When searching for GC's

9 Replies

Hello from Tampa FL!

When searching for the right contractor for your investment project, what questions do you ask these prospective GC's?

I usually ask:

Are they "investor friendly" or do they usually work with fix&flips?

How many projects they take on at a time?

Can you provide 5 references?

Do you have examples (pictures) of past projects completed?

......

With that being said I am looking for more feedback and some more questions people may ask when choosing the right GC.

Thanks all!

@J Scott's books on Flipping and rehab have great info on screening GC's.  Before I get to an interview I like to weed out potentials by doing my own research and check the Florida Department of LIcensing and make sure they are licensed and that it's current.  I also like to search google for "<contractor name/company> reviews" just to see what I get.  Of course the BBB is also a great place to look but becoming let relevant the more we come to rely on the internet.

Another way I like to vet GC's and trades is ask them to come quote a couple of jobs.  I say a couple because anybody can show up once, but is it a business practice?  Do their quotes fall in line with others or your research online of what a job should cost?

Other things I look for:

E & O and liability insurance?

Own tools (ask! you'd be surprised how many call themselves contractors but don't have their own tools of the trade)?

Truck?

Hope that helps...

Hey @Charles Soper ,

That is some great advice thank you sir. Seems like that process of vetting is exactly what I need to weed out the unreliable GC's down here in Tampa. 

One thing I have learned about investment real estate in Florida, is that there are an abundance of GC's out there looking for work, but the good ones that check out to all of those standards are few and far between. 

And on the point about owning tools, I have a funny story in which I was interviewing a GC who said he doesn't actually own the tools and that he "out sources" them. Mind boggling to me for sure... 

Another question, how much should the GC get up front for a project, if anything? I have been informed by some that the GC should be able to put up about 1/3 of the project before getting paid, but I do deal with investors saying their GC's sometimes ask for half upfront. Any feedback on that?

Thanks!

Another great way to find GC's and tradespeople that I've used (stole from @Brandon Turner I think) is to ask the follow-on tradesman who they like to follow.  So if you are looking for an drywall guy you might ask the guy who does trim work and doors.

In my limited experience most GC's will ask for 50% up front.  I was uncomfortable with that to start (and the bigger the job the more discomfort) and found that a lot of guys will negotiate how they get paid.  I've also heard of investors accompanying their GC's to a supply house and buying all the supplies and then only paying the GC for their time.  Kind of up to you to feel out who you're working with.

GC or general contractors  they dont need to own tools , only a phone and a pencil .  They bid a job and then sub out the different jobs to each trade.  Their profit is the difference . 

@Mike DeBuccio Jr.   I hear the term " Investor friendly "    What does that mean to you ? 

Hey @Matthew Paul

When I say investor friendly I basically mean just making sure they know what they are getting into with investor projects; can handle full rehab projects? can they work with cheaper materials to better fit the flip and the needs of the investor? can they work fast (hard money) ect. 

Mike

Hey @Mike DeBuccio Jr.  Heres what contractors hear when you ask "are you investor friendly "    we hear cheap .  

I dont know about Florida , but here in Maryland contractors are swamped , we cant be fast because all the subs are busy we have to wait . I have a roof job and its a 2 week wait to get roof top delivery . 

One question to ask contractors now is  " how far are you backed up? "

We are getting calls now from customers price checking .  I have to tell them if they got 2 or 3 bids and they are close , dont expect anything much cheaper .  Prices are finally back up and jobs are profitable again . 

matthew.. completely agree... when I start getting asked these questions about "investor friendly" i usually run the other way...because it does mean cheap.. I flip it around and ask the investor how many jobs they can afford to run at the same time, what's your financial capability, do you have to wait until I finished one job before you can afford to pay me to start another? as a GC that is constantly doing investor projects these are the questions I ask them.. good contractors stay busy...if your not busy than that is a red flag...

To piggyback off this topic does anyone have any solid GC referrals in Palm Beach County?