Working with Contractors - Posted by Frank M. Coyne

Posted by BankRobber on March 04, 1999 at 22:23:38:

Seems to be a big undertaking for a first project. When I take on projects the size of Donald Trump’s I will hire general contractors but, for the small residential projects I do, I feel that General contractors are waste of time, space and money. I would definitely buy the appliances myself. I use a regular installer for carpet and vinyl, for large (>$3,000) jobs that I can’t do myself my contractor hiring procedure is as follows: call 20 contractors from ads in the phone book or newspaper. 1/4 of the phones will be disconected leaving 15 contractors. 1/3 of the remaining 15 will never return my call leaving 10. 3 of the remaining 10 will tell me they are too busy to get my job done within a month or that they do not do that kind of work (they act surprised when I tell them they are listed under that disipline in the phone book). 2 of the remaining 7 will not show up at the scheduled meeting to look at the work needed. 1 of the remaining 5 will show up but leave quickly after discovering I am not a complete moron that he can gouge mercilessly or con into giving a lot of money up front. 1 of the remaining 4 will either never qoute the job or wait two weeks to give me a quote. 1 of the remaining 3 will bid the job ridiculously high. 1 of the remaing 2 will bid the job preposterously high. Leaving only one contractor with a reasonable bid that can preform the work in a resonable period of time. Have fun!

Working with Contractors - Posted by Frank M. Coyne

Posted by Frank M. Coyne on March 04, 1999 at 08:14:30:

I’m working on my first project as a real estate “invester” and have some questions. The project I have selected is an old house in Washington, DC which will be gutted, converted into three condo units, and then sold. I’ve noticed that most investors that renovate and then sell properties have their own contractors to do their work at reasonable costs. As a “rookie” how can I ensure the general contractor I select will not rip me off. I’ve talked to many general contractors and will begin to take bids soon. Is it possible to keep renovation costs at the amount I am originally quoted even if the contractor goes over budget during construction? Does it make sense to find major appliances at wholesale myself to prevent my contractor from marking-up everything. I’d appreciate any advice.


Re: Working with Contractors - Posted by Thomas

Posted by Thomas on March 06, 1999 at 08:09:17:

Refer to Carmen’s post in response to similar inquiry by Tom IL.
Talk to anyone and everyone who may have first hand experience working with contractors in your area to get references - realtors, people at lumberyards, friends, relatives, neighbors, stop and knock on doors where work is in process and ask the home owner about their experience with the contractor. Ask how the home owner learned about the contractor they hired. Visit work sites and speak with some of the contractors directly. Ask them for references and follow up on them.
Once you get more involved in rehabbing, especially if you get to a point where you are doing this full time, you’ll need a network of regulars to rely upon to get your work done. By then, you won’t be ripped of because you’ll have some solid relationships that are profitable for you and the contractors - they love having the repeat business.
There is a lot of truth in BankRobber’s post and dealing with contractors can be incredibly frustrating.
After all we do want to PAY them a lot of $ for their efforts and expertise. Let’s just hope that we can find more than 1/20 that’s worth dealing with.
Good luck.