Ideas for identifying General & Sub-Contractors for Rehabs?

6 Replies

Hello, we’re new to the Phoenix and Tucson area and have recently purchased several single-family and multi-family residence investment properties. We’re seeking to identify reputable General and Sub-Contractor professionals who can help with rehabs, additions, value-add, etc.

We can all agree that speed (and always quality) is the key to turning multi-family apartments and flipping houses. We've gone a good job in identifying deal flow, financing, legal, and partner investors, but don't have a good handle yet on the trades.


The way I think of it is you will have to compromise at least one of the three main qualities for contractors: speed, quality of work, cost. I've found that if you want speed and hire a cheap contractor, the quality of work will be low. If you want a cheap contractor to do a good job, it will take them a long time (and still no guarantee of good quality of work). First, I'd establish what of those three qualities is most important to you and prioritize accordingly.

When it comes to actually finding your contractor, referrals are great. It sounds like you have a good network in the area (deal finders, lenders, partner investors, etc.). Ask them, if they're a partner investor they probably will know what kind of contractor you're looking for and can introduce you. If all else fails, I've had better success searching on Angie's List instead of Home Advisor but that could be just my experience. Hire a new contractor to a small job, see how they do and expand from there :)

Jay Scott recommended going to Home Depot at 7 in the morning to find good tradespeople in one of the podcasts. It's actually great advice. I've found roofers, electricians, plumbers, you name it. They're there early getting material so you know they're working and being there at 7 means they aren't there guys that don't show up to a job site until noon.

I love @t @Tylor Billings trick. I'll be using that one. Finding good contractors is just the hardest thing. I haven't found it being about the tradeoffs mentioned. I've found it being persistence and luck. The best contractor often knows other great contractors. I lucked onto a very affordable roofer, now his brother in law is my electrician, and I'm about to do a sizable job with a general contractor he works for.

A Good GC will only work with good subs. So try to find a good GC and explain to him that you are a local investor and that time and quality is your #1 priority. Explain that if he works with on price he will have repeat business, that should make the project more affordable to you. Then get the names from his subs for future reference, if you only need an individual trade. A professional GC will understand that he'll make more money with repeat business over time than charging a lot for a one time job. 

@Matthew Allen

Both @Tylor Billings and @Kenton LeVay dropped some great advice so I just want to add to it. As a Electrical Contractor, since I established myself to the point where i stay busy by word of mouth and return client, I just work with people that i like. Not saying you have to invite your contractor for Thanksgiving but respect goes a long ways. The type of clients that try to micromanage (the kind that ask for recipes on a lump sum bid) or have a ego bigger then their project, I stay away from. The contractors I’ve seen that usually work with people like that are desperate and there is a reason for it. Either they are new contractors or they don’t do good business. (Now you can find really good new contractor at great prices because they are trying establish them self or don’t how much to charge)

Always keep multiple sub contractors of each trade, even if you really like one sub, their schedule may not line up with your project at that given time. Even if you were to choose one sub over the other, the good sub’s won’t mind and still bid your next project, that’s apart of the business. Now Gc’s maybe different because they are more of manager and hire for the job so i can see them being more flexible.

Since Im transitioning to the real estate investment business to do some distressed/value add single and multi family I would love to help anyway I can. I been here my whole life and I know Arizona very well. Best of luck to you.