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How to Find Contractors for Your Fix & Flip Renovations:
Having trouble finding a good contractor for your fix & flip project? A reputable and skilled general contractor and other sub-contractors will have busy schedules and can be hard to find. Here are some tips on finding skilled contractors for your fix & flips.
First things first! Do you need a general contractor or sub-contractors?
The answer to this question will depend on your qualifications, experience and/or involvement in the project. Assuming you are not doing any of the major rehab work yourself and are not a General Contractor, you can either hire a General Contractor (GC) or sub-contractors to do the work. Perhaps, your renovations are mostly superficial work and cosmetic— then you can likely do the work yourself. If everything is cosmetic but you have some plumbing issues or need a new roof, then you can most likely get away with just hiring a plumber or a roofer. However, if there are more extensive renovations that start getting into the structure or foundation of the property, then it’s time to find that GC
Tips on finding skilled contractors:
It goes without being said, but in the spirit of diligence, the number one tip is to use referrals. Working with contractors that either come highly recommended to you by other contractors that you have worked with in the past or other colleagues who have hired them, will give you useful information. Referrals can speak to not only the contractors final work product, but also how the smooth the process went and if they stayed on budget and on schedule.
If you don’t have referrals from either of those sources, the next best place to ask would be your local Real Estate Investor Clubs like FIBI (For Investors by Investors). You can find your local chapter meetings online at meetup.com. Investor clubs connect you with other investors, lenders and even contractors directly, so that you can network for those recommendations. A good question to ask when getting a referral is if the investor has worked with that contractor more than once. That can give you a clearer picture of how the contractor performed.
If you can’t make it to an investor club meeting or you are in a crunch and need to find a contractor ASAP, then there are a few reputable websites you can refer to. Blair O’Brien (PCG’s Senior Vice President of Originations and an experienced flipper herself) suggests to use Houzz because you can see their previous work and they have accountability. Some other online resources include, Thumbtack, Angie’s List, Bigger Pockets, and Connected Investors.
If you are flying a bit blind and had to find someone online, ask them for references and to include before and after photos. When calling references make sure you not only ask about the finished product but bring up budgeting and timelines.
Now, that you have decided on a GC or sub-contractors and found a few to interview, make sure you shop around and get a few different bids. Keep in mind, that you get what you pay for. Going for the lowest bid is not always going to be the best business decision because it can cost you time and money down the road. Materials and labor are variable costs but within reason. As a good rule of thumb, make sure that you are comparing the line items not just the price. Some contractors might leave some things off. As a good measure I would get at least three quotes to compare and see if one of them is much higher or lower, which should immediately raise a red flag for you. Ensure you are also aware of the timeframe in which the project is expected to take, including how many days a week they will be working on the project.
Happy hunting and in the meantime if you need some additional resources check out our blog!