Philadelphia, PA - Best Practices to find Rehab Contractors

7 Replies

Hello All, I have dabbled in real estate for some time now. Personally, I only own two units but I have been active in helping my father "fix and flip" and "fix and rent" about 15 properties over the past 10 years. My personal REI strategy is the fix and rent strategy but I am faced with the sad truth of limited contracting skills so fixing up properties properly is a challenge for me. I am looking to form relationships with local contractors that I can work with on rehabbing investment properties in Philadelphia, PA and surrounding towns. I was hoping there may be a "best practice" or helpful guide that I can follow as I try to find a contractor. Thanks all!

@David Vitarelli

When out driving and you see renovations happening at a house, pull over and ask to speak with the GC, see their work and if you like it ask for a card and see if they might be interested in doing business.

What kind of contractor are you looking for? I live in the area and work with a bunch :)

Hello Tom, the type of contractors I will need will vary from property to property. For example, the particular property I am looking at presently may have some structural issues and will most likely require an entire gut this case I would want to put the work to a GC who can sub out individual tasks or self perform. But in other cases, a property may need considerably less work, thereby allowing me to act as GC to then sub out specialized services i.e. HVAC, Electric, carpentry, etc... Any information you can provide is helpful, thank you.

@David Vitarelli

Hi David,

Finding a good contractor(s) is tough work.  Many people have made good suggestions in both this thread and other threads.  You could also try doing a brute force method.I paid a virtual assistant on UpWork (Odesk), $9 to generate a list of contact info for all contractors within a radius of the subject property.

This gave me a list of 200 or so contractors.  I then shot gun emailed all of them with the basics, (time frame, rough budget, summary of the scope of work, address of house, etc).  Then had them all show up together on two days.  You are going to get all sorts of responses.  It will be up to you to initially screen them by their appearance, way they talk, bla bla bla.  You can then further screen them by their bids, references and make sure they are licensed and insured and in good standing.

Make sure you have a scope of work ready to go!  This is very important!  Otherwise the bids you receive will not be directly comparative as you will be relying on the individual contractors memory/interpretation of what you want.  Generate this and print off however many copies to give each contractor one.

Good luck


I myself am a GC from texas. We usually do between 4 and 5 rehabs for investors a month. Finding licensed and insured contractors that dont charge an arm and a leg is hard. Posting your rehab on sites like redbeacon or homeadvisor is a good way to get in touch with contractors who care about their work. It also gives you a chance to screen reviews on their last few jobs and see if they are capable of handling your investment

Good advice to try to find people who are working on your particular type of project.  Just because a guy can build a retail store or shopping mall doesn't mean he's a good fit for a rehab, or custom home, or duplex.

Check out the free app called "smith." It allows you to post a description and pictures of a job, then communicate with contractors who message you for estimates and appointment times.

@David Vitarelli

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