Contractors – How do you suggest Home and Building owners find a “Good” Contractor to work with?
A great suggestion I found on the Beverly website suggests that you go to the Building department in your Town and ask to see a Building permit of the Size and Type of work YOU are looking to have done. This is Public information. You may have seen these permits listed in your local newspaper. Next Contact the owner by going to the address or phoning them to see how the work turned out. This is probably the Best recommendation you can get: It’s from the “Horses mouth”, It’s the work YOU have determined is similar to your own project and It’s recent.
However this is a “double edged sword” that cuts both ways. None of the Contractors I ever worked with in my “youth” would ever overlook a red flag. As they approached a property to work on, they would analyze it with these 5 questions in their heads.
1. What’s the overall condition of the property? Is it well kept? Yes, then the work will be held to a high standard, as it should be and Payment would probably be prompt.
2. What is most important to the Owner? Are they “shopping” for lowest price? Are they up on the latest materials and installation techniques? Are they hip to the improvements that have the highest returns or is it just upkeep and maintenance?
3. What is the Neighborhood like? Is this the worst house finally catching up? Is it a “Flip” or a Buy-Fix-Up and Sell? Keeping up with the Joneses?
4. Do they have the money (and time frame) this will take? Have they refinanced lately, have liquid funds or is this going to take forever to get paid on?
5. Neighbors can be a great source of information. Contractors will often speak to neighbors so their boundries are not crossed (e.g. driveways not blocked, start times are respected, dumpsters covered and hauled regularly). Sometimes Contractors will actually be hired by neighbors for work on their own properties. And finally most neighbors will let it slip that “…the last Contractor who worked here ……”
Now the sword, when the contractor shows up to pull any needed permits they’ll often ask the (same Building department that helped you) what other work has been done and THEY can check with previous contractors to see if there are problems with an Owner.
Finally, the great equalizer, the WEB. Googling the Owners or Contractors name or Company often uncovers any negativity or Actions by or against them.
I’d call this due diligence and all absolutely necessary to getting work done within everyone’s expectations! Personally I’m optimistic and as Ronald Regan said “Trust! but verify.” to get that Good Contractor, a Good Owner and Good Job you both can be proud of!
P.S. I’ve got a Lesson in my Course “How to Become a Real Estate Investor in 12 Easy Lessons” that I can probably share with you, if you’re willing to actually do it? [email protected] or 781-405-1845
P.P.S. There’s also checking government licenses, permits and insurance. Coming in Part 2