Construction Marketing Tip: Building Your Brand with Subcontractors on the Job

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As a contractor, you are already aware of the major issues that can arise when subcontractors do not perform as expected. Subcontractors have the power to put your project behind schedule and over budget. Accidents or poorly done work result in delays and expenses.

On a more subtle but no less important level, your subcontractors can also impact your reputation. When you have a significant number of subcontractors at a jobsite, how can you continue to build your brand and control your image?

Here’s how to maintain your marketing message as a general contractor

First…choose wisely.

Just as you hope that homeowners who are considering hiring you will look at more than the bottom line, you need to choose subcontractors that offer greater advantages than the lowest price. Each of the strengths that you want clients to see in you must be obvious in the subcontractors you hire.

Do you have a reputation for excellent customer service? Don’t hire the subcontractor that takes two days to get back to you.

Building your image as a contractor who provides superior quality in sophisticated homes? Skip the Craigslist ads for bargain subcontractors.

You get the idea. You need to select subcontractors that are going to be a natural fit for the way you do business and how you want your company presented, because the fact that they are subcontractors rather than direct employees will not mean much to your clients or other people who have to interact with them on the job site.

Make them part of the team.

Once you have a team of subcontractors that you are confident will represent you well, you can confidently make them a part of your team. Invest in company logo shirts that you provide to your subcontractors. This will ensure that you are controlling your marketing message and present a unified, professional appearance to your clients. It will also help you avoid the embarrassment of having subcontractors show up for work in gear provided by the competition or a product or service that you do not want mentally connected to your business.

Emphasize the importance of professional attitudes and appearance on the job to your subs. If they are unwilling to conform to the rules that you set, they are probably going to become an issue at some point. Don’t wait for problems to occur. Select another subcontractor who shares your beliefs about professional image.

Schedule carefully.

Many problems with subcontractors develop from scheduling conflicts and getting in each other’s’ way. As the general contractor, it is your duty to minimize the risk of this happening and smoothing out conflicts when they occur.

If you are an experienced contractor, you have already had to deal with this issue. Just be certain to include consideration for your brand and contractor marketing message when you do so. If you are a smaller general contracting business and are beginning to increase the number of subcontractors that you use, create a detailed timeline of tasks required on each project.

This way you can ensure that the roofers’ scaffolding isn’t placed over newly planted landscaping or the electrician isn’t called in right after new drywall has been installed. Avoiding conflicts will present a professional, reputable image to your clients and anyone else on the job site.

Enforce order.

You have the final word on what is acceptable and what is not on your jobs. The best form of general contractor marketing that you is word of mouth, and that’s why it is essential that each subcontractor you hire gives your clients great things to say about you.

As soon as you start letting schedules slip, poor behavior go undisciplined, or accept unprofessionalism, it will quickly become standard operating procedure, and your referral rates will fall off a cliff. Expect only the best from your subs. Together you will build their brands and your own through continuously working to impress your clients with superior results.

Have a great week!

-Darren