5 Ways To Help Find The Best Contractor For Your Rehab
If investing in rehab properties is your focus a quality contractor is essential. A good contractor will improve your bottom line and help get your projects done as quickly as possible. Conversely a poor contractor will make every day on the property feel like a nightmare. As wonderful as finding the right contractor is it doesn’t happen overnight. It is not uncommon to go through several contractors before you find one that you feel comfortable with. When you do you need to treat them like gold and do everything you can to enhance the relationship. Until you get to that point you need to vet new contractors like anyone else you work with. Here are five tips to help you find the best contractor for you.
- Get Three Quotes Minimum. Blindly jumping into a commitment with a new contractor is a recipe for disaster. Even if you got their name from a friend of a friend you need to do your homework. As a rule of thumb you should get at least three quotes before moving forward with anyone. In a perfect world you would have a project that needs something in the near future. If not you can refer to a previous property and ask for an estimate. Provide your contractors with before pictures of the work needed and get an itemized estimate. With anyone that works for you there is a fine line between price and quality. When rehabbing quality is always important so a higher estimate should not be immediately dismissed. You are looking more for transparency than anything else. If everything they need is covered in the estimate you know you have someone you can trust. Never commit to a contractor without getting at least three quotes first.
- Referrals/Previous Projects. Receiving a quote is a good starting point but you also need to know some of the previous work your prospective contractor has done. You can’t be afraid to ask for referrals and examples of some previous projects. With referrals you should reach out to them and ask more about character than any work done. Did they show up when they said they would? Were they accommodating to everyone else on the project? The finished product can be subjective at times but character is usually unquestioned. A good contractor with some experience probably has a book of past projects readily available. Take a look and make sure that the work matches the market you buy in and what you may need done. Make a list of questions and ask your contractor anything that is on your mind. It is also important to ask about availability and scheduling. Your new contractor may be great but if they are booked solid for months they won’t be much good to you. The more you know about your contractor the less chance of any misunderstandings.
- Discuss Communication. By nature most real estate investors are micromanagers. They want to know exactly what is going on and who is doing it at all times. This may not always work best with your contractor. Nobody likes people constantly looking over their shoulder watching them work. It is important that you discuss what the preferred method of communication is before you get started. As the property owner you have every right to want to know what is going on. A good contractor should be open to text or email updates every few days. They should also have the technology to provide video upon request. Not only does this provide an instant update but it saves you from going to the property either to feed your curiosity or to resolve an issue. Different contractors work in different ways. Find out how your contractor plans on communicating with you.
- Think Long Term. In a perfect world you and your contractor will work hand in hand for the next several years. While you shouldn’t commit to the long term after your first interview you should always have a long term vision in the back of your mind. Having this mindset allows you to focus more on cultivating a relationship rather than just finding someone to get the next project completed. A strong contractor relationship allows you to ask for favors or get things rushed on occasion. It allows you to focus more on other areas of your business rather than wondering what is going on at the property. By asking more about their personal life and their goals you will build the relationship past one project.
- Laws And License. Your prospective contractor can be the greatest person in the world but if they don’t know the local laws or have a license you need to find someone else. There are many investors who have ruined their business by working with contractors who are not licensed or uninsured. Trying to save a few dollars can end up costing your thousands if there is an unexpected issue on a property. You are responsible for everyone that works on a property you own. Without a license or insurance you should immediately find someone else regardless of price or personality. They should also be familiar with local zoning laws and understand which permits are needed.
The right contractor will not just fall on your lap. There is always some amount of trial and error before you find the best fit for you.