4 Important Tips On Working With Contractors

By on September 23, 2013

If you are new to the real estate game, be mindful that working with contractors is one of the most stressful and challenging aspects of property investing. It has the potential to leave your curled up in the corner of your bedroom crying over why you decided to invest in properties in the first place. Problems can be as small as a minor scratch on your kitchen cabinet or as serious as fraud. No matter how big or small the problems you might have with your contractors, you are the one who agreed to hire them in the first place.

Problems with contractors is part and parcel of the job. Accept that. Bigger problems can emerge when you take actions that assume problems have no place in your renovations. An angry contractor is not someone you want to deal with when the immediate destiny of your home lays in his hands.

The good thing is that most problems can be filtered out by being open with communications with your contractor before works begin and during work-in-progress. If you are pro-active, always keep communication channels open with your contractor. Initiate discussions about your expectations so that they have a clear idea of what you desire. Some people have a habit of waiting for mistakes to be made so that they can be critical of others. This is even when the mistakes have been spotted way beforehand. Don’t be one of those people. As soon as you see something wrong, don’t wait for the mistake to be verified after completion to take up the issue with the contractor. Be open with constructive criticism as soon as it is appropriate.

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Here are 4 more tips on working with contractors to achieve your desired end result.

1) Keep negotiating until you have signed a sales contract. Many people do the right thing by getting quotations from a few interior design houses to compare prices. But most of them would take up the best value quote without further negotiating on price. Be mindful that interior designers have one of the highest margins in any business. In many cases, they even take a cut from the sales when bringing you out shopping for furniture. The good thing is that when hiring designers for your project, it becomes their job to manage contractors instead of you.

2) Draw up a clear payment schedule with specific milestones to achieve. Because money is needed to buy materials and hire workers to start your project, it is fair for contractors to ask for a down payment. But if you are asked to make a high down payment, it is a sign that they might have cash flow problems. Generally, market practice is no more than 20% for the initial down payment. Hold back a significant portion of payment for after completion and your inspection for defects.

3) Be seen. You might be busy at work or just obnoxious. If your time allows it, pay a visit to the property once a day to see the progress of the works. Or do it just to be seen so as to keep them on their toes. You are paying good money to bring your vision to life.

4) Fire those who does not meet your expectations. If you bring a team of amateurs to play football with professionals, you are going to lose. You have 2 choices. Fire everyone, or don’t play. In your rehab project, you have already entered the playing arena. Your only option left for underperformers is to fire those that cannot make it and replace the team. Your investment is at stake. The bargain that you thought you had in the first place can become a nightmare if you don’t act swiftly and decisively. No hard feelings.

Some questions to ask before hiring anyone

Do they have insurance?

During the renovation exercise, you can’t predict what will happen. While it is your desire that no accidents will occur, it is inevitable that at some point mishaps might happen. For this reason, you need to work with contractors who are insured. Talk to your potential service providers and ask them whether they are insured and if not, consider the possibility of casting your net wider. Note that if you work with contractors who are not insured, you will have to shoulder any costs that might arise as a result of accidents.

Are they certified?

Even more important is asking the contractors whether they are certified. This is essential as it proves they have the professional skills needed to carry out your project to perfection. It is therefore prudent to ask the contractors to provide proof of their certification before you can begin to use their services.

References

Ask the contractors to provide a list of references you can consult with before you make your decision on whether or not to hire them. Once they give you this list, get in touch with references and especially those they have worked with in the last couple of months. This is important as it gives you an idea of their capability to meet your expectations.

Expertise and Skills

Remodelling is an expansive field and for this reason, you need to be certain that the contractors have the ability to meet your needs. In this respect, ask the contractors about the kind of projects they have the capability of handling and the skills needed to complete the tasks. You can ask them to provide a portfolio of their work in order to get a better idea of what to expect in the long term.

Materials used and Turn around Time

These two aspects are extremely important before you hire these contractors. For starters, you have to be certain they will employ the highest standards when it comes to selection of materials. The services should also be delivered within an agreed timeframe. It is precisely for this reason that you need to question the contractors extensively. Settle with contractors who can assure you of adhering to the highest standards of roofing while at the same time working with speed. In the long run, the contractors you choose to work with play an important role in determining whether you end up with quality work or not.



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