Over the last years, many companies have shifted from internal employees to remote teams to benefit from global talent and external expertise.

But finding the right contractor for projects is not the easiest of tasks. Once you were lucky enough to put together a talented distributed team, the next step is to build a relationship. The same is true for contractors who want to keep their clients for a longer period of time.

That is why we have put together 5 things both companies and contractors can do to build a long-term relationship.

1. Exchange feedback an a regular basis

For many contractors, receiving feedback for their work is an essential part of their job. Clients approve jobs or request changes. Active reviews are important to understand the customer’s needs and to improve their service.

But feedback should not be a one-way street.

Businesses can also benefit from feedback concerning their briefings, comments, or general input. Explaining what could be improved can save a lot of time for both parties and create more open communication.

Relationships are always work, whether they are personal or work-related and constructive criticism is a big part of developing any lasting relationship.

2. Reply to your emails

This might sound trivial, but in fact many people forget to reply to their emails in a timely manner. This is true for both clients and independent contractors. Whether it’s taking several days to reply to a question or simply acknowledging that you have received an email with important documents, we are probably all guilty of not accurately responding to an email.

But especially when email communication is such a crucial part of the relationship, both sides should make the effort to respond to questions and to send thanks for input within less than two days.

Writing an email oftentimes doesn’t take longer than a couple of minutes. But investing this extra time can lead to a long-lasting and highly valued working relationship.

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3. Be professional when it comes to money

It’s not easy to talk about money. It is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people and especially asking about late payments can be tormenting for both parties.

So, there are more than enough reasons for clients to take care of payments as soon as possible and openly communicate potential delays with their remote workers.

Independent contractors on the other hand should try to send invoices in a timely manner and clearly state a deadline for the payment. If the date has come and gone without any incoming payments, it is time to politely remind your customers. But try not to send too many emails before the deadline asking about your payment.

Handling invoices and payments discreetly and professionally can build a lot of trust for both parties and make an extended working relationship even more satisfying.

4. Share information

Even if it is not part of the actual project, sharing information with your client or contractor can help build a long-term relationship. Whether it’s a competitor’s new campaign or a social media platform updating their algorithm, sharing knowledge and information establishes a level of trust.

This little extra service doesn’t cost much apart from time and it shows a general willingness to be successful within the working arrangement. Because at the end of the day, both clients and contractors share the same goal: a successful outcome of the project.

In addition to that, the contractors receive a little extra appreciation and clients get a little more for their money. A win-win situation!

5. It’s okay to have non-work-related conversations

Of course, being polite and professional is key to a successful working relationship between contractors and customers. But don’t forget to have a bit of small talk in between.

Sharing personal experiences and opinions is a good way to shape a relationship between two people and having a chat with your colleagues in the office is just as much a part of your workday as checking emails.

Just because you are not at the same location, doesn’t mean you can’t have this type of exchange. You just have to use your phone or your emails for it.

However, there is a difference between a meaningful exchange and empty phrases and platitudes. Take the time to actually get to know the other person. These small little talks have the potential to become the foundation of a long-lasting successful relationship between clients and contractors.