If you ask most seasoned investors about the importance of a reliable contractor, they will probably tell you it is one of the keys to their success. A good contractor can save you time, money and give you piece of mind. If a good contractor is so important, why doesn’t every investor have access to one? Like many other professions, a good contractor is hard to find. You may go through a half dozen before you finally find one that fits exactly what you are looking for. Where you find them is the first step to a successful relationship.
In the old days, you would open up your phone book (remember those) and make multiple calls before settling on someone. You would probably chose the person with the best price or could get to the house fastest. Instead of the phone book, we have Craigslist and Angieslist. The principles of finding someone are similar, but now there are many more options. The best way to sift through these options and find someone reliable is to rely on your network and your contacts.
Reaching out to someone is not a guarantee that things will work out, but at least you have a point of reference. From that point, you should still see if they are a good fit for you by finding out about how they work. Are they licensed, do they have insurance, do they work by themselves and how long out are they booked? There is a good chance you can find someone less expensive to do the job, but that can just lead to more headaches. If they are not licensed, nor have insurance, they are not worth it.
It is nice to work with people you have a connection with, but you need to make sure they can do the job you are looking for. They may be great at one specific area, but not the one you need done. You can keep them in mind for the next job, but you have to use people that are specific to your job. If you are interviewing a general contractor, ask them how much of the work will be subcontracted out and if there is any additional wait time associated. If your job is time specific, it may be worth it to pay a little more in order to get the job done when you need it. Look at the big picture before you make any decisions.
Contractors can have multiple jobs going on at once as long as they don’t interfere with yours. Before you decide to work with any contractor, ask questions that will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable. The relationship with your contractor is critical to your investment success. Finding the right one won’t happen overnight, but if you ask the right questions and make as many connections as possible, you will eventually find someone you feel comfortable with.