Building a solid relationship with customers that’s based on trust and reliability is core to the ongoing success of construction contractors. Achieving this goal, however, goes well beyond meeting the obligations of the contract. The contractors that get the highest marks – and the most repeat business – are those who appreciate the nuance of engaging clients in a positive and collaborative partnership that’s on top of the core objectives of meeting deliverables on time.
Successfully meeting deliverables on time and on budget is clearly Job-1, however that doesn’t necessarily set any one contractor apart from the others. Obtaining a clear competitive edge requires numerous other behaviors, practices and key relationship-building that will up a contractor’s ranking from a 3/5 (acceptable) to a whopping 5/5 (outstanding) in the client’s mind. Becoming the go-to contractor for the client’s next big job is far more likely for those ranked at a 5. So, to help understand what these extended characteristics are to have a chance at getting to a 5/5, following are 4 examples of practices we would recommend to any contractor to achieve that objective.
Job 1: Consistent Delivery
Delivering projects on-time and on-budget with high-quality is clearly the first order of business. Consistently meeting project goals on contract after contract, providing that ongoing value to the client, is how a contractor’s capability is defined. Industrial construction projects are complex, multifaceted undertakings that are each very unique, and require a contractor to be adept at meeting new challenges. Contractors need to apply streamlined processes, hire quality talent and onboard key technology to succeed consistently. Meeting deliverables both on-time and on-budget is far more likely when the contractor is using an integrated software platform that enables teams to work more productively, reduces errors, eliminates rekeying and mitigates project risks.
Being the reliable contractor that clients have the confidence in requires the contractor to foster a highly organized ecosystem of efficiency, communication and results-driven mindset.
Job 2: Be Responsive and Collaborative
With the many moving parts and complexities of construction projects, the multi-discipline team inside the contractor organization needs to be in continuous synch with each other with a very high-bandwidth of communication. This means breaking down information silos both within the organisation and also with the client. The team has to cultivate a collaborative mentality with the client so that they feel an integral part of the whole solution. When the client is engaged, it helps develop a healthy relationship based on trust and empowerment. A key part of that engagement with the client is a responsive attitude. When the client has a request or question, it’s vital to respond quickly, with valuable and supportive information. Having an integrated software solution as the backbone of the contractor’s project management, project controls and real-time cost tracking, makes it trivial to provide instant answers, since the data is all immediately available, accurate and complete. And when the software is cloud-based and available on multiple devices, real-time information can be shared directly at the jobsite, in the office, or wherever they may be. Responding with enthusiasm and confidence builds the long-term bond that ensures repeat business.
Job 3: Know Your Numbers
Clearly, it’s expected that contractors know what they’re doing when it comes to the job to be done. But it’s also expected that they have a very tight handle on all the financial, schedule and progress details that govern the status of the project. It’s not uncommon for contractors to be so focused on the deliverables that the numbers take a backseat. This can be a grave mistake since clients are just as focused on cost and schedule as they are on completing the project. Being able to, for example, produce an accurate cost forecast for the client on-demand should be considered a baseline expectation of the contractor. Accomplishing this is only feasible when there is a system in place that can generate a forecast in a click. A system that can also product daily costs, progress reports, productivity ratios, etc., also in a single click.
None of this can happen without the upfront planning & budgeting; along with the steady input of actual costs, hours, and progress as the project is underway. Once those processes are cemented into the contractor organization’s culture and methodology – and the system is in place to do all the heavy lifting of applying formulas and formatting reports – the knowledge of the project’s finances are simply there, available to impress the client with.
Job 4: Provide Simple and Clear Reporting
When reporting on the project, most clients don’t need masses of complex information. They typically only need high-level summary data that’s nicely presented and very visual. Construction project management systems provide built-in analytics tools for designing attractive reports and dashboards that lay the information out clearly with impressive charts and key metrics. From time to time, they may ask for the details that support the summary reports, or backup for what’s being invoiced, and the system is equipped with those drilldown reports as well.
Software systems are very adept at analyzing large volumes of data and aggregating it into easily consumed formats that help drive good business decisions and real-time updates. When a construction manager can whip out an iPad on a moment’s notice and bring up an S-Curve to show the client right at the jobsite, it’s an impressive act that shows confidence and reliability – and secures a spot for that contractor on the next project.
A construction contractor’s longevity, growth and success are heavily dependent on solidifying positive relationships with their clients. To learn more about how your company can take advantage of 4castplus as your underlying software to drive that confidence and trust, please contact us to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.