Searching for affordable contractors

2 Replies

Planning the renovation on my flip. I've mapped out exactly what needs to be done. Interviewing contractors through Home Adviser. They seem definitely qualified, licensed, experienced and insured. My problem is, I feel like I'm getting quoted the "retail" price on everything. I'd like to do better on pricing somehow, but not at the cost of shoddy work.  Also, what is your feeling about hiring a general contractor for everything, rather than hiring individual painter, roofer, floor installer, etc? 

I can't speak about your experience in home remodeling because I don't know what it is, but a good rule of thumbs is, if you have none or a limited amount of experience, hire a GC.   Another rule that I have recently learned, almost the hard way, is if the question ever comes up, Should I hire a *enter trade here*?  Then the answer is almost always yes you should.  You'll spend just as much money by not hiring a GC, even though it doesn't say that on paper, as you would if you did hire the GC.  Most projects also take longer to complete without a GC.  This is largely because GCs have connections and have built relationships with subs.  GCs are also better equipped to  handle the surprises that will eventually pop up during a rehab. 

The main issue for not hiring a GC is that subs will be making multiple trips back because of something that you missed or because you thought you were ready for the sub to show up and you actually weren't ready.  Good subs will charge for multiple trips, as they should because it's their time.  

You can find good subs or GCs on Home Advisor, but you're also taking a risk.  The best way to find a good GC I think is to ask for referrals.   Maybe from people that you know that have had large projects done on their own house or from other investors.  

It'll be hard not to get retail price from someone that you haven't built a relationship with.  Typically, even once the relationship is established, you'll still be charged retail, but the GC will trust you more and therefore will do more to help you out and give you more of his time. He might even stop charging so much, but I wouldn't count on that.

I personally think hiring a GC is the way to go.

I have been in the real estate/construction business on and off since I was 16 yrs old. Consistent as a sub for the last 4 yrs. I have been part of multiple flips as a sub and have seen almost everything you can possible imagine that a sub will do to an inexperienced client. 

My suggestion is, if you don't have the experience you should hire a GC. You pay the price for the education. Just ask questions as you go along. That is how you continue to expand your own knowledge of construction and keep your contractor honest. Just like if you were to go to college, you pay full price because you don't know better. Learn more, pay less. BUT, never try to cut too close to the bone. Because you can never buy a Rolls for the price of a Toyota.

Im in Los Angeles. If you ever need and extra set of eyes let me know.

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