How to Build a Strong Relationship Between Owner and General Contractor

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, over 70% of owners and contractors agree that better communication and coordination across complex projects can significantly improve project outcomes. When strong relationships between owners and general contractors exist, it leads to consistency, efficiency and a higher level of quality at all stages of planning and construction.

As a GC, building and maintaining strong relationships with project owners can also lead to more jobs. Not only are you likely to be awarded projects by owners with whom you’ve successfully completed projects, but word of mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising. 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising, according to a Nielsen report.

So how can you, the general contractor, build and maintain a solid relationship with an owner? We’ve provided three helpful tips to get you started.

3 Ways to Strengthen the Owner and Contractor Relationship

1) Have clear and concise communication.

Communication is key to any relationship, so it’s not surprising that it’s essential between an owner and the GC. Continuing to communicate throughout the project with the same level of detail you put into acquiring the job is one of the keys to project success . Providing frequent updates on project progress, updates on any issues or changes that are outside of the scope of the original contract, and maintaining and sharing realistic schedule updates help to drive great communication and build trust between you and the owner.

2) Create a better bid process.

Professionals in the industry have noted that the bid process has become so highly competitive and focused almost solely on project cost for the owner, that completing jobs on time and within budget is nearly impossible. Bids and initial budgets are often unrealistic and contractors are put in a position that requires them to focus solely on cost-savings as the main driver of value to the owner. Projects are consistently underbid to secure work. Providing owners with high quality yet low cost materials and services is important. However, the ability to provide a high level of detail in bid proposals as to why your bid amount may be higher than those of other contractors is critical to showing that you’ve done your due diligence and your bid includes things other contractors likely didn’t think to include in their proposals. When owners and contractors are aligned on project costs from the beginning, contractors have a much higher likelihood of completing a successful, quality project that’s delivered on time and on budget.

3) Have project success at the forefront rather than convenience.

You likely have a particular project structure that only varies slightly by the type of project or the owner you’re working with. The owner may also have certain preferred workflows for completing construction projects. You may find yourself arguing with the owner about which method is best to get the job done. What matters most is completing the highest quality project as efficiently as possible. The owner and GC should avoid a ‘one size fits all’ contracting strategy that may not prove to be successful depending on each party’s strengths.

You may be the best at what you do, but if you don’t know how to build or maintain strong relationships with project owners, you’ll find yourself without much business. Having solid relationships with owners can heavily influence whether your company is awarded more jobs. Following the tips laid out above will help build your company’s reputation so you can win more projects.

How construction customer relationship management (CRM) can help your company build and maintain strong customer relationships

Construction revolves around relationships. It’s important that strong working relationships are established not only between general contractors and owners, but between all project stakeholders. As GCs develop solid relationships with owners, architects and subcontractors, they’ll be awarded repeat business from owners and referrals from happy customers will drive new business. A high level of trust between GCs and subcontractors makes projects run smoothly. Similarly, if general contractors have negative experiences with subcontractors, they need a system in place to ensure those subcontractors aren’t invited to bid on future projects.

Owners often award expensive, high-profile projects based on how well they know and trust a firm. That’s why it’s critical for contractors to know the complete picture of their relationship with a client. Construction customer relationship management (CRM) functionality is crucial not only for customer relationship management, but ultimately for managing and tracking relationships with all project team members. Cloud-based technology places key relationship, communication, lead and opportunity data at users’ fingertips anywhere at any time.

Important aspects of customer relationship management that should be tracked are: 

  1. Who the customer is
  2. Who works for the customer and what your relationship is with key employees
  3. What projects have you completed for this customer in the past
  4. Which of the projects you’ve worked with the customer on in the past most closely resemble the project you’re bidding on
  5. What opportunities have you chased with this customer before and how successful have you been
  6. How often have you been in touch with the customer and what were some of the most recent interactions

It’s also important to manage relationships with vendors and third-parties. Some of the key pieces of information may include: 

  1. Do you have a positive working relationship with the vendor
  2. Which projects have they worked on for you
  3. Has the vendor worked with you on previous projects for this customer
  4. What the interactions with their field and office teams were like
  5. Do you have current vendor credentials on file
  6. Do you have a list of vendor qualifications for this vendor.

RedTeam Flex is a highly configurable construction management solution that has everything you need to work together to get the job done, beginning with business development and customer relationship management and ending with project closeout. The solution provides you with a way to quickly and effectively communicate with your team members and external stakeholders, like owners, vendors, architects and engineers. An available integration with Fieldlens by RedTeam, an intuitive jobsite management solution, will provide an even deeper level of immediate collaboration between all project team members. RedTeam Flex and Fieldlens each have a number of standard filters and reports that you can share directly with owners to keep them abreast of project progress and any potential issues or delays.

RedTeam Flex also allows you to request and receive quotes from vendors and to build out a detailed cost estimate, where every update you make to the estimate will be reflected in cost and price immediately and simultaneously. Bid proposals created within RedTeam Flex allow you to include as much detailed information as required to back up your bid.

Customer, vendor and third-party relationship management are critical for success, and RedTeam Flex provides a way to track relationships with each of these stakeholders in all of the ways described earlier in this article. You don’t have to worry about employee turnover and lost data surrounding interactions with any of these parties, both within projects and any customer interactions during business development. 

If you’re interested in learning more about all of the ways RedTeam Flex can help you build and maintain strong owner relationships, please visit and watch a demo or book a call with our team to learn more.