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Trade Relationships

It’s a question we face on almost every project. Our client inevitably asks: “Erin, we found this trade who appears to be cheaper. Can we use them instead?”

Whether it’s roofers, HVAC installers, or painters, businesses all over town are promoting themselves online. We have unlimited access to information and it’s easy to see why clients may question our choice of one trade or another.

Here’s the deal – I enjoy a challenge. I really do. Challenges are a natural part of life and can sometimes feel like an everyday occurrence when it comes to home construction. I love hunting down solutions and working with my team to make things right. Having said this, after reflecting on past experiences, I fully understand the risk we face when working with new tradespeople.

I also know that, when I’m working on a project, I take extreme ownership over everything that happens on site and that we get the best results when I’m working with trades I trust. Regardless, when we do call in new tradespeople, I’ve found that there are elements we look for that generally result in a strong and successful relationship.

1. Educate yourself on who the trade naturally serves. If a roofer generally serves a commercial client, there will undoubtedly be a learning curve and the first curve will include guiding this new roofer through how the residential roofing process operates. From the start, they need to know that every condition is unique and that every project requires a thoughtful attention to detail. This is the moment where you ask whether they can commit to providing that kind of service.

2. If we feel the tradesperson is up to the challenge, we agree to work through the process together with the support of extended teams. At the end of the day, the goal is to arrive at the finish line side by side with a completed project we all feel confident will stand the test of time.

3. When we hit our first road block and we WILL, I need a team who’s just as ready as I am to huddle up. We made a commitment to the homeowner and to one another, and I fully expect everyone to show up and make it right when things get tough.

4. Gratitude goes a really long way and it should flow in all directions. “Thank you” is a powerful phrase that our team uses daily and often. We see our trades as an extension of our team and we’re grateful for every problem solver at the table.

Whether it’s a new relationship or an established one, the goal is always to be present, commit to providing your very best, and to engage with gratitude.


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