.

The innovation going on in Silicon Valley, from phones to cars to medical devices, has trickled down into construction. General contractors want to work with subcontractors that are willing to innovate and try something new. It shows them that you’re looking for ways to improve and be more efficient with everyone’s time.

How to build a better relationship: Don’t be afraid to try new technology to improve the bidding process, communication, collaboration, and efficiency. When you use technology to manage the bidding process, it ensures that you don’t miss bids — which general contractors don’t like — and gives you that time back to manage relationships.

Start building better relationships today.


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