Flooring/ Remodeling guy considering to move to Naples, FL

14 Replies

Hello BP,
I live in Naperville, IL. We have two little ones (2.5year old and the newborn). My wife is stay at home mom and I work in construction (flooring-ceramic, hardwood as well as remodeling). I’ve been in this business for 17 years. Been trying to get into flipping for the past year but it seems that all good deals are going off the mls. Investor friendly agents all seems to do cash deals only and they want to see around 150k (which I only have closer to 50k). It just seems that I haven’t been progressing here in IL lately (in terms of REI and my own work) and that kind of frustrates me.
Having said that, we are planning on selling our 2 bed townhome and then either look for something livable well below market here in Chicagoland, regah it and sell it in a year or two. But seems like it will be hard. First finding the deal like that and then trying to renovate with two small kids. So, the other alternative, which most likely we will take, will be renting SFH. So, we figured if we will be renting then might as well try other markets. And that’s where Florida comes in, since we travel there a lot and we actually used to have timeshare in Palm Beach. However, I heard Naples area is doing really great. So, my question would be to the investors/ contractors living there, how is the construction market there? Anybody knows any good builders or GCs looking for good tile guy (references available). Also, are there decent investment opportunities or anybody willing to partner on the flipping side? And finally, which areas would you recommend to look for rentals that are not far from the beaches and not far commute to Naples. We were looking Fort Myers area. Seems like you could get nicer homes than in Naples for same prices. Thank you for any input on my situation.Thank you for your advice!

RE market is crazy hot here. Deals are getting hard to find. 

Rental market in FM can be rough in many areas. Watch where you are renting. Traffic in season ( nov- apr) will take you a while to get to beach as we are flooded with snowbirds.

I think install fees for tile in FL in general are high.  I lay my own tile on my sites. 

Many W2 workers here do not make much hourly. They get paid half in cash, half in sunshine

Good luck on your move

I'd love to talk if you end up coming back to the Palm Beach area.


I was at one time considering moving to the Bradenton Area. That area is very nice close to Sarasota beaches and tourist areas with reasonable home prices similar to the Aurora/Batavia area, which you are familiar with being from Naperville. As far as the work there I am not extremely familiar though. 

If you do end up deciding to stay I know a lot of investors in the area who are always looking for good contractors. Send me a PM if you would like to get some referrals to help get your business going! 

The southwest Florida Market is excellent and there are lots of job opportunities as well as occasional deals for the investor that can move quickly on deals

Hi Tom

The investment market in the Sarasota MSA market is very competitive and $50K won’t cut it on a purchase. It’s a good down payment but cash is king at the moment.

I’m not sure how good the remodeling/contracting business is up north but I can tell you there’s a huge demand for skilled workers in our area.

Construction is booming and yes a lot of the work goes to the lowest bidder but there are still companies and individuals that still value quality, reliability and professionalism.

Anyone good will be a success. Just swim in your lane.

Good luck!

Great comments, thanks. I wouldn’t be W2 worker, I am a sub. But that’s what I heard that it’s big shortage of skilled labor in FL, particularly Naples as a lot of rich retirees are moving there. So, my idea was to start doing there the same as I am doing here in Chicago -lay tile. And then maybe transition to something else in real estate arena, flipping, brrrr.... .However, would like to know some contacts there (in Naples) as to where to get some work once we move. Thought to get some recommendations here at BP or ideas for that matter.

@Michael Smoczynski just to be clear on my business situation. I have plenty of work here in Chicagoland. I think I am at the point where I cannot raise my prices anymore (at least with builders) and therefore it feels that I am not progressing. I make what I make and that’s it. I’ve been in business for 17 years and been mainly working on high end houses. So, it’s not that I am looking for more work, I actually want to get out eventually from what I am doing. That’s why I turned into REI. However, I know that I will need my skillset for REI at least for sometime until I will become more successful.

How about a job with a builder as a pm? Used to be Toll Brothers ?would build ONE house at cost for employees. I know one project manager did that, built another using contacts to get good prices and sold the first no capital gains tax after 2 years (credit is good with w2 income). Rinse repeat. Plus, Getting experience as a gm or pm might help you get to where you’re wanting to go.
Just an idea...no experience whatsoever and not even sure if a new house cost minus profit and marketing is a better deal than a well priced resale...but that guy was doing it years ago and they moved three times around when my daughter knew theirs.

@Marian Smith sounds intresting. Can you elaborate on building the house for employees? Who will be the owner of that house?

One of the high end builders used to offer to build one and only one house for emploees at cost.  I think it was Toll brothers.  There had to have been a vesting period.  The point I was trying to make was that with the reputed labor shortage in construction, maybe you should consider getting on with a large homebuilder for a free on the job education.  And maybe look for a builder that has perks...but if they are not doing the free build anymore, you can still get pm experience and create a network of contractors to build a personal house and sell for a profit every 2 years.  You would also gain the skills and contacts to flip on the side or whatever.  And a w2 income, from what I hear, is easier to borrow money on.  Biggest plus may be you will spend less time on your knees...I hope you use good pads.  I talked to a guy selling tile who just couldnt lay it anymore.  Not that old of a guy.

@Marian Smith thanks. Will keep that in mind. Definately a possibility. Was this builder - Toll Brothers in Naples? Yes, I do use a good custom made kneepads ‘Proknee’. They are the best tool out of all I have:)
Thanks for your advise, definately original!

Tom, if you go to major builders' websites, they all have Careers section, look for job openings there or call the local offices and see if they are looking for your trade. construction is everywhere here in SWFL, can't imagine you will be out of job. DR Horton, Pulte,  Lennar, Neal, Toll Brothers just to name a few. Good luck

@Elena S thanks. I am interested in high end builders since they usually pay more for custom work. The production builders usually are very cheap and they tend to go with lower end flooring. Do you know of any names of custom builders out there?
We will be also making a visit there in January mst likely to tread the waters for jobs and look to rent SFH. Do you think I need realtor to help me with the rental search andadvise on the areas or we could do it on our own?

Tom, I just messaged you. Let me know if I can help

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