Olive & Umber began in 2014 as a small business. Headed up by Tom & Claire, our humble beginnings started out with Tom on site accompanied by an apprentice, so our network of subcontractors and suppliers needed to be watertight in order for Tom & Claire to be able to make it work.

So, how do we choose which suppliers or subcontractors to work with?

The most basic answer we can give would be through trial and error. We have incredibly strong feelings towards not judging a book by its cover, so we’re absolutely open to trying anybody out on a project. However, saying this, it’s also very important for us to make sure that our standards and high-quality workmanship promise is upheld, so we’ll never shy away from trying to get the best out of people.

By working this way for so many years, we definitely have our “go-to’s” where we’ve created a strong relationship with certain suppliers and subcontractors meaning we will always turn to them from the first instance, usually there will be multiple that we can consider but if they’re unavailable or unable to complete the task, that’s when we go on the hunt for a new contact!

There are a few ways we can do this, depending on if we’re looking for a supplier or a subcontractor, we may take a different route.

For a supplier, we tend to ask for recommendations and look to word of mouth. If for whatever reason our main contacts aren’t able to complete a job for us, we’ll ask them who they can recommend. Not only does this reaffirm that we trust the supplier we usually use, but it also puts the ball in their court too. We’ve expressed that we appreciate their work and that’s where our expectations lie, so who do they think can offer a similar level of service? The construction industry is actually very helpful towards one another, we’re always happy to offer advice or recommendation because we all understand the importance of timeframe and quality. 

If all else fails, Google will be our friend! We’ll run a few searches and conduct a few enquiries to get a feel for how the company communicates and ease of purchase. If all checks out our Operations team will make the decision on which new supplier to try out. Best case scenario we’ve found a new contact to add to our network of suppliers! If the work is of standard, we’d have no issues with recommending our new supplier to anyone that asks. Recommendations work both ways!

What do we do when it comes to subcontractors?

Much like with our trusted suppliers, we also have a little black book of subcontractors that we trust. It’s a list of trades people that we know can get the job done in a timely manner without compromising on quality. It’s very important for any construction company to have a few aces up their sleeve when it comes to subcontractor contacts, especially for skilled trades such as tilers, plumbers, electricians etc. 

Again, similarly to suppliers, we’ll source new leads via recommendations, word of mouth and online. Much like anyone looking for a specialist tradesperson, we’ve been known to use Trust-a-trader and Check-a-trade too, it can be an incredibly valuable and useful source when our usual people aren’t able to help and has been a great tool for us in building great new relationships. Using websites like this allows us to view work beforehand along with some customer testimonials, this way we can get a feel for how they work. It’s also a good way to be able to see how far a certain tradesperson will travel for work, we’re based in Wansford Peterborough, but we take on projects all over England including Cambridge, Stamford, Leicestershire and London.

We’re always on the lookout for new, reliable contacts too, as much like most other industries, the construction industry also has a busy period where availability is tight, which can have an adverse effect on lead-times. 

Hopefully, this explains a little bit how O&U chooses their suppliers and subcontractors. When you work with O&U we offer the benefit of access to our contacts too, whether that’s through working on a project with us or if you were to take advantage of our Consultancy offer, we’re always happy to share recommendations with our clients.

If you would like to find out how O&U can help you, why not send us an email? You can reach us at info@olive-umber.co.uk and one of our team will be in contact to discuss your plans and next steps. 

Home Renovations - Work in Progress

Where We Operate: Olive and Umber are building contractors based in Peterborough providing design and build service for home renovation, house extensions, loft conversions, plumbing services and new builds across the UK including LondonOakhamHuntingdon, Northampton, Corby, Kettering, Cambridge, Wisbech, Ely and more.