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Tim Forestell
October 17, 2019

Working relationships are some of the most important relationships. 

This is especially true between contractors and maintenance managers and staff. The working relationship between these two entities can make or break a project.  It is an important relationship that we have all experienced and it can set up an entire season for success.

Facilities Net wrote an informative article about building working relationships between facility crews and contractors. What’s interesting about this article is that it is from the perspective of facility teams.

The points in this article offer a “behind the scenes” insight to help you understand how facility staff could approach relationship building with a contracted snow removal company or team. It highlights what the responsibilities are of facility teams from the point of view of the teams themselves.

There are the 5 key ways that facility and maintenance managers and crews strive to establish a successful relationship with contractors. 

1. The “buyer” of the contract (the building owner) controls the buyer-contractor relationship

This puts the responsibility of building a positive relationship on the building representative, AKA the facility or maintenance contact person. Although this may be their role, you as a contractor can facilitate this by doing your p

Why does this matter?

If it’s a new role to someone, they may not be used to this role as a relationship leader. Letting them take charge is okay; just remember to be proactive in your own role and responsibility in the relationship. 

2. Set benchmarks and provide a detailed description of the location to minimize confusion

In the same way that asking questions can be a proactive way to learn what the expectations and concerns are for a specific site, you may already be welcomed with a detailed list. 

 Why does this matter?

It’s important, as a contractor, to be aware that you may be given a very detailed plan of the site, where to gather snow, what the expectations are, etc. Expect it and be prepared to look it over and ask clarification questions. Show them that you appreciate their care and detail. 

3. Select a contractor based on management skills, practises, and innovation 

Maintenance managers will not be looking for the lowest price when hiring contractors for snow. Sure, price is a factor, but being a great contractor to work with will be the true selling point for why you are hired. 

Why does this matter?

How you present you, your workers, and your company matters. Take all the seemingly little things seriously. The proactive side should come into play with communicating all the ways you set yourself up for success when bidding and pitching for snow removal contracts. Be confident that these things matter to building maintenance and facility workers. 

4. Know the contract and understand the role of the “buyer” and the “contractor”

Everything is specified in the contract, so take ownership for what is to be owned by building maintenance and the contractor, respectfully. 

Why does this matter?

As a contractor, you need to fully understand the contract too. Ask for clarification. Don’t take any kind of task lists or required reporting lightly. Once again, proactive clarifications can save any kind of future misunderstanding. It’s also important to respect the position of maintenance in a project. Think of them as a member of the team and crew. Work with them, not against them. A working relationship built on respect will take you far.

5. Ongoing management for a lasting relationship

According to this article, the response time that contractors have in dealing with problems, responding to messages and providing answers to questions does a lot to establish trust. This is how a “successful relationship” is measured. 

Why does this matter?

It’s a broken record, but proactive action and communication is so important. If timely response is a key factor in building trust in the eyes of facility and maintenance managers, then be sure to always respond in a timely manner. Better than that, be the first to reach out when communicating about problems or issues. 

Whether you’ve known a maintenance contact person for years, or if it’s a brand new job with a brand new manager, it’s important to take your working relationship with maintenenace managers seriously. 

Now that you know how they approach their role, you can do your best to create a respectful, caring, and honourable working relationship to make each project a success. 

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Avatar of the author
Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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