Tips on Hiring a General Contractor

8 Replies

I am working with a number of first-time fix and flippers who are in the process of renovating their first property. What are some good tips to give them as they are interviewing contractors for their projects? What should they ask for from the contractors prior to signing a contract to move forward with work?

@Andre Grant-Acquah

Things I would ask a GC:

- Ask their experience level and for references (and cross reference that with public reviews)

- I would also want to know if they have their insurance and licenses

- Ask how long it's going to take. Maybe implement deadlines with a draw schedule.

- Past history with the township their working in. Knowledge of the inspector of the township.

- Another question might be: Who is in their network of subcontractors that are going to be working on the project?

I'd also like to go see some of their completed work as well.

@Andre Grant-Acquah

Building on Dave's comments,

Number one tip that is the most important: Make sure they are licensed and insured!

As a GC can I ask the question a different way: Why would I want to work with an inexperienced flipper? They are going to want a ton of work at no cost... 

The best advice I can offer is to find GC's that you can get along with and are patient. Then try to figure out a way to align incentives so everyone benefits when work is done well and on time. 

Most importantly, if a deal does not have the money to hire skilled contractors then it's not a good deal. 

Thanks for the feedback. To elaborate on your deadlines and draw schedule comment, what other deliverables should they ask for prior to signing a contract?

Originally posted by @Dave Van Horn :

@Andre Grant-Acquah

Things I would ask a GC:

- Ask their experience level and for references (and cross reference that with public reviews)

- I would also want to know if they have their insurance and licenses

- Ask how long it's going to take. Maybe implement deadlines with a draw schedule.

- Past history with the township their working in. Knowledge of the inspector of the township.

- Another question might be: Who is in their network of subcontractors that are going to be working on the project?

I'd also like to go see some of their completed work as well.

Jeffrey, presuming they have no money or want "ton of work" for no cost because they are "inexperienced" is a terrible assumption. How does that contribute to this post?

Originally posted by @Jeffrey Stasz :

As a GC can I ask the question a different way: Why would I want to work with an inexperienced flipper? They are going to want a ton of work at no cost... 

The best advice I can offer is to find GC's that you can get along with and are patient. Then try to figure out a way to align incentives so everyone benefits when work is done well and on time. 

Most importantly, if a deal does not have the money to hire skilled contractors then it's not a good deal. 

@Andre Grant-Acquah It is normal for us contractors to vet clients, part of @Jeffrey Stasz ‘s posts are typical newbie clients we encounter, and if you want to, do the research and double back on what your clients need to know about construction and it’s management to get better picture. For example anything behind walls are mostly change orders (ie mold), most newbies miss these kinds of issues and it will arise; now we are here to do a job, in and out, as quickly as possible, we don’t have time to go to litigation or argument because they didn’t know that those are extras, and even more so they don’t have the budget for it.
On a different note, ask them to buy J Scotts book, it’s a great start.

Hi Manolo thanks for your input. I agree, both sides should vet each other to make sure there's a good fit. My clients have already been qualified and are fully-funded with their own cash or have already closed on the property with a hard money lender.  Many are looking to build a relationships with good contractor for present and future flips.

Originally posted by @Manolo D. :

Andre Grant-Acquah It is normal for us contractors to vet clients, part of Jeffrey Stasz ‘s posts are typical newbie clients we encounter, and if you want to, do the research and double back on what your clients need to know about construction and it’s management to get better picture. For example anything behind walls are mostly change orders (ie mold), most newbies miss these kinds of issues and it will arise; now we are here to do a job, in and out, as quickly as possible, we don’t have time to go to litigation or argument because they didn’t know that those are extras, and even more so they don’t have the budget for it.
On a different note, ask them to buy J Scotts book, it’s a great start.

Originally posted by @Andre Grant-Acquah :
Hi Manolo thanks for your input. I agree, both sides should vet each other to make sure there's a good fit. My clients have already been qualified and are fully-funded with their own cash or have already closed on the property with a hard money lender.  Many are looking to build a relationships with good contractor for present and future flips.

Originally posted by @Manolo D.:

Andre Grant-Acquah It is normal for us contractors to vet clients, part of Jeffrey Stasz ‘s posts are typical newbie clients we encounter, and if you want to, do the research and double back on what your clients need to know about construction and it’s management to get better picture. For example anything behind walls are mostly change orders (ie mold), most newbies miss these kinds of issues and it will arise; now we are here to do a job, in and out, as quickly as possible, we don’t have time to go to litigation or argument because they didn’t know that those are extras, and even more so they don’t have the budget for it.
On a different note, ask them to buy J Scotts book, it’s a great start.

 Correct Andre, it is a two way street, and "future" business is non existent to us, if you hire us for our work, hire us, otherwise, we won't even think about it. We have heard that story too often. In our company, we usually offer single and best. On another note, even if they have excess funds for a project, it does not mean that they are willing to spend their maximum budget, they usually think that if they spend less, they earn more, usually contractors get the short end of that stick. It is more important for us to know that the client understands how we work and construction standards than the money we will make. I will take a 50k profit over a 70k profit if it means that I don't have to chase money and 2 bottles of headache pills or fight every change order or explain why the change order occurred.

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