Finding sub-contractors

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There is always discussion on finding contractors here, thought I would share my experience. I wanted to see the difference in quality vs pricing of contractors without being in a time constraint on my first flip. I needed work done on my primary residence so I hired several different contractors to do different areas of the house.

I realize this wasn't the most cost effective way of doing the job but I did find a good painting crew and a good flooring crew for future endeavors. Make no mistake everything I found out is the same thing I've read here at least a 100 times but I will say it again.

Painters - used 4 different painters, painting walls, trim, door jams and ceiling

1) Cheap painters ($1 floor sq') cost more than the most expensive painters. I excepted a bid from the cheapest painters to paint my living room, foyer area. I fired these guys about 3/4 way through and had to repaint the entire area, not to mention the mess I had to clean up. I had to pay for materials up front and they were not punctual. They arrived when they pleased no matter what time they told me. Funny thing was this was by far the biggest painting crew out of the bunch, it was comical watching them work. On top of that they took my paint with them, bastards. 

2) I had two mid-range painters ($2 floor sq') with good reputations. The first crew were semi-punctual but the crew leader was always going to the store and seemed unorganized. These guys were to paint two bedrooms, 1 bath, staircase on bonus room. I did have to pay for materials up front and even though they were not fast painters they did a good job.

3) The high bid crew was a cooperation painting outfit ($4 floor sq'). This crew was extremely professional and punctual, also called me 15 times to confirm "best time for me" which was annoying. They took extreme/overboard care of every none painted item, plastic galore. No money upfront and they did a good job. Was it worth the price? no, but they did a good job as advertised. Oh they painted the kitchen, dining room, breakfast area.

4) The last crew I found by asking my best flooring contractors "what painters are good that you've worked with?" Which by the way is a tip I picked up thanks to BP. They were mid-range ($2 floor sq'), punctual, fast and organized. They were originally painting the master bedroom/bath/closet, laundry room and garage. They wanted no money up front and did a great job. They completed the work so fast, with a couple of walls having three coats because they "weren't happy how it looked", that I had them repaint the foyer, living room and do outside trim that I really hadn't planned on doing. Actually the were closer to $1.50 sq' by the time you add it all up. He wouldn't even except a tip that I tried to give for excellent timely work. He told me "The price that's quoted is what you pay, no more". So I found a painting contractor with no stress for time.

Flooring - Took 5 bids for carpet, hardwood repair and grout work.

I didn't hire all these guys because that made no sense. I did pick the contractor based upon price, punctuality, professionalism but most of all because they were investor friendly. These guys actually did some REI and understood my needs. They did a great job and had prices I can work with. So I found a flooring contractor without stressing out.

It's a start of a house flipping team and even though I used some capital to find these guys I feel like it was worth it.

I learned a couple of decades ago to never make an award to a contractor based on the lowest bid. That usually sends up a huge red flag. I don't necessarily go with the most expensive either. I'm not interested in buying him a mink for his wife or a new Mercedes for him.

But the bottom line is to just check them out thoroughly before you sign them up. I mean don't just read their references. Go to the job sites and check them out. At least 3 of them. Then talk to the property owner and get a good overview of their performance overall. Punctuality, appearance, demeanor, attitude, etc. Check their vehicles, tools, equipment, etc.

You're the boss. Hire bad employees and expect the worse. 

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