As a real estate agent I’m often working with various contractors to have roofs replaced, electric gremlins sorted out, plumbing leaks fixed, and so on. On top of those tasks I own a few rentals properties that are almost always under the knife. The best way to upgrade your tenants is to upgrade your rentals, but that is a lesson for another day.
Resources like Angie’s list are a great way to help sort contractors but not all people have the same expectations. In my experiences both good and bad I’ve made some mistakes that I can help most any person avoid down the line. So lets get into those lessons. You live and you learn but the most important thing is to learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t make the same mistakes.
1.) Get References and depending on the scope of work go see the work that was done. For siding and roofing this is as easy as a drive by. Interior work not quite so easy.
2.) Get a copy of the contractors license for your own protection and verify that they are insured.
3.) Request a defined scope of work that clearly defines what is going to be done and how much it’s going to cost.
4.) Never tell the contractor what you want to spend, let them come up with the price. If you say I have 20,000 to spend and the task costs 10,000 most guys won’t hesitate to charge 20,000. I’m not suggesting contractors are con artists but most people are hiring contractors because they can’t do the work on their own and are naive to the cost.
5.) Get 3-4 quotes. These will vary greatly but the time spent with each contractor might make the final decision for you. Once you’re face to face it’s easy to tell who is the real deal and who isn’t. Price is always a consideration but the cheaper guys are usually cheaper for a reason. You do tend to get what you pay for but this is a hard and fast rule.
6.) Don’t pay for labor until the job is done. It’s customary to pay for materials up front and then pay for the labor when the job is complete. This pay schedule could change for larger jobs that might require larger sums of money which are often called draws.
I’ll update this post if I think of anything I missed. Looking for a contractor in the Gettysburg Area? Fill out the contact form to the right of this post and I’ll put you in touch with people that I know will do a top quality job.