Trust in a Client-Contractor Relationship

“Trust is equal parts character and competence... You can look at any leadership failure, and it's always a failure of one or the other.” – Stephan M. R. Covey, The Speed of Trust

What is the most important business asset you manage? Most leaders, particularly in construction, might say it’s their people, their relationships, their expertise, their safety culture, or the way they operate their business. One might argue that the underlying asset that is behind all of these very important things is trust.

The interesting thing about trust is you can’t buy it. A company must earn it every day. Operating your business with a culture of trustworthiness shows that you seek accountability and transparency. Every interaction you have is an opportunity to build and nurture trust. Eventually, your brand and its people behind it either reflect that or it doesn’t.

After all, trust is about making a human connection. The common thing between all clients and contractors is that they’re run by people and people are not perfect. When people consistently make the effort to be authentic, transparent, and committed, the brand they represent becomes trustworthy and genuine. Even when people make mistakes – and we all do – being trustworthy and genuine includes owning up to it and moving forward.

When the trust in a client-contractor relationship is there, people feel eager and willing to depend on each other. They contribute by sharing a purpose and regularly offering their talent, energy, and honest thoughts with each other. When it isn’t there, they reserve that energy and hold back from engaging with each other.

When customers first look at which contractor to hire for a project, they examine their level of experience and what it will cost for them to do it. However, matching the ability and level of experience needed with a contractor you trust can make all the difference.

We recently asked our employees what solutions they believe Helmkamp offers to ease our customers’ pain points. Every employee included trust in their answers in the ways of:

  • “Honesty”
  • “Transparency”
  • “Integrity”
  • “We’re easy to work with”
  • “We listen to them”
  • “We look out for their interests”
  • “We’re competent”

Our customers also voiced the value of trust in our relationship with them in these ways:

  • “Helmkamp has been our trusted partner for many years on capital projects and turnaround jobs. My team recognizes and appreciates the experience and professionalism that Helmkamp provides.”
  • “What a good job Helmkamp is doing here! It must be nice to have the leadership of your crafts that you can trust and rely on.”
  • “It has been a pleasure working with Helmkamp throughout the years. I have always held Helmkamp in the highest regard. Partnering is a buzzword people tend to banter about, but we practiced that concept in its truest form. Throughout the years we have established a level of trust that few owners/contractors enjoy. Friendship, trust, and quality are the keys to our successful relationship.”

Trust is important in any relationship, but particularly when it’s a relationship between you and the people responsible for completing a multi-million-dollar project. One of the easiest ways to build trust is to involve your contractor from the very beginning. Early involvement allows your contractor to EARN your trust. If a contractor is interested in a true partnership with you, they will listen to your needs, offer options and expertise that help guide you to your goals, and provide you with a useful ally to make even the most complex project much easier for you.

We have built many trusted relationships with employees, clients, subcontractors, and industry friends in our 80+ year history. We appreciate the mutual respectability that has come with these successful relationships over time.

For those who might not know us very well yet, allowing Helmkamp to become familiar with you and your organization is one way to begin investing in a trusted relationship. Let us know if you are in the early stages of planning a project where we might learn more about you. In between projects? We’re always happy to arrange a “get to know you better” visit at our office or yours and sincerely look forward to you taking us up on that!

Helmkamp believes that aligning an organization’s needs and goals with a general contractor’s character and competence is key to optimizing a trusted client-contractor relationship and the outcome of any project. Do you?