Contractors looking at it like there making me rich

80 Replies

So i feel and have heard comments about me getting rich while the contractors or employees do work for me which i feel isnt there business. They dont understand it and it makes me angry and mad but do feel exactly where they are coming from and feel bad. How do i keep this from happening think im getting the reputation of being some real estate rich kid and having people make me rich while i sit back?

@Joshua D.


This isn't the first time you've posted about how envious the people around you are.  Yet look at your profile pic. There you are, shirtless and buffed out to display how much leisure time you have to spend at the gym, having fun in a world where everything is easy. I think it's probably safe to assume much of your social media exposure is like that, too.

What kind of car do you drive? Where do you buy your shoes? How many outward signs of wealth and status do you exhibit?

And how much wealth did you inherit or how many gifts did you receive to get your business going? Is there any truth to the rumor of you being a "real estate rich kid"? If there is, well, welcome to the reality of never being able to live it down.

On the other hand, if you feel compelled to protest that nobody gave you anything and you had to work for every penny of it, you need to make sure that's what you look like. Holes in your shirt and drive a s***box where anyone can see you. When you travel, you have to do it for "family reasons" (practice your sad look in the mirror). If you get a tan in Western PA, it sticks out, as you know.

Do you live in a personal castle and frequently have people over so they can look at it and understand how successful you are? Do you talk to other people about how many rental properties you own, or how many high-end homes you've flipped, or the multifamily you're looking at for your next buy? If you are, you need to drink a big glass of ****.

This is real estate. It's a brutal business. Suck it up, Buttercup.

Thats the nature of reality.  Its not fair.  Maybe they didn't have the same opportunities and birth that you did, and will never have the chance to get into real estate investing.  Doesn't mean that you shouldn't take full advantage of your circumstances, in fact it would be worse for you to waste what opportunities you do have. 

At the end of the day, your giving people work, which they are obviously looking for, and which wouldn't be available to them if you weren't into real estate investing.  All you can do is stick to your word, and be a decent human being to them when you interact.  If they still want to hate, thats on them.  

@Jim K. I wasnt inherited or given anything i busted my *** in the beginning while having a full time job. My business just blew up with hardwork and some luck. I did drive old beat up rusted trucks. Now i have a new lifted high end truck which was stupidest thing ive ever bought being i never had a new vehicle. It is a very tough business and I don’t flaunt anything for those reasons u pointed out.

@Joshua D.

A'right, a'right, the first step is admitting that the truck is a problem. :)

It's what we all do at first, Josh. My dumba** investment to show that I'd finally made some money was a two-thousand-dollar Swarovski chandelier for my dining room, believe it or not. It's still in the box, thankfully, even though the Spanish and Greek marble floor I put in is still in that dining room because I put it in myself and I can't bear to bust it out. I keep a rug over it because I have guys who have to come to the house until I sell it next year.

Richest guy I ever knew personally was an old boss of mine. He owned four language schools and a Division I professional Greek soccer team. Guy must have been worth upwards of twenty million euros. Dirty as h***, OC connections all over the place, history of collaboration with the military dictatorship of the early 1970s. In 2013, his body washed up on an Athens beach. Seems he went for a midnight swim three days before and suffered a heart attack on the water, or so the story for public consumption goes. I have a buddy on the national police force who told me they're still trying to figure out if it was the Bulgarian or the Russian mafia that took him out on the water and pounded him until his heart stopped, then dumped him over the side.

The dude drove a Suzuki Jimny. I'm not kidding you. This piece-of-garbage 10-year-old excuse for a Jeep. Of course, like all Greek parents, he had a soft spot for his kid, so that idiot drove a Mercedes S-class. The son still owns the team, but it's now dropped to Division III.

@Jim K. Thats prob part of the problem so my father in law is a very wealthy guy around owns many many businesses and alot of stuff. Worth 60 million prob not the best guy to have as your father in law doing what i am right?

But my dad is a army guy just retired I grew up as a army brat moved around everywhere. My dad a real hard *** and now I definitely have a different lifestyle with my wife which i didnt know when I first met her.

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@Joshua D.

OK, so you're starting from a disadvantage. Your wife's father has the bucks. Now people think you're just a gigolo...and here you are, shirtless on the water fresh from the mother of all protein shake in your profile pic! What are they supposed to think? That your wife married you for your bulging intellect and mighty heart?

