What to Look for When Hiring a Contractor

When you are fixing and flipping a house, hiring a reputable contractor is essential. You want someone accessible who can get the job done well, on time, and at a fair price. So, how do you find the right person for the job? Read on to find out what to look for when hiring a contractor.

See Examples of Work, Reviews, and Complaints

When choosing a contractor to work with, search online for examples of their work, and ask them for examples.  

Look online and ask for testimonials and reviews from clients. Ask local businesses (realtors and building suppliers) for contractor recommendations. When possible, contact former clients and ask for their take on the work, price, and reliability.

Search the Better Business Bureau for any negative ratings. Remember that a bad review is not necessarily a deal breaker, but a string of complaints and negative experiences is a red flag.

Ask about Licenses and Insurance

Many states require contractors to have proper licensing in order to operate legally. Check with your state’s license board or home builders association for contractor requirements. Ask potential candidates to show proof of licensing. Reputable contractors will not have a problem with this and will be happy to show you their credentials.

Also, ask whether or not they have insurance and what types of insurance they have. This is extremely important when hiring a contractor. Typically, contractors should carry worker’s compensation, liability, and property insurances. Some may have more, but none should have less.  

Get and Compare Several Quotes

Once you have checked out a few candidates and narrowed down the list, start asking for estimates. Getting several different estimates will weed out the ones who are obviously over-priced. This eliminates risk of price gouging. Scratch the contractors with unreasonable prices off the list and move on to the other ones.

On the alternative side of that, you should be wary of contractors with rates that are too low. If someone quotes you a price far below other quotes, you could be in for a sub-par job or a contractor who uses shoddy materials.

Understand the Contract Before Signing

When you find a contractor you believe is right for the job, make sure you get everything in writing. Go over all the details and make sure you understand them before signing. Honest and reliable contractors who want your business will take the time to go over everything with you. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything that you are unsure of.

The same thing goes for any possible changes. During a job, it is possible that some plans will change. If this happens, get the changes (big or small) in writing and understand the contract before signing.

Avoid Complete Up-Front Payment

Honest contractors don’t expect payment in full right away. Typically, they will ask for a reasonable deposit followed by payments as the work goes on. If anyone ever asks for the full pop before work begins, move on to the next candidate. Scammers will often ask for all of the money up front, in cash, and take off without doing the job.

When you do make payments, avoid paying in cash. Checks and credit cards create paper trails, and with them, you have proof of payment.

Fix and flip houses are large undertakings. You will need a contractor by your side who you can trust with the job, your money, and your time. Use the above tips to search carefully and find the contractor who fits your needs.

For more information about hiring professionals, or to inquire about financing your fix and flip home, please contact us.

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