The relationship you have with your contractor has a direct impact on your investing business. Subsequently, there are way too many horror stories of investors working with bad contractors, or even contractors that aren’t right for the job. There are little things that you can do that will make a huge difference in whether or not your contractor works out well for your business. Of course you want to make sure you hire the right contractor, but there are certain ways to go about it. If you work at maintaining a good relationship with your contractor, you never know when it will pay off in the future.
Even though you are paying your contractor to work, you should put some time in to make their job as easy as possible. Instead of having the attitude that you are paying good money and you can find someone else to do the job, you should take the approach that you want to work with one contractor for a long time. This means creating a work environment that is pleasant and easily understood. Some of the biggest confusion and disagreements between investors and contractors comes from not having the same vision or being on the same page with the work that needs to be done. Before anything else, you should spell out what your goals are, what your budget is and in what time-frame you want everything completed. This sounds easy enough, but the more you can get out of the way before the first tool is lifted, the smoother the process will be.
It is also a good idea to get as much non-contractor work out of the way as possible. Many investors are lazy and think that your contractor is a do it all guy and can take care of everything. Even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean they necessarily want to. If you have demo work, call a separate team to come in and clean the place out before you get there. If there is going to be multiple people in the property at once, ask your contractor first what their priority is and what people they can work around. This doesn’t mean you can’t get your point across and get the work you need done, but if you show simple courtesy you will start to establish a relationship.
Once the work has begun, you should try your best to just stay out of the way. No contractor likes to be micromanaged or told how to do something. If you trust your contractor enough to hire them for a job, you should back off and let them work. You have every right to visit your projects as you see fit, but you don’t need to critique every area of everything that is being done. Spend the time before the work is started and go through the time-frame for payments and the rest of the work schedule. The more you can get out of the way before you start, the smoother things will be.
The single most important item for anyone doing work is how they are going to get paid. This is the source of most disagreement between contractors and investors. If you have to make your contractor wait to get paid; do you really think they are going to work with you again? A good idea is to set up a payment schedule for when work is completed. This can be the first Friday after it is done or a set date assuming things are completed. You need to be firm with your payments and not nickel and dime your contractors. You can ruin or enhance your reputation solely based on how efficiently you pay your contractors.
There are also little things that you can do to make yourself stand out from the investing crowd. If you know you are going to be at the property in the morning, grab coffee and breakfast for everyone on the job. If you are coming around lunch you can grab a couple of sandwiches or offer to pay for lunch. You don’t need to do these things and some would argue that you are slowing down their efficiency, but an argument can be made that this will serve to make your contractor happy and want to work harder for you. There are many investors in your area. Doing little things like this will keep you in mind the next time you need a favor.
You never know when you will need your contractor to meet you at a new property in a few hours or rush a job for you. If you don’t do the little things throughout the year, you can bet you will have a difficult time. A loyal and productive contractor can go a long way in helping grow your investing business.