The construction industry is full of issues that slow down production and lead to money lost on a project. Unfortunately, this leads to slower payments, fewer job offers, and a system that seems chronically broken. While many construction employees cite the cumbersome payment process and strict documentation requirements, a considerable amount of productivity loss actually occurs on job sites and during subcontractor communication. When several groups of contractors and subcontractors work on a single project, there are plenty of options to place blame for production delays. However, the answer isn’t usually that simple.
When various teams depend on other companies to complete tasks that prepare a site for their portion of the project, they can cross their signals and have to rearrange their schedules. Instead of a lack of motivation, the culprit delaying production in the construction industry is more likely to be a lack of communication. Luckily, with the implementation of general contractor software, contractors and subs can streamline communication and increase productivity.
4 Issues That Lead to Subcontractor Communication Breakdowns
Troubled relationships between prime contractors and subs aren’t a new concept in construction. Yet, both parties seem at a loss when it comes to solving the problems that arise during a project. To address the issues that cause communication breakdowns and disrupt productivity, it helps to investigate why they occur. These are some of the most common reasons conflicts arise between contractors and subs.
1. Legal Documentation
Contracts and other legal documents used in the construction industry are designed to provide protection for all parties involved. While it partially works, these documents can limit communication and lead to conflicts. Documents delay production in these ways.
- Contracts with clauses to protect different parties can be conflicting and limit communication between multiple teams working on the same project.
- Lien Waivers can protect subcontractors from late or failed payments, but they can also cause conflicts that impede communication and cause work delays.
- Change orders must be approved before associated purchases can be made or work completed. Missed points of contact can delay signatures and lead to downtime.
2. Poor Scheduling
Subcontractors often have specialized skill sets, making them essential for completing a variety of projects. But when the schedules of multiple teams don’t correlate, it wastes time. If a subcontractor shows up to complete a job and the site isn’t ready for that portion of the project, time and money are lost. Prime contractors should be able to contact subs to coordinate schedules and communicate delays.
3. Missing Paperwork
Pay apps are an essential part of the payment process, but they can slow down more than just the payroll process. Missing change orders or manual mistakes within pay apps usually means the process must be repeated. When documents are delayed, payments that fund the next portion of the project aren’t available. While the nature of construction billing is complicated, a scattered payroll process can create a cycle of delays on a project, chronically delaying production.
4. Lack of Subcontractor Communication Options
Communication in the field has always had complications. While email and mobile phones can ease some of the burdens, they can also create compliance issues. Personal devices can allow contractors and subs to have casual conversations on the job site. But they often fail to have the proper security measures for sharing sensitive or legal documentation. This means site workers often put off essential communications until the end of the workday, potentially limiting the tasks your teams can complete in one day.
Eliminate Communication Issues with General Contractor Software
When contractors answered questions about the reasons for low productivity, 62% cited poor communication and coordination as a leading factor. But with the right technology, you can eliminate many of these issues. General contractor software works to automate the payment process and eliminate much of the miscommunication between general contractors and subcontractors. Consider these ways that construction billing software improves the flow of subcontractor communication and increases productivity.
Billing Software Provides Benefits for General Contractors
As a general contractor, you know the value of qualified subcontractors working on any project you win. Hiring subs is typically cheaper than onboarding more team members, and these companies specialize in services you need performed. However, miscommunication and billing errors cost you time and affect the profits of a job. The ability to have transparent communication, as well as knowing how to improve your construction billing process, offers a new way to increase productivity and improve relationships with subcontractors. Flashtract is a construction billing software that addresses these issues for general contractors, who can use the tool to:
- Predefine contract amounts and retainage forms to make contracts transparent and easy to understand.
- Automatically remind subs to complete billing documents so they complete pay apps on time.
- Eliminate subcontractor billing for unapproved change orders.
- Electronically sign documents for speedy approvals that keep work moving forward.
- Manage built-in compliance controls to keep all workers safe and help you avoid fines.
- Complete an easy setup within two hours.
Billing Software Improves the Working Experience for Subcontractors
Technology does more than create an easier situation for general contractors. It improves many of the processes for subcontractors, as well. As a general contractor, creating an easier process for subs is a win/win. When the documentation and billing processes of a project naturally provide transparent subcontractor communication, everyone knows what to expect. This can lead to better pricing, improved relationships, and improved productivity. Subcontractors gain these benefits when using Flashtract as their construction billing software. Users can:
- Simply enter project data for the automatic generation of AIA-style pay apps.
- Use automatic checks for math errors and other common billing mistakes to fix minor errors that delay payments.
- Set up reminders to submit pay apps on time with software that tells you what, when, and where to submit.
- Get started in just one hour and have a 100% subcontractor adoption rate.
Communication between general contractors and subs is about more than team meetings and on-site instructions. Much of the information passed between teams and back-office personnel comes in the form of official documents. Billing software designed for general contractors can automatically generate transparent communication and improve relationships between general contractors and subs. Improve your productivity by implementing easy-to-use construction billing software with Flashtract.