Subcontractor Relations

How to Improve the Relationship Between Contractor and Subcontractor

How to Improve the Relationship Between Contractor and Subcontractor


The relationship between the general contractor and subcontractor is key to the success of any construction project. Subcontractors come onto a project when a specialized job needs to be filled for a project. The need for specialized contractors is becoming more and more common as new and sophisticated technology-based products are coming onto the market. The traditional craft of construction has undergone a major shift, making subcontractors extremely important. In the past, general contractors have been known to treat their subs disrespectfully. With the increasing need for these subcontractors, it is becoming more necessary to improve these relationships between general contractors and subcontractors so that subs are no longer treated as dispensable.

Here are a few tips for improving the relationship between contractor and subcontractor.



As you’ve heard countless times, communication is key to any type of relationship, including the relationship between the general contractor and subcontractor. Keeping an open line of communication throughout the duration of a project will greatly reduce the likelihood of any potential issues between a sub and general contractor. When it comes to communication, the more the better. Utilize tools such as email and phone calls, but also remember to schedule consistent face-to-face meetings to avoid miscommunications. Another tool that can help foster better communication is implementing a cloud-based construction software such as eSUB. Construction software streamlines communication and allows contractors and subs to communicate in real-time. It offers instant communication which means no more phone tag!


It is essential that contractors create boundaries regarding relationships with their subs. Contractors may not be able to pick the same subs every time due to budget and time constraints, so they need to make this known. The bidding process is competitive and subs need to be aware of that. If these boundaries are not spelled out, it might create a conflict among subs and the contractor. Keeping an open line of communication as I discussed above, will prevent any possible confrontations from occurring. This maintains a stable relationship and gives both parties valuable contacts.


Respect for both parties is important in improving the sub and contractor relationship. As I mentioned earlier, contractors have a bad reputation for not practicing respect towards their subs. It is general contractors job to change this reputation and start actively showing respect towards their sub. This can mean a variety of things including speaking respectfully and paying subs the right amount of money on time. Subs need to practice this respect as well. When disagreements come up, subs may be quick to argue. Staying calm and sensible ensures that there is a mutual respect between both parties.

The relationship between the subcontractor and general contractor will never be perfect, but following these tips can help make the relationship stronger. If you have to work together, you might as well make your relationship a pleasant one!