Once we’ve narrowed the list of potentials down to two-or-three, we go through a walk-through with them of the property we need work done on.

Image Courtesy: Mark F. Levisay
It’s common for contractors to have slightly different opinions on what needs to be done to a house. (Image Courtesy: Mark F. Levisay)

With a pen and paper in-hand, I walk through the house and get their opinion on what they think needs to be done. After the walk-through, we create an itemized list of  all the things each contractor said needed to be done.

Once we’ve done a walk-through with each of the candidates, we compare each contractor’s opinions with our findings (and our inspector’s).

There’s usually an item or two one contractor points out that one of the other ones didn’t see.

To get a better idea of whether or not that specific item needs to be assessed, I’ll bring it up to one of the other contractors to get their feedback on it, either when we’re walking through the property (preferred), or later on over the phone.

This gives us information we can use to decide whether or not that specific thing really needs to be done or not.


Setting Expectations

Out of all of the rehabs we’ve done, maybe three or four went past 30 days.

So I let contractors know this from the beginning that we expect all of our jobs to be done in 30 days or less. If they insist that it’s going to take longer, I find someone else.


Late Fee

Before I accept a contractor’s bid, I let them know that they’re going to be charged a late fee if they go over a week past the due date of the project.

There’s no excuse for a project taking longer than 30 days.

The longer a job takes the more money it’s taking out of my pocket. So I let them know that they’re going to pay the consequences if it goes beyond the allotted time.

I don’t like losing money. Plus, I don’t deal with properties that need extensive work that should take over 30 days, so if it goes over the allotted time, 90 percent of the time, it’s the contractor’s fault.

Image Courtesy: Linda N.
Image Courtesy: Linda N.


Setting Your Own Expectations
Before you call a single general contractor, decide on which type you’re looking to work with.

Do you want to work with “Mom and Pop”-type operations, or larger, more established businesses?

There’s a big difference between the two.

The bigger ones tend to be licensed and insured, and have a well-established network of reputable, licensed subcontractors and workers. They also tend to get jobs done faster, with a higher standard of quality.

Unfortunately, they also cost more than the mom and pop contractors.

There are jobs that I might consider using a mom and pop contractor for, though.

If a job is just going to need updating to the kitchen or bathroom, some minor drywall and/or painting, mom and pop contractors might fit the bill.

The mom and pop contractors tend to be a little more flexible price-wise.


What big lessons have you learned from working with contractors that you’d like to share to help others? Leave a comment below.