Finding contractors for flipping in a tight CO labor market

7 Replies

I’m in the Denver metro market and am considering testing my hand at flipping a house.

We recently had a contractor walk our primary for renovations and he’s 9 months out. Seems to be “normal.” There’s a property I have in mind in Jefferson County and before approaching the owner and making an offer I need to figure out how to find reliable contractors to perform the work in a timely manner. How are investors handling this? Any contractors out there looking for work? Love to connect.

Hi Jason,

This maybe the hardest part of the core partners you need to be a house flipper or any type of REI, especially in this COVID climate. One saying that I heard multiple times on the Bigger Pockets Podcast is; "Where do you find a drunk? Go to the bar!" You may get several contractors that will not return your call, or answer you but never show up, or show up late. Or even be available but not good at the trades you need them to be good at. You need to call several and get a good feel for them and have them willing to invest the time in your eventual partnership that can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship. Once you start thinking this way, you can vet and hire on someone that help you get started on flipping a home in CO.

So now let me ask you: "Where do you find a contractor?"

Good Luck!!

@Fouad Hayek Good advice. Have you been able to find good contractors? I’ve spent years in CO talking to contractors and getting work done, but have had awful experiences. I’ll keep workin at it. At what point do you just take on the role of GC, as well. That honestly seems like an easier way to form a solid team. Obviously more time and energy, but potentially lower risk and better project controls.

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The problem with being your own GC is it will suck all your time.  Your time is better spent finding the next deal.

It's good to do it a few times to better understand the project/timing aspect of the renovations but later on, I would say transition away from that.

A little secret about contractors: good ones screen their potential customers just like a wise real estate investor would wish to screen their potential tennats.

first things first I wouldn't tell any contractors that your an investor and that you have a ton of work you can throw their way. Literally contractors hear people talk like that all the time and 90% of the time they're blowing smoke to try and justify that they should be charged less than a "normal customer". Also I put emphasis on not mentioning too much about what your doing: alot of contractors want little to do with investors and flippers. Not an ideal demographic as a customer for many contractors. Less info is more sometimes. 

Also alot of people look for the "free estimate guy". That guy has no obligation to give you an estimate if he doesn't wanna work for you. Pay for a consultation and then the contractor will be obligated to acutally give you a quote in a timely matter.

My last advice is that sometimes people try to look for good, fast & cheap. You can have 2 of those when you're dealing with contractors. Good & fast will cost you alot because you'll need a great crew of workers making top $. good and cheap will take longer because you'll be treated like a fill in job/less important than other jobs they might have going on. Fast & cheap quilaity will suffer because its a rush to get the next payment.

@Maurice D. Thanks for that. I worked in construction for years and transitioned away about 8 years ago. I’ve forgot all the misery that can come with managing a project and I think your right it’s not something I want to do over the long haul.

@George W. Good perspective. Appreciate it. I’ve fell into the trap of telling contractors that I used to be in construction and it seems to change the relationship. To your point, less is more. I will keep that top of mind as I continue to talk to more people.

Not worth the headache between labor AND material shortage for someone trying to break into the biz right now. Now I look at deals to just buy, clean, and list instead of doing the work. Leave the headache for someone else. I'd get that property under contract and then wholesale it.