So here are some tips on working with Detroit general contractors, or any contractors, for that matter.
Our core philosophy when dealing with contractors has three basic points:
- We want quality work
- We want to spend as little as possible
- We want it done fast
I don’t necessarily tell them this verbatim. But these three points stay front-and-center in our minds when we’re working with them.
If they understand this, we might be able to make some money together.
I start all of my searches online. Here are some places online that I like to use to search for general contractors:
- Craigslist.org – You’ll find some reputable contractors on here as well, but it’s a GREAT place to find some mom-and-pop operations, if that’s what you’re looking for.
- Google Search – Search for the phrase “[your city] general contractor”
- The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America website (www.agc.org) – Click on ‘Member Directory’ and search for contractors that belong to their organization in your area.
- Angie’s List (angieslist.com)
If you have some relationships with other real estate investors that have used contractors, ask them if they have anyone they recommend.
I wouldn’t bank on finding a contractor this way, but if you need a specific task done, it’s a pretty good tactic.
Just go to The Home Depot or Lowe’s, and hang around in the area that sells materials for what you need done. Then you can ask the other customers in there if they know anyone that might be interested in doing some work for you related to the section you’re standing in.
It shouldn’t take you long to find someone that can either help you themselves, or who knows someone that can.
Need for Speed
They need to understand that they’re not going to get rich off of doing just one of our jobs.
They’re going to have the opportunity to make a lot of money over time by providing cheap, quality, and fast service over the long haul.
We really emphasize speed. Every day, hour, or week that passes by is crucial.
The longer it’s being worked on, the more money we’re spending on holding costs, with no income coming in from that property whatsoever.
Contractors don’t always understand this, so to get their cooperation, we talk about how THEY benefit from getting these jobs done quickly.
I always tell them, “You’re going to make $5,000 on this job. You can make it in two weeks, or you can make it in a month.”
I go on to emphasize that there’s another project waiting for them, whether it’s another one of ours, or someone else’s.
So the faster they can get this done, the faster they can make their money on this job AND the next one.
General contractors aren’t always the best businessmen. Some are, but most of them aren’t.
And I don’t mean this as a knock on them. I’m just being honest.
We introduce them to our system that addresses payment schedules, inspections, progress reports, and the like.
I just want them to focus on doing what they do best, and that’s picking up materials and doing the work.
The less you leave for them to think about, the more they can focus on working.
Unless it’s an extreme emergency, I never hire someone without getting and checking references first.
I specifically ask for the names and phone numbers of three people they’ve done work for recently.
When I’m talking to references, h
ere are some of the topics I like to bring up:
- Quality of work
- How well they clean up