Good Communication Skills Seen as Essential to Growth and Success

by WOHe

Good Communication Skills Seen as Essential to Growth
and Success

Communicating with cabinet installers, countertop
fabricators and other subcontractors throughout the course of a
kitchen or bath project is among the keys to insuring that a design
firm’s relationship with its subs will be successful and
fruitful.

So says Sara Busby, principal in Sara Busby Design,
of Elk Rapids, MI. Busby, a member of the Houston-based Bath &
Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG), spoke on the topic of subcontractor
relationships at BKBG’s recent semi-annual educational
conference.

Busby offered BKBG members a number of suggestions
for enhancing subcontractor relationships. Among them were the
following:

  • Include the cabinet installer at the design stage.
    “They will take more ownership of the installation, and feel a part
    of the team,” Busby advises.
     

  • Personally introduce your client to any
    subcontractors who will be working in their home.
     

  • Have a set of guidelines for each subcontractor to
    agree to, in writing. In addition, include your company’s Mission
    Statement with all subcontractor-related paperwork.
     

  • Send “before” photos of soon-to-be-renovated
    kitchens and baths to installers “so they can see what they’re
    going into.”
     

  • For any extras connected with the project, be sure
    that the trades know how to approach the additional work from the
    standpoint of compensation.
     

  • Establish a policy in which installers notify your
    office, or the project’s designer, when any extras are added to the
    work.
     

  • Request that all subs have a cell phone with them
    when on the job site. “And always take phone calls from subs,”
    Busby suggests. “You don’t want them to leave a project because
    they could not get information from you about a problem or
    concern.”
     

  • If a problem arises on a job, talk it through with
    the sub, and come to a decision ASAP.
     

  • Take installers to cabinet manufacturers’
    facilities for plant tours in in-depth insights into specific
    products.

    Credit installers or other subcontractors when photos or
    descriptions of the project are published in a consumer or trade
    magazine.
     

  • Send thank-you notes to subcontractors, praising
    them for work well done, and include their names in your
    advertising.
     

  • Always pay an installer for his mistakes. “They are
    only human, like everyone else,” Busby points out. “The times they
    correct our design mistakes will far outweigh the cost of the new
    cabinet you have to order, or the countertop that was damaged.”

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