So you’ve got the perfect property just waiting to be rehabbed and sold on the retail market. The only problem is, you don’t plan on doing the work yourself and don’t have a general contractor.
The best way to find a general contractor for your job is to get referrals from other real estate investors in the area. You want someone who’s reliable, insured, and has a crew available for your rehab.
After you get the information of a recommended contractor, do your DUE DILIGENCE!!!
Otherwise, time and money might be wasted when you realize they weren’t right for the job.
Before we get too far along, let’s break down different types of contractors.
Handymen need to be managed the most. The majority of handymen don’t carry insurance, are paid daily or weekly, and will tell you they can do more than they have actually have experience in.
If you have some minor work that needs to be done, get a few referrals from other real estate investors. Provide them with a detailed scope of work and check in as needed to make sure the project is on track.
These guys are usually really good at their particular niche but are limited in everything else related to the rehab. Many times they’ll have a small crew and are easily accessible. In most cases, they have their own tools and are properly insured.
They’re perfect if you only have plumbing or electrical or painting, for example. If your project is small, a few of these contractors might be all you need.
General contractors, many times, are overseeing the specialty contractors and handymen. They do some of the work but largely are managing the job site to make sure everything is being done properly.
A benefit of having a general contractor is that you don’t have to be as hands-on. Typically, they take care of paying the subcontractors, order the supplies, and handle day-to-day operations.
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you want to ask.
You should be asking them questions to make sure they’re right for that property.
Here’s a short list of the main things you should know about the contractor you choose to hire.
- Are you properly insured?
- Do you have different sets of crew (and what’s their availability)?
- Some general contractors have 1 crew (meaning they’re able to work on 1 project at a time) while others might have multiple sets of crew that are on different job sites.
- Have you done this type of project before?
- Ask for references and details such as the time it took to complete the project, what was the budget, how was it different, etc.
- Do you personally do any of the work?
- If they’re doing a lot of the work, they aren’t able to manage the rest of the crew at the same time.
- Do you have upcoming projects scheduled?
- Do you have reputable references?
- Ask for recent client referrals.
- How far away do you live from your property?
- If they’re far away, it’s wasted time that they aren’t checking in on your property.
- This isn’t a question, but observe their communication with you in the very beginning. Are they answering your calls (or calling right back)? If they aren’t communicating well with you now, they most likely won’t be communicating with you (in the way you need) during the rehab.
In general, you want someone who has a full schedule but still has the available time for your project. If they’re busy, it means they’re good at what they do and are getting referrals and repeat work. Be careful that they aren’t overextending their crew so they can squeeze in another job, though.
Everything should be written down in a detailed manner. The scope of work should be broken down extensively so you know the cost of everything (not that the kitchen will cost $4k overall and you have no idea where the money is going inside the kitchen).
Do your due diligence and hire someone who knows that they’re doing and come recommended from other real estate investors in the area.
Ask everything you want to ask. If you have a concern, voice it before the project is started.
Ron Carlson has 2 REI Classroom lessons over red flags with contractors. Head over and watch the full videos: