When it comes to managing your contractors, it’s no secret that successful engagement outcomes are driven by strong relationships. In spite of your differences, both on and offsite, you need to work together cohesively if your project is to run smoothly. However, problems can and will arise, and when it happens with your contractors, it’s easy to cast blame and point fingers. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. If you work on improving your relationship with your contractors, you’ll find facilitating effective communication easier and that issues are quicker to resolve.

How to Build Better Relationships with Your Contractors?

Successful working relationships are built upon communication, clarity and honesty. It is these qualities that create a feeling of respect and confidence between both parties. However, building these relationships takes time, effort and perseverance. While a project might start swimmingly with a happily agreed cost and scope, it is how you manage problems when they occur that makes all the difference.

Establish a positive working relationship from the outset with these six tips and you’ll be able to leap any hurdle:

1. Create a Clear Contract with Specific Compliance Requirements

A successful relationship begins well before a contractor is engaged. First, comes a clear request for proposal. You need to clearly define the scope of your project, without limiting professional creativity. Next, you need to choose the right contractor for the job, ultimately the person or company with the right knowledge, expertise and resources. Once you’ve chosen your contractor, you need to draft a contract that makes expectations clear including scope, timings and responsibilities during the project. By creating a clear contract, you are laying down the groundwork for the working relationship that will follow.

Contractor compliance is fundamental; without it, you put both your business and the contractor at risk. It is the process of ensuring your contractors and suppliers adhere to the specific requirements of your organisation and it is best to clearly articulate the compliance criteria upfront, prior to any work commencing. When your contractors meet the required criteria, they may be considered prequalified. Implementing a compliance management solution at this point can be of great benefit to your organisation, ensuring contractors remain compliant. Compliance reduces the risk exposure to the business. Ensuring contractor compliance will lower risks associated with safety, finance, insurance liabilities and the law, to both the organisation and its officers.

2. Track Progress Together

While you may have agreed to a plan or process with your contractor, things can go off track. It’s vital that you have a contractor management system that helps you both keep track of progress. As the client, you can facilitate this with the help of timelines, checklists and progress reports. This helps to ensure contractors understand the milestones that they need to achieve and what they are working towards at every step of the way. It’s also a great way to keep everyone motivated.

3. Give Them the Right Tools and Training

To be able to deliver what you’ve asked of them, your contractors need the right tools at their fingertips. This might mean bringing in specialised equipment or coaching or providing certain documentation. Even if it’s not your area of expertise, you should understand what your contractors need to deliver on their promises. You’ll also need to ensure everyone is safe on-site by providing the necessary health and safety training, processes and procedures. By keeping everyone safe, you keep everyone working, which is definitely going to make you all happier.

4. Communicate Frequently

As well as checking up on timelines and progress reports, you need to facilitate effective communication with your contractors. Make sure you keep lines of communication open and can quickly bring them up to speed and advise of any changes. One way to do this is to plan in regular site meetings where you can talk face to face. However, make sure you also have a contractor management system in place so you can reach them at all times and stay connected throughout your project.

5. Remember to Listen Too

Communication is a two-way street; you need to ensure you don’t just give your contractors information; you need to also listen. Give them the opportunity to tell you how the job is progressing from their perspective, what the key challenges are, and what you can do to help. By listening, you will make them feel valued and they will be much more likely to let you know of any issues before they escalate.

6. Make Yourself Available

If you want your contractors to be able to communicate with you, you need to give them the means to do so. Make sure they know who they should contact and how. Your contractors should know who to call with a query and who to call in case of an emergency. And, most importantly, make sure you pick up the phone or answer your emails, it’s vital you don’t put them at the end of your to-do list and ignore them. If you don’t make yourself available to your contractors, frustrations can easily develop.

How an Externally Provided Solution Can Benefit Your Contractor Relationships

Even if you only have a few contractors, making sure you give them access to up-to-date induction information, compliance criteria checklists and contracts can become complicated. However, it is a crucial part of improving your relationships with contractors. Fortunately, external solution providers can help. Contactor management systems can be used to send reminders, notifications and alerts. They ensure absolute clarity for the contractor and facilitate effective communication. By outsourcing this contractor management, you reduce the overall risk exposure of your business, while setting the foundation for strong networks. By connecting and communicating with your contractors throughout the engagement, you’ll create working relationships that deliver.

For over a decade, Conserve has helped organisations overcome contractor management challenges. We can help you develop a contractor management service that will be not only effective but will make your organisation safer, while minimising your overall risk. Request a demo now or visit the Conserve page for more great content.

For more information contact us on +61 2 8883 1501enquiries@conserve.com.au or subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates.


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  1. AffiliateLabz

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

  2. frank

    Strong content on managing contractor relationships. My key takeaway was around two way communication. So often I do the telling without doing the listening. Cheers


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