any investors do the dirty work??

64 Replies

I have done a few flips, and currently rehabbing a buy and hold in greenville, sc.  I do most all of the work myself, which is pretty slow going since i only have so much time to devote .  I enjoy carpentry, and the feeling of turning an ugly house into a nice property.   does anyone else out there do the work themselves, or do most people hire everything out.  Once my youngest son is in school next year... that will free me up more time to make more progress.  Just wanting to see how everyone else is getting it done.  Also, it seems when i do hire certain things out.. i am usually not satisfied with the results.  Thanks for the input.

Adam

My wife and I do most of the work that doean't require specialized expertise (HVAC, electrical). I would rather hire contractors to do more work, but this usually ends up being at a rate of $100-200/ hour compared to doing it myself. That's just too much. 

We do much of the work ourselves. In fact, I just got home from laying subfloor. Although we have found there are some things you are just better off hiring out, such as sheetrock work - and of course trades such as electrical and plumbing.

Originally posted by @Mark S. :

We do much of the work ourselves. In fact, I just got home from laying subfloor. Although we have found there are some things you are just better off hiring out, such as sheetrock work - and of course trades such as electrical and plumbing.

I have subfloor work and joists work to do in a bathroom myself.  I dont finish sheetrock, and i also hire out hvac work.  The attached picture is a bathroom that i had to completely gut.  I am going to be able to redo everything in this bathroom for about $2k total.  If I had to pay someone that number would be way higher (ofcourse, it would get done much quicker)

My husband and I do a lot of the work on our BRRRR Properties ourselves. We really enjoy doing most of it, especially the satisfaction we get when we transform something from ugly to beautiful and functional. We have also discovered some new skills and talents along the way. We hire out the really messy and/or specialized/permit stuff.

We do our own rehabs but hire out certain things, eg. new shower valves, but my husband replaces all the shutoff valves with 3/4 turn. We also have gotten pretty good, good enough to work on our own house which is worth much more than the rentals we rehabbed. 5 houses.

We really enjoy demo day- and can gut a place pretty quick. However having a full time job- rebuild is quicker and smoother with my contractor in charge. If we tried night and weekend work we would never get one done. So we get dirty... but not through the entire project.

I learned a lesson on our first flip. Stayed up until midnight laying kitchen floor- was extremely proud of the work... until the next morning we went and it was crooked and coming up in places. :)

Originally posted by @Mason DeJarnett :

We really enjoy demo day- and can gut a place pretty quick. However having a full time job- rebuild is quicker and smoother with my contractor in charge. If we tried night and weekend work we would never get one done. So we get dirty... but not through the entire project.

I learned a lesson on our first flip. Stayed up until midnight laying kitchen floor- was extremely proud of the work... until the next morning we went and it was crooked and coming up in places. :)

LOL.  Hey man... over ten years ago when i first started learning carpentry skills..  my wife ripped up my backsplash after i went to bed because i was tired, got in a hurry to finish, and then went to bed.   i will admit, that it did look like garbage.  :)

It is better to be a general contractor. Leave skills roles to the contractors, painter, roofers.  It takes me 3X longer to do it myself. Planning, selecting parts and pick up is tiresome enough. Often I am the final cleaner and gardener, house cleaner seem to be difficult to find. $100 an hour for gardener. $400/day for general home cleaner?   I am successful because I let them do their job and pointed out areas missed when almost done. I also offer a bonus if completed on time. I let them hire their day labor.

Originally posted by @Adam Drummond :

I have done a few flips, and currently rehabbing a buy and hold in greenville, sc.  I do most all of the work myself, which is pretty slow going since i only have so much time to devote .  I enjoy carpentry, and the feeling of turning an ugly house into a nice property.   does anyone else out there do the work themselves, or do most people hire everything out.  Once my youngest son is in school next year... that will free me up more time to make more progress.  Just wanting to see how everyone else is getting it done.  Also, it seems when i do hire certain things out.. i am usually not satisfied with the results.  Thanks for the input.

Adam

 In the beginning I swung the hammer. Havn't done so in years though. Truth be told i'm not all that handy I just kinda got in the way most of the time. We have 800+ properties & 60+ employees now so it wouldn't make any sense for me to be doing any of that stuff still. My partner still swings it every now & again. He can't help himself. He loves it. He's probably more useful in the office at this point but it's his passion to be in the field & get dirty so he makes time to go out to the projects as much as possible.

