December 20, 2021

How to Build Your Reputation as a Contractor?

By Rachel Conceiao
Just like any other business, construction is about sourcing opportunities and ensuring that your clients believe they have found the best company for the job. Winning contracts is the result of numerous factors working together which lead a client to select your company.

Based on our recent surveys with successful general contractors, here are the key factors that can impact your reputation and success.  
Everyone on a construction site must leave the site uninjured every day. A robust safety policy must be adopted by all employees and ongoing training must be implemented.

Ensuring all employees and trades follow the contractor’s safety policy will result in low injury reports. A clean safety record is very beneficial when submitting pre-qualification, tenders, and proposals for new projects.
Make the effort to build solid relationships with clients, consultants, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ), trades and employees. Treating clients and consultants professionally and honestly will have you reaping the benefits when recommendations are required from them for new project pursuits.

Positive dealings with AHJ will result in collaboration and cooperation from them in challenging situations. Potential schedule delays can be avoided by having a good working relationship with AHJ.

Treating trades well in all situations will foster their loyalty and cooperation. Trusted partnerships with trades lead to successful outcomes and project wins.

Retain loyal employees by providing them with career growth opportunities and fair financial rewards. Promoting a culture of openness, respect and transparency lead to employee satisfaction and superior performance. Clients look for staff with relevant project experience when they are analyzing a pre-qualification, tender, or proposal from a contractor. Ability to showcase staff with tenure and experience, indicates that your operation has a strong backbone.
No one wants to work with dishonest companies, if you cheated or mistreated a client, they are no longer willing to speak on your behalf for future projects. It’s in your best interest to do the best job you can with the resources available, communicate clearly and treat staff and clients fairly.

Your reputation depends on your track record of dealing honestly with everyone. 
A company is judged by its culture both internally and externally. You want your clients, consultants, and trades to perceive your company as honest, trustworthy, and hardworking. You want your employees to know that they are being heard and taken seriously. Therefore, its important for you to establish and communicate a culture that will attract both internal and external parties to your company.  
The successful execution of a construction contract depends on delivering what you promised, on time and as per specifications. Implement a quality control program that ensures delivery in line with client expectations.
Generally, lumpsum tenders are solely evaluated on low prices. Increasingly, they include a scoring criterion for additional items such as company experience, relevant experience of proposed staff, safety record, financial capability, letters of recommendation, work procedures, understanding of site logistics, and safety of the public. This means you need to assess and evaluate the criteria, and properly address the items necessary to prove to the client you have a full understanding of the project and the inherent constraints.

Another key process during the bid preparation period is spending time with the invited trades. This allows you to ensure they understand their scope, consider all schedule impacts to their bid, have established a close relationship with their key suppliers, and that they understand you are preparing a serious bid. With this, the proposed staff on-site will entice the trades to work together closely with you on the day of tender closing.
Do not think that marketing is the responsibility of only the Marketing or Business Development group in your company. All employees need to understand that they are marketing for your company every day in their dealings with clients, consultants, and trades.

A culture of collaboration, honesty, openness, and transparency will attract clients, consultants, trades, and employees to engage with your company.
The principals of the company should articulate its vision (in other words, its longer-term aspiration) to all employees, clearly and concisely. They must also ensure that everyone understands the vision, buy into the vision, and live by it every day.
Always Learning
Create a culture of learning from mistakes. Resiliency to move on from unforeseen changes will encourage people to grow and increase their knowledge and experience in the construction industry.

Find the best way your company can document lessons learned so they can be referenced in the future.
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