When working on a project, the relationship between clients and contractors can take many forms. Some clients want to be integral in the work, while others stay back.
When a client-contractor relationship is difficult, it can cause several problems in the work itself. The whole experience can be made unnecessarily complicated when a contractor has to balance a frosty relationship with the client as well as the work that needs to be done.
So, how can both clients and contractors work to ensure that their working relationship is smooth and based on trust? Not everyone is naturally going to be friends, but you can do a few things to ensure professionalism, clear communication, and openness.
As mentioned previously, clients will differ in their attentiveness to contractors and the project as a whole. However, as a contractor, it is always smart to do your part to keep the client in the loop.
Establish early on what your and your client’s preferred method of contact is so they know where to reach you and where to expect updates from. Then, keep your communication regular. This way, if any issues arise, you and the client can deal with them immediately. Nothing creates a difficult client-contractor relationship like a problem being found too late down the line. Leaving these issues will only make the overall job more difficult.
When you are communicating, make sure to use positive language. You want the client to trust that you know what you are doing and that the project is going well. Even if a problem has arisen, by using positive language to talk about it, you show the client that the problem is fixable and under control, instilling their trust in you.
Listen to the client
In the same way communication is essential for a strong client-contractor relationship, so is listening. You are there to do a job, and you want to do it well. To ensure you fully understand the client’s needs, you need to listen to what they are aiming for, no matter the stage of the project, and act accordingly.
Explain your decisions to the client
Most clients won’t have experience in the construction industry. Therefore, when talking to them about the project, you will have to explain certain processes or decisions, as they don’t possess the same knowledge. This will allow you both to be on the same page and will give you something interesting to talk about!
Positive client-contractor relationships make the process smoother
The client will have chosen your firm for a reason, whether because of good reputation or the desire to use local architects and so it is important to live up to their expectations. Maintaining a positive relationship will make your job so much easier, so put in the effort to meet these steps.