Contractor Management: The Commercial Contractor Relationship

Both commercial contractors and facilities managers approach projects with the ideal outcomes in mind, but only by focusing on the real and possible will both parties be satisfied when the job is completed. To maintain the best working relationship possible, achieve objectives, and come away from a project satisfied and ready to do business with the same party again, it’s important for those looking to find a commercial contractor to consider the points below.

Speak Clearly and Listen

The more direct a manager can be with a potential contractor, the more likely that contractor is to give realistic estimates and advice. From the very beginning, managers should be up front about their companies’ budget limitations and timelines for completion.

Finding a good contactor requires more than just oratory skills, however: those interviewing potential candidates should listen very closely to what exactly their interviewees are saying. Do they speak in generalities? Do they demonstrate real, working knowledge of their field? Can they point to satisfied customers for whom they have been able to do good work for in the past? When managers find a commercial contractor that can relate to their visions but also provide sound logic and raw data while using past projects as testaments to their work, success can be anticipated.

Keep in Contact, in Many Different Ways

The open flow of communication is the only way that managers and contractors can minimize error and maximize efficiency. Both parties should be more than willing to designate check-in times where the purpose is not harangue the other party, but merely to keep all involved parties informed of the job status. It’s about more than just the quantity of communication – it’s also about the quality.
Verbal messages are easy to misunderstand and quite often get passed along incorrectly. Managers should make it a point to keep records of communication, and the best way to do this is through email or through writing. This makes it easier to prevent or clear up miscommunications and provides both parties with a reference that is not available once a spoken conversation takes place and details get forgotten.

Keep a Contract

Much to that same end, once managers find a commercial contractor suitable for their project, it is imperative that a contract be drawn up as soon as possible so that both parties will understand from the beginning what is expected from each side. This is also another way to manage progress and refresh memories once a project is well under way.

Own Your Mistakes and Then Move On

Even the most experienced professionals with the clearest visions are bound to make mistakes. When they arise, it’s important to assess just what went wrong.
This does not mean clients should play the blame game. Mistakes are opportunities for both parties to stop and ask themselves: was this my error in communication or theirs? How could this have been prevented? Or was it an error of circumstance that no one could have controlled? This assessment should allow both sides to see ways they can improve their performance in the future, but it should not be used to find fault or create tension. If a manager makes a mistake, he or she should admit it, apologize for it if appropriate, but more importantly communicate a way to keep the error from happening in the future.

Of course, one of the best preventive measures to ensure your project reaches its objectives is to network with the best contractors available to begin with. Learn more about Fixxbook, which makes it easier for facilities managers to find the best commercial contractors in the industry.

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