Real Estate Renovations: Are You Driving Yourself Crazy Dealing with Contractors?

June 20, 2008 | By | 5 Replies More

Are You Driving Yourself Crazy Dealing with Contractors?Oh the joy of dealing with contractors! Where to begin?

Some experts might say, “They don’t call them ‘CON-tractors’ for nothing. I would never say such harsh things about these wonderful hard working Americans, but I can see where this area of the business could be a little frustrating. Over the years, we have honed our team down to a few trustworthy experts in their given trades, but it took quite some time to find them. So, I’m going to give you a few sure fire proven tips to cut out as much B.S. as possible in choosing your contractors carefully.

  1. Ask for Referrals! Talk to other successful rehabbers in your area, and see who they are using to do their jobs or who they would refer. Ask about their experiences with these people, how long they’ve used them, the quality of their work, if they could be counted on, etc… (If you are going to use another investor’s crew it is proper etiquette in the real estate world to ask the investor first, as they may have other projects lined up for them).
  2. Don’t Always Accept the Cheapest Bid! We’ve all heard, “You get what you pay for. Sometime good quality just costs a little more. I know investors don’t want to hear that. They also don’t want to deal with managing the type of renovation they just signed up for. I spoke with a friend a few months ago (who hasn’t been through our real estate investment training) who hired these guys to pull up carpet and lay down some hard wood floors for her because they were $85.00 cheaper than they guys that people referred to her. Well, needless to say, 60 days past estimated completion date and $10,000 over budget later, she realized why she should have gone with the other guys. Often times, contractors in need of work will outbid others to get a job. Why do you think the contractor is in need of work in the first place?
  3. Know Who Your Dealing With. Get an application from them with all their information including but now limited to; driver’s license number, current address where they live, all of their phone numbers, previous jobs and clients they have worked with. Get a photocopy of everybody’s ID who is going to be on the job.
  4. Call Their Previous Clients! Not only the three that they give you, but the last three jobs they completed. See what their clients thought of them. Did they do a good job? Did they finish on time? Did any unpleasant surprises pop up in the process?
  5. Document Absolutely Everything in Writing. Make sure that you have your agreement in writing with a “Scope of Work” attached outlining exactly what is to be done, what you are being charged, date by which work is to be done, and the penalties if the job isn’t finished on time.

How do I know this? By learning from years of heartburn dealing with problem contractors. Put these ideas into play immediately in your renovation business, and you will save yourself time, worry, and a whole heap of money!

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Category: Rehabbing

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  1. Tage says:

    Last summer, my neighbor hired some “inexpensive” contractors to paint his house. He was happy with the price he paid for them, however, a couple weeks into the job, they left, and he ended up having to paint a lot of it himself. It really does pay to do some research, and maybe even pay the premium!

  2. Dusty Keefe says:

    That’s right Tage. Even worse, my friend who went with the cheapest bid to put her hardwoods down got robbed by these people. They didn’t finish the job, they charged upfront way too much, they took forever and then the took her jewelry box on the way out…all over an $85 difference in the bids. So, it really pays to do a little research about who you hire to work on your jobs.

  3. aturner says:

    #5 sticks out to me. Documenting everything in writing is a great tip! When problems arise, as they always do, all you have to do is refer to the paperwork.

    Do this and alleviate yourself of future hassles and headaches. Well worth the effort!

  4. Daniel says:

    I read similar article also named tate Renovations: Are You Driving Yourself Crazy Dealing with Contractors?, and it was completely different. Personally, I agree with you more, because this article makes a little bit more sense for me

  5. Great Tips! And unfortunately, you can work with a contractor smoothly 4 times, and that 5th can be a doozy. So make sure that you get your contracts in writing Every time…
    .-= Brooks – TheSouthernInvestor´s last blog ..Psychology of a Double Close in Wholesaling Houses =-.