If you are looking to hire a contractor for a rental home renovation project, it is extremely important to do your due diligence, especially if you are looking into financing for a large home renovation project. You can also be on the lookout for key signs that your contractor is scamming you or acting professionally. To guide you, here are our do’s and don’ts of good contractors.
Good Contractors DO
- Give clients detailed, written estimates. Good contractors break down the estimated costs of labor and supplies and provide it to clients in writing.
- Provide all requested information and obtain necessary permits. Good contractors will not only work with you to provide you all their references and licenses upon request, they will also work to obtain required permits and make sure your project is up-to-code.
- Ask for a percentage of money upfront. Good contractors only ask for the money for supplies upfront and labor after work is done. You can even find the supplies yourself.
- Respond in a timely manner. Good contractors understand the value of communication and will provide you with regular updates and respond to your questions promptly.
- Respect your property and belongings. Good contractors always take preventative measures to protect your furniture and other belongings and will carefully move items out of their way if needed. Even if you do not have any property, you may have tenants with property, and respecting property is a sign of professionalism and ethics.
Good Contractors DON’T
- Suggest updates that are not agreed upon in the contract without revisiting the contract. Be wary of the contractor that asks you to “take their word for it” that a new upgrade would be better for you without reviewing it.
- Tell you that permits are unnecessary. There are some exceptions based on your jurisdiction, but in a city you will need a permit. Good contractors also should never ask you to get the permit yourself.
- Pressure you to make decisions. A good contractor never offers a discount for you to sign an agreement sooner.
- Solicit projects simply because they have leftover materials. Sometimes contractors do have extra materials or are able to offer amazing discounts, yet they won't solicit you because of access to materials. Also, generally, the client purchases the materials and so leftover materials belong to the client, not the contractor.
- Increase the cost of the work that they already bid out. While their might be unforeseen problems, contractors won't change their price for agreed upon work from what they had on their estimate.
For more insights on finding a great contractor, see the FTC Guide on Hiring a Contractor. For easy, inexpensive rental property upgrades, see the "Property Upgrades" section of our blog.
Related: 4 Updates Your Rental Home Needs Every Decade, Real Estate Investors and Renovations