He's been going out to this property of ours last couple days with this major sewer issue that the plumbers are working on. Dude keeps sending me the photos. I'm like bruhhh your name is on hundreds of buildings, you shouldn't be in the same room as human poop anymore. He can't help himself. He loves it.

your doing great! I can do Demo but leave the rest to the pros! 

Keep up the good work! Greenville is growing so fast! Scott

@Adam Drummond We started off rehabbing properties the exact way you are. We did all of the work outside of HVAC and electrical. For us, doing the work ourselves was a way to save money and we had the time so it was a trade off we were willing to make to get started. The price of labor here in Connecticut is high as it is in a lot of other states so doing the work ourselves was our competitive advantage when we started.

Although things went slower, we gained a lot of knowledge of how to and what it costs to do virtually everything involved with rehabbing homes. This has proved invaluable for us as our business has grown and we are now at the point where we rarely do any of the work. Our energy is better focused on scaling our rehabbing business and providing value to our investor clients as real estate agents in the area.

In the long run the approach you are taking will pay off, but in the moment it is tough to see. I only know because I went through the exact same process. 

@Adam Drummond when you do hire out you need to ensure you have a rock solid scope of work that the subs can reference.  Try to find photos and templates online of what you’re trying to achieve. It makes it much easier wheb everyone can look at the same photo or plan. 

I believe it’s good to know the job you’re going to hire out eventually so you know intimately if a job is done well or not. 

Not sure if you want to do this full time, but as an investor you definitely want to stay at a higher level and delegate the “dirty” work to others who’s passion it is. 

I've been mostly doing my own work on my properties for years - I love doing it.  Lately I've been scaling my business and there are just some things that need to get hired out to get done in a timely fashion.  If you enjoy it and want to build up slowly, keep doing it that way.  I'm now at a point where I need to quit my job to keep up (which is where I've been trying to get to).  Hopefully later this year I'll be doing that.

I usually do the demo and hauling away, small jobs like painting, flooring, sheetrock I can do myself. Specialties like electrical, HVAC, plumbing, give to the professionals.

@Adam Drummond some people like to do the easy stuff themselves, like demolition and cleaning. If I do anything, I prefer to do the complicated work because it saves more money. I can hire anyone to do the dirty work for cheap. 

Really this comes down to the value you place on your time. Is your time worth doing a $10 per hour job? My time is worth more than that.

The other side of this is time to complete the job. I have seen people do all the work themselves and it takes 6 months. Other people have a crew knock it out in two months. How much value is there in turning the property four months sooner? Four months of rent for me is thousands of dollars. I also hate vacant houses, they are a problem waiting to happen.

It sounds like you enjoy the work, so this is partially a hobby for you. If it is strictly a business, there is no reason to do any work yourself. An investor will find their time is best utilized finding deals and managing the work being done.

I do enjoy doing finishing work..  from cabinets to crown moulding.  I am waiting on another property to sell that i own free and clear, to free up more money.  This particular house that i'm doing is my first brrr property.  i need to get it mostly finished so i can refi it, and pull some money out of the house.  I would love to pay people to do all of the work, but it would cost me $25k+ , and can't justify paying someone else that much to do work that i have the time and knowledge to do.  I do hope to be on another level in this business sooner than later.  I have def noticed that people who make real money doing this have crews /conttractors that do the work for them.  I'm just not there yet.   Thanks for the response.
Adam

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

@Adam Drummond some people like to do the easy stuff themselves, like demolition and cleaning. If I do anything, I prefer to do the complicated work because it saves more money. I can hire anyone to do the dirty work for cheap. 

Really this comes down to the value you place on your time. Is your time worth doing a $10 per hour job? My time is worth more than that.

The other side of this is time to complete the job. I have seen people do all the work themselves and it takes 6 months. Other people have a crew knock it out in two months. How much value is there in turning the property four months sooner? Four months of rent for me is thousands of dollars. I also hate vacant houses, they are a problem waiting to happen.

It sounds like you enjoy the work, so this is partially a hobby for you. If it is strictly a business, there is no reason to do any work yourself. An investor will find their time is best utilized finding deals and managing the work being done.

I started out doing all the work myself. I believe everyone should do each job at least once to know what’s truly involved.
Over the last few years as we’ve grown the business I hire out more and more of the work. It is hard to pay so much money and the job not be done right, but I’ve improved with my direction and hiring. I know have a handy man that is great.
If you want to scale the business you can’t do everything yourself. Plus most people get into the business to free up their time. The book The E Myth makes a great point that if you want to work IN the business you hire people that are great running the business, but make sure you are replaceable.

