In helping so many real estate investors with their house renovations, I keep getting asked about contractors, and where do I find the ones that I use.
What are the qualities that I am looking for, and where the unicorn contractors are located?
You know…the contractors that provide the quickest response, they provide the best quality of work and they charge “peanuts” for their services.
I have a Rolodex full of these types of guys…NOT!
Over the last 30 years of working as a general contractor, I have learned that there are three qualities that you can use to value all contractors. First, it is the amount of time that it will take a contractor to complete their specific work in a project.
For example, my electricians will come to a house renovation twice. They are usually one of the first to arrive at the start of the project to do certain work within the walls of the house, and then they come at the end to complete the finishes like the installation of light fixtures.
It is important to know how quickly that electrician can come to your project, and complete the work. If they are a smaller operation, then they will probably need to finish a particular project that they are working on, before they can come to yours. This is important to know when you are scheduling, as a lot of time can be lost.
Second, it is the level of quality that can be provided to the project. Not all contractors are good at what they do. This could be due to a lack of experience, or the lack of up to date equipment to perform a quality job.
Understanding the level of quality provided by a contractor is important in the evaluation process of determining whether this contractor is best suited for the particular project that you have. How important is the quality of work in your personal home versus a rental property that you own?
The third quality to consider when evaluating a contractor, of course, is the price. This is self-explanatory and often is the determining factor in deciding which contractor to use in your project.
I just want to warn you that money is always important, but be careful in how it influences your decision on the choice of contractor. There have been many times where I have traded time and quality over the subject of price, and I have lost.
There are certain projects where paying more money for quality and quickness, greatly outweighs the cost savings.
Now…everyone wants contractors that are the quickest in service, that provide work at the best quality and that come at the cheapest prices. Unfortunately, there are no contractors that are able to give you high marks on all three qualities. Two out of three is what you will learn to shoot for…but never three!!!
It just isn’t possible.
That unicorn that you are looking for is the holy grail for everyone in the renovation business. There will be contractors who will come and get pretty close. You will use them for a renovation and they give you everything that you wanted. They will come in when you tell them too, and they will give you great quality work and their price will be the best that you have received from the others.
But trust me…it won’t last.
This great contractor…This unicorn…will quickly gallop off into the sunset.
You see…we all are looking for that great contractor and they will quickly get bogged down with work from other clients. Everything that made them such a great trade will quickly evaporate.
The unicorn will quickly turn into that ugly frog on your next renovation. You won’t know it, until you cross your fingers and kiss it again with the hopes that it will turn into that perfect contractor again.
Trust me…this frog will not be turning into Prince Charming, but will just be another ugly frog, that looks like the other ugly frogs in that swamp of contractors and trades.
Rank what is most important to you, and find the contractor that has those qualities. If you are going to have a renovation on a rental property, I would imagine that the cost and time spent, will be qualities that will rank higher than the level of workmanship.
If you are working on your own home, then you will most likely be looking for a contractor that can produce a higher level of quality finish. These are all factors that will play a part in deciding which contractor to use.
So…stop kissing those frogs!!!
For more information on house renovations and real estate investing, visit VanSturgeon.com to help you in your real estate investment journey.