Do you have anything of you in a suit? Something with the two of you in business casual? Less look-at-us-enjoying-a-life-of-leisure and more give-us-this-day-our-daily-bread?

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all personality stuff aside... I can tell you as contractor it is no business of mine how a client lives or makes money, without trust fund babies I would be broke! if a client is a d-bag I just won't work for them. I will say that the wealthier the client, the more they nickel and dime but they pay and the checks clear no problem. I guess that is how one gets rich. if one gets rich by ripping people off and doing cheap work on their flips then I want nothing to do with that, I have to eat and I have a reputation to uphold

@Jim K. I get some of what your saying but some of it is the nature of the business, I drive a older car never flaunt anything and still had workers complaining. We had several guys quit because they thought they were underpaid and should get a share of the flip profits. Where in the world they got that idea I have no idea since it was no where in the contract. I should have just agreed they got 50% of the profit and that was it I would have saved about 15k. Everyone made more than we did since it was our first year in business but I was perfectly happy to make almost nothing to learn because I could afford too. It still didn't stop the jealousy and envy, sometimes just doing something that others are scared to do will bring that regardless. 

@Joshua D. I apologize if I'm wrong and I'm sure you are going to tell me how wrong I am regardless, but I get the feeling you were handed much more than you realize. Yeah I'm sure you did work hard and busted your ***, but it seems you had a lot more help than most people.

Sometimes we don't realize how fortunate and blessed we are. 

My 2 cents is don't waste time on what others think or are doing.  Like your other thread on friends/relatives trying to copy what you are doing.  Other people will do and say things that rub us the wrong way, but just keep moving forward. 

@Philip Williams

I can't disagree with what you're saying at all. I'd have to be crazy or completely ignorant of the realities of this business to do so. The jealously and envy never stops after a certain point of minimum success -- I think it's true for everyone. The way I've talked about the problem in flips in the past goes like this: the workers carry out 100% of the visible work product, carry 0% of the risk, and simply would never believe any sort of profit-sharing distribution you might set up was fair, let alone generous. You're in a no-win situation as far as that's concerned on a flip working with contractors.

But you can't feed the beast. You can't show up on jobsites in a hot car. You can't visit your tenants to raise the rent on them in a bespoke suit and calf-skin wingtips. You can't go to make a  deal with a small contractor wearing designer jeans and just-out-of-the-box kicks. Nobody we work with needs to know how much money we make -- I'm perennially broke and up to my eyeballs in unsustainable debt as far as my tenants and the people I work with know.

Just looking at your profile pic, I don't see you giving anyone any excuses to envy you, either.

@Alfred Edmonds

Hi, Al, of course you don't. You're a fully licensed Massachusetts contractor with registration good to 2020, with zero complaints in the registry. Your profile indicates you've been in this business for 20 years. Most contractors, as you know, don't make it. Only 36.4% make it past the fifth year, the rest are toast by then. I even let my registration as PA123372 go this year, as I only plan to work on my own properties with no permits and no direct hires.

To me, this has nothing to do with what you’re wearing or driving. Many very successful people drive expensive cars and post pictures of their leisure time, yet their employees love them and wouldn’t leave for anything because they are humble, genuine, thankful people. As long as you are young and comfortable, people will make surface judgments about you being spoiled and arrogant. Just don’t prove them right.

The respect you’re looking for can’t be demanded. It’s earned by taking care of your team- compensating them fairly, caring about them individually..do you ask about their family?, being humble- appreciating the value they add instead of thinking they’re lucky to have a job with you. Have you been building their loyalty, letting them know how much you appreciate their hard work, and being respectful when things need to be corrected? You’ll know you’re doing it right when your team happily works themselves to the bone for you to make deadlines, and you receive respect instead of resentment.

@Sharon Powell

There's an old joke about envy and Greek people. I think we understand it slightly better than most people.

An Irishman, a Frenchman, and a Greek go before God. God offers them whatever they want. The Irishman stands up first.

"Faith and begorrah, me neighbor, me neighbor back in County Kilkenny, why, he has three strong fine sons, two hundred cattle, and a modern dairy barn. Aye, but I only have the two sons, fifty cattle, and me dairy barn is old. I want what me neighbor has, so can you give me that, God?"

