5 ways to improve relationships with your construction material vendors

Construction professional talking in the framing of a building

Developing loyal working relationships with your material vendors is critical to your success in a competitive construction industry. The first step is establishing trust. A solid foundation of trust will increase your vendor’s confidence in you as a business partner.

Having those established vendor relationships will help your business secure reliable, high-quality products, negotiate better prices and influence your ability to accomplish goals. It can also lead to better communication, improved customer service and greater collaboration between your business and its suppliers.

Here are five ways to improve your relationships with material vendors.

1. Make payments on time

Paying vendors on time isn’t always a high priority – but it should be. There should be no excuses for late payments.

Especially in the construction industry, paying material vendors on time is essential for maintaining good relationships. On-time payments will lead to perks such as better pricing and priority service. It also helps to ensure that you have a reliable supply chain and avoids potential late fees or legal issues.

You can ensure on-time payments to your preferred local vendors by creating processes for better cash flow management. One of the easiest ways to do this is by implementing a financial platform like QuickBooks integrated with project management software like Buildertrend. Having everything organized and accessible in one place with the ability to set reminders will keep you on track.

2. Prioritize clear communication

Communication can improve supplier relationships by increasing transparency, trust and understanding between parties. Both parties can better align expectations, identify potential issues early on and work collaboratively to find solutions. Here are some tips for how to ensure effective communication:

  • Determine a communication hierarchy: Communication hierarchy refers to the order of authority and channels of communication within an organization. This will ensure effective communication and decision-making.
  • Be an active listener: Whether it’s with your team, subcontractors, clients or material vendors, ensuring you’re hearing their terms and needs is essential to clear ongoing communication.
  • Establish systems and processes: Once you have your hierarchy established, you’ll want to put in place methods of communication that work best for your team. This may include implementing project management software, so everything is documented in one place.

Improved processes, increased efficiency and a more productive working relationship are all possible with clear communication.

3. Take advantage of construction software

Another way to help improve supplier relationships is by using construction software. Although you may assume technology is only managing your projects, it’s actually a great way to give visibility to your vendors. Having your master schedule planned with tech will give you a resource to help you when you have meetings. It provides transparency and allows vendors to see what projects you have coming up and better prepare the materials you need.

Tech also helps promote streamlined communication, reduces errors and delays and provides real-time updates. That all leads to better collaboration and helps to maintain the trust you’ve built with your vendors.

4. Become a builder of choice

Having strong relationships with your local vendors is not only good for you – it’s good for them, too. Vendors want to establish a partnership with organized builders who pay on time because it makes their lives easier.

You can become a builder of choice by:

  • Paying your vendors on time, every time
  • Having established, organized processes
  • Committing to a set number of projects

Being a builder of choice offers perks like taking priority over other contractors, having the opportunity to negotiate better deals and avoiding late payment interest fees.

5. Work with CBUSA’s group purchasing organization

As a home builder, working with CBUSA’s group purchasing organization can give you direct access to the top local suppliers in your area. You’ll also have the help of our team to form and manage vendor relationships – so you can focus on the day to day of running your business.

Our members have the opportunity to save on product and material prices through rebates and committed buys and are prioritized over other contractors. Vendors know we work with the best construction professionals in the nation, and to put it simply, they love working with our builders.

“We don’t have to question builders who come into CBUSA,” said Chris Hayes, sales representative at Fox Building Company. “We know they’ve been vetted. They’re going to pay on time, they build a quality home, and they’re probably respected in the market.”

Do you want to improve your vendor relationships?

As a member of CBUSA, you’ll have access to our network of preferred local vendors. You’ll also enjoy other perks like:

  • Optimized material planning and purchasing
  • The best deals on the best brands
  • Valuable time saved on negotiating

At CBUSA, we partner with the best suppliers, manufacturers and brand partners who prioritize our builders and get them what they need. Inquire about membership today and start experiencing the benefits.

About The Author

Chelsea Cole

Chelsea Cole Chelsea Cole is a senior content marketing specialist at Buildertrend