Finding contractors and getting bids

5 Replies

My brother just bought his first rental and we had a few questions regarding contractors, getting bids, and the best practices for a big rehab. (Big for us equals = full kitchen rehab, full bathroom rehab and laundry room, along with other minor details throughout)

1) What is the best way to find a quality, trustworthy contractor? Craigslist, Angie's List, Word of Mouth, etc. (The rent house is located 30 minutes north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

2) What is the best way to select the right one once we have had a few bids on the project? What do we ask during the walk through with the contractors?

3) How do we make sure they finish on-time and on-budget?

Any help, ideas, spreadsheets, etc. would be great. We have never purchased a house with this much renovation needed.  Usually we do the minor fixes but this is out of our range. Thanks again!

if you get those figured out let me know and we can start a speaking tour together, maybe even write a book. lol

Use any and all resources, and do your homework. Angie's list works, craigslist... meh. Word of mouth is a powerful tool (I'd probably want to look at the work before I took someone's word for it, personally.) Talk to your local insurance agent, they are in networking groups and will have people they've worked with before. Especially in the OKC area where there are lots of storms and insurance claims. 

Pick who you're comfortable with. Cheapest/Most expensive doesn't always mean better or better deal. Analyze it all and the person, make your pick based there. Ask anything and everything during walkthrough. Can you do this, what are your ideas on this, how will you do this, etc. 

Good luck with #3. You will want to make sure to do your own supervision to a degree to make sure things are moving along. But budget adjustments are likely to happen due to additional work or contingent work, which means time adjustments will too.

Definitely not an all inclusive list, but things to think about and look at/try. I'm an insurance adjuster and I work with contractor's all the time. But I don't pick or manage them. I'm with @Rhett Tullis though, if you can get all that figured out, you'll probably find some major success!

Good luck!

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For us it was easier to just scale to the point of finding and funding enough deals to have a full time crew. And I'm not being sarcastic.
Word of mouth is the only way you will find good people to work for you, most of which will be generalists, handymen and subs. And even those will probably disappoint you at some point.

Not trying to be a downer, just know that this piece will be the most difficult to put together on this project.

Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. My brother walked through the property with multiple contractors today and we are going through bids, referrals, etc. this weekend. Ideally we are looking at doing exactly what @Scott England  suggested but are not at that point yet.

If I find a contractor that does a perfect job, at the perfect price, and finishes ahead of schedule I will be sure to let you know @Rhett Tullis !!!!