I am the project manager on every one of our projects.  My husband and I do alot of the work, but have a good team to do the big stuff, and help out.  We CAN do flooring, but we have a tile guy that we love and does a great job, so we defer to him.  We CAN paint, and sometimes do, but we also have  a painter who we give the job to when time is of concern.  You get the idea...

I think it makes sense to evaluate where your time and efforts are best spent.  We personally like to put our stamp on every project to say we did this, but I don't feel the need to be involved in every task in order to do that.

I look forward to doing some of the dirty work. I don't care what anyone says, there's nothing wrong with getting down with the get down and creating some sweat equity. If you can paint and you enjoy it, then save the 2k-3k it would have cost and paint yourself. Sure you wont scale as fast, but who said that's the only goal? Do you and the reward will be so much greater. Just my two cents.

Originally posted by @Adam Drummond :
I do enjoy doing finishing work..  from cabinets to crown moulding.  I am waiting on another property to sell that i own free and clear, to free up more money.  This particular house that i'm doing is my first brrr property.  i need to get it mostly finished so i can refi it, and pull some money out of the house.  I would love to pay people to do all of the work, but it would cost me $25k+ , and can't justify paying someone else that much to do work that i have the time and knowledge to do.  I do hope to be on another level in this business sooner than later.  I have def noticed that people who make real money doing this have crews /conttractors that do the work for them.  I'm just not there yet.   Thanks for the response.
Adam

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock:

@Adam Drummond some people like to do the easy stuff themselves, like demolition and cleaning. If I do anything, I prefer to do the complicated work because it saves more money. I can hire anyone to do the dirty work for cheap. 

Really this comes down to the value you place on your time. Is your time worth doing a $10 per hour job? My time is worth more than that.

The other side of this is time to complete the job. I have seen people do all the work themselves and it takes 6 months. Other people have a crew knock it out in two months. How much value is there in turning the property four months sooner? Four months of rent for me is thousands of dollars. I also hate vacant houses, they are a problem waiting to happen.

It sounds like you enjoy the work, so this is partially a hobby for you. If it is strictly a business, there is no reason to do any work yourself. An investor will find their time is best utilized finding deals and managing the work being done.

Sweat equity is a great way to get started. Learning how to do everything gives you an advantage when you hire work done. I did almost everything myself when I started. 

When you scale, it becomes impossible to do everything yourself, so you are forced to hire people. 

Sounds like you are on a good path. 

@Adam Drummond

We do the majority of renovations our self, but it's me/my partner and 1-2 college kids we hire at $8/hr to work with us.    We leave the big stuff (roofing/HVAC/structure, electrical/plumbing) to the experts.    Doing it yourself allows you to use better materials, keep costs down, and also if you know the basics, you can do the maintenance !  If you start with little money, your time is 100% best invested in doing in building sweat equity!

Some great advice I got from my mentor was that just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. He said "Use your brain, not your body" but I gotta admit, I love demo day and painting!   I'd suggest finding 1-2 college kids, that you can teach to do stuff,   so you can complete the projects quickly!     In the beginning, doing it all yourself teaches pride and humility, but as others have stated, to scale and get bigger, it's a numbers game and you have to hire out  grow faster.       

Yup, my wife and I do most of it at this point. It's what works for us currently.

I've been getting contractors to do some of the stuff I either can't or don't want to do but am getting so sick of paying people too much to do crappy work that's nowhere near my baseline for quality. I'll be going into full "team building" mode this summer to find some reliable people to build into the business. (and hopefully kinda work myself out of a job)

Read/Listen to 1 book:

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber.

Learn to SCALE not work more hours.

@Adam Drummond I spent many glorious weekends of my youth helping my parents do the "dirty work" when houses would turnover.  All of the boring stuff:  repainting, cleaning the kitchen, repairing fencing, landscaping, changing locks, etc.  Not major rehabs but there was always *something* that needed doing at one of the properties.  That said, never again :-)

I did my time in purgatory.  It's one of the reason why it was "easy" for me to make the decision to invest out-of-state.  I had no desire to be a hands-on landlord or swing a hammer.  I knew that was my path so I never had to look "saving" on property management costs.

There's nothing (at all) wrong with doing it yourself.  But I do think you get a lot more efficient over time.  It used to make me a little while to change a lock.  Then (because what else do you do with your time?) I started timing myself to see how fast I could do it.  My net-thought is that if you want to swing a hammer A LOT then swing your hammer.  If you want to do it once, hire it out, pay the person that's going it for the 101st time instead of the 1st.

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