Buy the Next Round: Building Relationships That Matter Over a Cold One

There are plenty of reasons to go into construction.

The security. The money. The craft.

But as one of the toughest industries to start a business, there are lots of reasons why construction companies fail.

The seasonality. The competition. The razor-thin profit margins.

The reality is half of construction businesses fail.

So, how do you beat the odds and not only survive but thrive?

The success of construction businesses can be boiled down to one thing: relationships.

Successful projects are built on strong relationships and dependable partnerships.

Networking is the first step to building those relationships.

You never know what will spark a conversation and which conversations will lead to future opportunities.

Something as small as a shared favorite drink could lead to big things. Whether you’re a craftsman or a project executive, networking is an important part of building successful, long-term business partnerships.

However, those successful, long-term partnerships are like any other relationships: they aren’t easy.

They take time and effort to maintain. They need to be built on trust and good communication. They need to be mutually beneficial—both partners need to be able to count on, tap into and rely on one another.

In the long run, your efforts will be rewarded, and these relationships will give you an edge because sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know.

And nothing builds camaraderie quite like offering to buy the next round.

Here are four types of relationship you need to nurture and the recommended rounds to buy to build strong business relationships to drive your success.

General Contractors

For the next round: Bourbon

It takes a while to acquire an appreciation for bourbon…and it will probably take even longer for you to build a strong relationship with a general contractor. General contractors will push you and your team to the limit. Trust and respect will be earned, not simply given. You need to prove to GCs they can count on you to do the work and do it right, on time and within budget. Communication is essential to this relationship. Communicate clearly and often. Professionalism goes a long way too—from a professional bid package to a professional appearance to a professional attitude.

A strong, healthy relationship with a GC is gold and beneficial to both parties. To them, it means they have a sub they can count on. For you, it means more work.


For the next round: A pitcher (or two) of beer

A pitcher of beer is always best when shared. The same rule applies to this relationship. Share project leads and introductions with fellow subs. If you know a dependable and capable sub, introduce them to your network. This will position you as a valued resource and strengthen your connections. Construction is a small world and if you can get in with a network of success subcontractors, opportunities will be endless.

However, be selective of your introductions. It’s your reputation on the line.

Building Material Suppliers, Distributors, and Manufacturers

Buy the next round: The Old Fashioned

As this classic, and delicious, drink is often overlooked, relationships with your vendors are often overlooked. However, having a strong relationship with your suppliers could pay dividends. Vendors are your partners. Share your needs and your business goals with them so they can play a role in your success. When something does go wrong, don’t play the blame game. Work together to find a solution. Having a vendor that is willing to go above and beyond can make or break a project.


Buy the next round: Death Wish Coffee

As a business, your most important asset is your employees. Give your team the strongest cup of coffee known to man to supercharge them to do their best. This relationship needs to be founded in respect, appreciation, and transparency. Communication is key and needs to flow both ways. Give employees an opportunity to share their thoughts and embrace transparency by sharing with your team your business strategy and goals. Kind words and recognition go a long way.

Ultimately, if employees are happy, they’ll perform well…and so will your company.

Relationships can elevate your game and can be your ultimate advantage over the competition. Keep these relationships in good health and you’ll see the difference in your success.


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Jennifer Creighton is the content marketing manager at ConstructConnect and previously a writer, editor, marketer, designer, and bartender.

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