2 New Takes on How to Find a Good Contractor

2 New Takes on How to Find a Good Contractor

3 min read
Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson is an avid real estate investor from the suburbs of Philadelphia. She owns several real estate businesses and focuses primarily on the operations of each business.

Ashley began her real estate career investing in short- and long-term rentals. She then started flipping houses in the suburbs of Philadelphia, while living in Europe. Upon her return, she moved into large multifamily.

Over her tenure, she has been involved in over $40M of real estate and has overseen over $5M in construction. Today, she focuses on both flipping houses and operating large multifamily properties, as the Asset and Construction Manager.

Currently, Ashley is a contributing blogger to BiggerPockets. She also was on BiggerPockets Podcast episode #277 and previously provided live content for BiggerPockets YouTube and Live Stream.

Ashley has also been featured on several podcasts, including The Real Estate InvestHer, Purchase to Profits, Best Real Estate Investing Advice with Joe Fairless, The Real Estate Syndication Show, The Multifamily Zone, Multifamily Marketing, and Cashflow2Freedom. In addition, Ashley has spoken at several real estate events including IMN Multifamily Property Management & Operations, MidAtlantic Summit, Diversified Investors Group, The Real Estate InvestHer, and Strategic Investor Alliance.

Ashley attended Colgate University and then later received her Masters of Leadership Development at Penn State University, where she was inducted into the Beta Gama Sigma Society. Ashley also holds a Six Sigma Lean Professional Certification and an Independent Rental Owner Professional Certification from the National Apartment Association.


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When you are first starting out in real estate, everyone tells you how important having the right team is, but some team members are easier to find than others. More and more investor-friendly lenders, equity partners, agents, lawyers, and even accountants are starting to pop up since the popularity of real estate has skyrocketed.

But there is one part of your team that has become much harder to find: contractors. The demand for contractors is so high right now that even the bad ones have no trouble finding jobs. Your contractors are arguably the most crucial piece in a real estate deal, especially if you are flipping houses.

Finding Good Contractors

So how do you go about finding the right ones in a booming market? We have all heard the standard “go to Home Depot at 6 a.m.” advice, but over the years, I have had the most success using the following two methods.

1. Referrals


I know, I know. We have all been told this a million times, but I actually have a different spin on this so hear me out.  Because good contractors are so hard to find these days, you will actually have a hard time getting a referral from another investor. 

Most people believe that if your contractor takes on another client, it’ll be harder to schedule them when you need them. I would argue that referring your contractors to other good clients is a way to show them your appreciation for their work. Let’s not forget to mention that this will keep your contractor happy—but that’s beside the point. 

The referrals I am talking about are from other contractors. The old “birds of a feather” saying definitely rings true in the construction world. And if you really want to know who the good subs are, then ask the subs who do work following someone else. 

For example, you can start with painters. Ask them, “Which drywallers do you like working with and why?”

Painters do work immediately following drywallers. When drywallers install and prep the walls correctly, the painter’s job is a lot easier. The painters will also have insight about if drywallers can stick to a timelines, because if they are late, the painters are the ones who get bumped.

The same goes for framers, electricians, plumbers, etc. Don’t get me wrong. If you have a great network of fellow investors who are willing to share their subs, then that is probably the best way to go. However, if you are just starting out, contractor referrals can be extremely beneficial. 

Related: 7 Tips for Finding (& Keeping) the Best Contractors For Your Team

2. Driving for Dollars

driving for dollars

I don’t mean driving for dollars in the conventional sense but more so driving for contractors. I would argue this is just as important as driving to find houses, since good contractors—even if they charge you more—end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

While you can go for the modified Home Depot at 6 a.m. method and drive around to find the early birds, I prefer to find contractors who are working on weekends. These contractors are pure gold since you know they are committed to the job. And if you get in a time crunch, they are most likely willing to work the weekend to complete the job.

The best part is that it is pretty easy to find them. Every time you are driving during the weekend and you see a contractor working on a house, stop and get their contact information. It is that simple! In fact, I found my painters using this method four years ago, and I still use them today.  

Related: 10 Essential Real Estate Team Members (& How BiggerPockets Takes the Pain Out of Finding Them)

In Conclusion…

These are not the only two methods to find contractors, but for me, they have yielded the highest success rate. I always try to fire fast and hire slow, but using these two methods has increased my contractor retention rate.

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How are you finding contractors, and have you tried the methods I mentioned above? If so, what’s your success rate?

Share with a comment below!