Relationship between GC and Subcontractor

December 13, 2021 | Author: Abraham Gandl


GC and Subcontractor to partner as a team!

Relationship between GCs and Subcontractors is critical to the success of the project. We all know this to be true. So why in some cases the relationship between them is so … broken?

Sometimes Subcontractors and GCs seem to forget that they’re on the same team. Every challenge, every conversation, has an “Us vs Them” mentality. That approach doesn’t work when we are trying to solve a problem collaboratively. There is much more firepower when both parties work together to solve and OWN the problem and solution.

Lack of trust

Subs are tired of being left in the dark with long sales cycles, schedule delays, late payment terms. They’re sick of getting burned on change orders. They are cash-strapped from having to outlay a tremendous amount of money in order to start their projects only to then be judged or even ridiculed for not being financially strong.

GCs are tired of subs selling themselves as one thing, only to reveal themselves as quite another when the work starts. It’s a bait-and-switch that never works out for anyone, and leaves GCs in a bind they have to race to solve.

Lack of transparency

When you don’t trust someone has your best interest at heart, and you aren’t taking the time to consider the situation from that other person’s perspective, you naturally start to close off. Human Nature 101.

You protect your interests. You don’t share all the details. You definitely don’t show vulnerability. You create an Us vs Them scenario and everyone loses.

Lack of performance

GCs and Subs both have to deliver on what they say they will do. You do NOT have to agree to do something you know you cannot accomplish, but you do need to keep the promises you make to others and keep them updated on any changes. Accountability is the name of the game. You need to be someone that can be counted on.

Here’s the thing: In order to improve GC/Sub Relationships, we need ALL of those—trust, empathy, transparency, vulnerability, and performance.

The interesting part is that most of the GCs and Subcontractors are all really good people. They believe in doing the right thing, in helping each other out, in getting the job done right. They also want more for their industry and their own projects. They want the things they can control to be better.

They all (or at least most of qualified contractors) know that communication is important, and that communication between GCs and subcontractors, as an industry norm, needs to be improved.

So What's the Solution to fix this ?

By just changing our mindset from client vs vendor, "Us versus Them" mentality to an extraordinary equal partnership running for the same goals. That will change everything.

Guess what, The challenges that a GC vs Owners are facing in terms of long sales cycles, schedule delays, payment terms, bad reputation etc. That all applies the same to a subcontractor and they should not be treated like it doesn't apply to them. We all know that subcontractors are not banks, they also need to forecast profits and cash flow, it costs them labor for any extra use of their people's time. By understanding and working together as a team much better outcomes are happening

The final Solution for GCs, Subcontractors, Service Partners, Material Suppliers, and anyone else serving the construction industry—to take a pledge to have an open conversation between of them to share their values and partners as a team so they can experience more effective results by:

SHOWING UP. Come to every conversation with fresh eyes focused on whatever YOUR PART is in fixing the problem. Make sure your actions, big and small, move the needle on the issues impacting the project, the other stakeholders on that project, and the entire construction industry. Bring solutions.

STEPPING UP. Do the right thing for everyone involved, every time. Offer help when and where you can. Get proactive about working with others to solve the big challenges impacting the project.

RISING UP. Doing your part is about more than your own success. Your business is a catalyst for change. Look for opportunities to improve the industry as a whole.


Our passion at HNL Kitchens & Bath Multi Family Solutions, is to change the old behaviors between subs and GCs by joining as a team to brainstorm any possible obstacles that can damage on a project and implement solutions to avoid them so they can finish their project on time and on budget with peace of mind.



We love working with people who appreciate communication, Passion, results, and peace of mind. The accomplishments are sky high where this can take to.