Many times it is easier to spot a bad contractor than it is to spot a good contractor. When choosing the right contractor we want to look at their reputation, work portfolio, and how they communicate with us. The right contractor should be trustworthy, have a proven track record and treat us with respect.
Being Trustworthy is one of the most important traits when choosing a contractor since they will be working on your property and be in your home. So how can we make sure someone is trustworthy?
Reputation speaks volumes! Ask friends, family and neighbors if they can recommend a good contractor. Someone that does good work will come highly recommended. Check out online ratings as well. People love to talk about bad contractors which can easily help you narrow down your choices.
Reputation really is everything when it comes to contractors. If they have a strong reputation it is likely hard earned and will speak volumes about them being credible and trustworthy.
A solid contractor will have a portfolio with examples of their work that you can review. A reliable contractor will not mind showing you examples of their work.
Important Fact: Seeing examples of their work also helps you to decide if their style and yours can mesh well to accomplish your goals.
It is important that a contractor has the ability to communicate with you. Before you ever hire anyone be mindful of how long they take to call you back. Everyone gets busy so it is understandable when a contractor doesn’t call back the same day. However, you should expect a phone call within the next 24 hours. If they take longer than that to get back to you we recommend moving on and finding someone with a faster response time.
Important Fact: Even if a contractor gets back to you quickly, you also want to make sure that your questions are answered and that the contractor is patient with your questions.
Sometimes you meet a contractor and just something about them (you usually cannot put your finger on it) does not sit right with you. No matter how great someone’s references are, or how impressive their work is, if you are not comfortable hiring them, don’t! You do not HAVE TO hire anyone. It is your property and it is very important that you are comfortable with the person that you choose.
Nothing Beats Due Diligence
It is really up to you to do the research before you hire anyone. You are letting this person onto your property and trusting them with costly home improvements. Make sure they can be trusted by checking references and before and after work. In addition, ask them to verify they have all the right business licenses and insurance in place.
Ask, check and then check some more. Any contractor that is a good contractor will not mind answering your questions and providing you with proof of coverage. If they get annoyed with your diligence, run! You want a contractor that really appreciates having you as a client.
Final Tips on Choosing the Right Contractor
Once you have made the choice, be sure to get every detail in writing. Do not leave anything up to chance. A strong contract that outlines all the expectations and all the responsibilities of each party helps to keep everyone on the same page. Look to provide extensive and detailed explanations to ensure crystal-clear expectations.
One of the biggest mistakes property owners make is that they are hesitant to demand that everything be put in writing. It can be hard to “speak up” when a contractor is promising something and say “hey, can you put that in writing in our contract”? If it is not in writing then you cannot count on it. The right contractor will be more than willing to put all the job details in writing.
Lastly, do NOT pay for all the work up front. It is common for contractors to ask for a fee upfront to minimize their risk and cover job materials. If it is in the contract to pay a percentage up front that is fine. We do not recommend you pay no more than 50% up front and do not pay the remaining balance until you are 100% satisfied with the outcome. If you pay the full balance before the job is finished, you may have a challenging time getting them to finish the work.
Getting Help from a Rental Property Maintenance Company
Here at Blue Collar, we know that investment property maintenance is a full time job, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR full time job. If you’re tired of spending too much time dealing with maintenance requests, finding reliable vendors, and juggling the logistic of scheduling service calls, contact us today. We’re ready to help!
Contact us today to learn more about the ways we help investors in Chicago.