Where can I find contractors? - Posted by Mike

Posted by Angela on November 26, 2000 at 12:45:28:

Shop…Shop…Shop…When you do find a dependable contractor, stick with them. I agree that references are a must. Just because he/she is the cheapest doesn’t mean that you are getting thae quality that you expect. I am sure that everyone out there could tell you horror stories about contractors. There are alot out there. Some of the best contractors my husband uses were highly recommended by other builders or contractors.

Where can I find contractors? - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on November 25, 2000 at 20:56:33:

I’m looking for some advice in finding potential contractors to work with for rehab projects. I know I can always get on ImproveNet or one of those other online services, but I need to find someone local that isn’t your run-of-the-mill high priced contractor. It’ll be difficult to find a house that will make money with one of these guys. What I need is more of a handyman type that can oversee a job or a general that doesn’t just hire union laborers.

Where do you rehabbers find your crews?


Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by T Jent

Posted by T Jent on November 27, 2000 at 24:01:53:

My advice: Don’t look for contractors. I’ve done a number of rehab projects large and small, and almost never used a contractor. In my area (LA) there is an abundance of individuals, mostly immigrant, with the skills to do 90% of the needed work including drywall, plumbing, flooring and so on. They usually have ample construction experience working under licensed contractors who entrust the actual labor to them; or some are actually contractors in their home countries.
In rehab projects limiting costs is of the essence. And let’s face it, the bulk of rehab work is painting, carpeting and other superficial, nonstructural improvements. We’re usually not talking about adding a room or an entire roof. (I’m a little more careful with electricity but frankly there’s rarely anything significant to do in that department) The standard hourly wage for the workforce I’m talking about is $10 per hour for more skilled tasks (e.g. tiling, cement work), and $8 per hour for simpler things like painting and grunt work. True, you have no recourse if they screw up - and this happens - but overall its satisfactory and far more economical.

Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by Michael

Posted by Michael on November 26, 2000 at 01:30:48:

I’m a builder, and my advice would be to use your classifieds. You should be able to find someone for just about any trade. These guys do the work, and you’re not paying somebody to call them to do the same thing. I recommend classifieds over the phonebook because it’s normally less expensive labor wise.

Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on November 25, 2000 at 23:58:27:

Stop by a single family home construction site - you know, one of these “one man operations” I see all the time and ask them if they know a handyman or 2 that want some work. It’s where I would start anyway …


Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on November 26, 2000 at 02:30:15:

Funny you asked. I was going through the same thing just a few months ago on my first rehab. Unfortunately, I got what I wished for. An irresponsible, unprofessional, half-assed “contractor”. After all, I, like you, only wanted a contractor. After turning a 1 month job into a 3 month job I realized that I wanted a responsible and professional contractor. What did I do? I decided I would get out and hit “the street” 8 am in the morning. I figured anyone who has a whole crew (4 or 5 guys) out and working 8 in the morning has got to be more responsible than a crew of guys who are standing around 9:30 am, smoking, smelling like marijuana, and talking on cell phones to their girlfriends like the last bunch of idiots I hired. Now these new guys haven’t started working for me yet. But, so far, they are the only guys who showed up on time to look things over and submit a bid. Not only that, they’re investigation of the proposed rehab was 10 times more thorough. I have no doubt that these guys will get completed on time and do quality work. Of course, I’ll have a tight contract, dot all “i”'s and cross all “t”'s.

But my advice is to go out early in the morning (8 am) and look for crews who are working hard. These are the guys who will perform the same on your rehab project.

Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by JeneanNC

Posted by JeneanNC on November 27, 2000 at 08:36:53:

Will you share your contractors contract with me?

Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by Marty Weiner

Posted by Marty Weiner on November 26, 2000 at 10:49:59:

I would painfully have to agree with IB(NJ). I too hired local under-the-radar types who seemed initially to know what they were doing, but my two month rehab (my first one) is almost completed now in 4 1/2 months. Know what you need to have done, get bids from “professionals” and check them out. Even that doesn’t guarantee things will go smoothly, they never do, but you will avoid the misery of dealing with irresponsible flakes.

Re: Where can I find contractors? - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on November 27, 2000 at 09:06:10:

Well another mistake we made on our last project was relying on the contract given to us by the so-called Contractor. No time limits. No specifics on what as to be done. (I know the veterans on this board are crinjing in their seats as they read this). But we’ve learned better. So the one we curently have would do you more harm than good if any. Surpisingly, none of the rehabs books I’ve come across in the last few months have a contract for contractors although some did include important stipulataions you may want to put in your contract. So I’m in the process of drawing one up as we start on our next project. In addition, the contractors we met over the weekend said they will submit a contract/bid today. So as soon as I get and can it into electronic form I’ll email you a copy. I’ll probably take theirs and combine it with clauses that are important to my team ad then have my attorney look it over. Once I get his stamp of approval I’ll use it as my standard contract. Until then, if any of you vets have a good contract we newbies can use feel free to email or post it here. Thanks in advance everyone.