"Done!" says God, and the Irishman has what his neighbor has.

The Frenchman stands up. "Oui, allow me zee, eh, honneur, mon Dieu, of your address. In zee village of Olivet, where I live, my neighbor, he makes zee best cheese in all zee land. Always zee best cheese. Fine and très creamy...he has four daughters who are zee best milkmaids, two beeg, beeg pastures, for his cows, oui, and he has a beeg new house. Alors, my house is old and small, I have only two daughters and their hands, mon Dieu, they milk zee cow with fists hard and tight like zee boxing, c'est terrible! I have only zee one pasture, and it is no good! Mon Dieu, pardonnez-moi, s'il vous plaît, can you please give me what my neighbor has?

"Done!" says God, and the Frenchman has what his neighbor has.

The Greek stands up. "Yes, yes. I tell you pleez: back on Kefalonia, my neighbor hez six goats, three sons, two daughters, and many, many, so many lemon trees -- "

"Oh, OK," God holds up his hand. "I understand. How many more goats, sons, daughters do you want, and how many lemon trees does your neighbor have -- "

"NO! NO! BURN IT ALL AND KILL HIS FAMILY! ONLY THEN I WILL BE HAPPY!!!"

@Joshua D. why are you concerned what people think of you? If you are putting in the time and energy, acting out of integrity and treating them with respect, then you should not let the "rich kid" talk get to you. I have been in this business for a while and have heard it all from others as well, especially before I was 30, but it doesn't bother me. They all know that I bust my butt and take large risks, plus they all respect me because of how I run my business and who I am as a person. 

Well like others have said I think biggest issue is you married into a wealthy family and your profile pic. One of those is very easy to fix

Contractors come and go but tenants are your long term customers. I've known my contractors for years and they inevitably ask 'You own this one, too?'  Stealth wealth is the way to go for me. 

I am very careful appearing like another working stiff around my tenants- long term customers that matter. Try picking up rent in your fancy truck and new kicks.  When the tenants think you're rich anyway and don't need the rent, you're in trouble. I'm sure we'll hear about it...

Thanks Everyone im gonna try and work on  some things. Profile pic is changed but i would never have my old as any pic anywhere. just did on here because really didnt know anyone personally. 

@Steve Vaughan

I remember the first time I met my first graduate school landlord. I had rented this cheap basement over the phone, sent my check to the address, and the second Sunday, out of nowhere as I'm relaxing in my sweats, there's a knock on my door. My landlord and her husband are out there, dressed to the nines in their Sunday church-and-brunch best, fully expecting to be allowed in for a snap inspection, no such thing as quiet enjoyment in their book.

I was a nice kid. I let them in, showed them around, nothing to hide. She told me again and again that she expected me to keep the basement clean and have the rent in on time. Then we all went out and she continued the high-handing as they climbed into their BMW, up to the minute they drove off.

I hated that woman. In retrospect, this was probably all a big defensive show, an amateur's bumbling way to try to train a student living in an obviously illegal basement apartment. But I was offended, and angry, and she was permanently in my bad books. I've never forgotten that experience.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Steve Vaughan

I remember the first time I met my first graduate school landlord. I had rented this cheap basement over the phone, sent my check to the address, and the second Sunday, out of nowhere as I'm relaxing in my sweats, there's a knock on my door. My landlord and her husband are out there, dressed to the nines in their Sunday church-and-brunch best, fully expecting to be allowed in for a snap inspection, no such thing as quiet enjoyment in their book.

I was a nice kid. I let them in, showed them around, nothing to hide. She told me again and again that she expected me to keep the basement clean and have the rent in on time. Then we all went out and she continued the high-handing as they climbed into their BMW, up to the minute they drove off.

I hated that woman. In retrospect, this was probably all a big defensive show, an amateur's bumbling way to try to train a student living in an obviously illegal basement apartment. But I was offended, and angry, and she was permanently in my bad books. I've never forgotten that experience.

 Yep, those feelings run deep. After all these years it still sticks in your craw.

When we 'sold' our CO house, it was on a lease option to our cul-de-sac neighbor.  Their LL would pick up rent personally every month in his corvette.  They had major resentments against him and couldn't get out of there soon enough. If you have blue collar tenants, be blue collar.  Common sense you would think but often not so much...

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