Are you planning on investing in rental properties in Portland Oregon? If so, you’re going to need to find a great contractor that you can call when the property is in need of repairs.
If you’ve never hired a contractor before, this article will offer you several tips that you can use for finding a contractor you can trust that will offer tremendous value and ROI.
1. Be proactive, not reactive
Have you ever heard the old phrase, “The best time to look for a job is when you don’t need one”? The same principle applies to contractors. If you’re only looking for one when you need one, you’re setting yourself up for problems from the start. Instead, be proactive. Have a continually evolving list of people you could call for various problems and continue to add people to the list even when you don’t need someone at the moment.
2. Understand price vs. cost
These two terms may sound the same, but there’s a key difference when it comes to hiring anyone or making investments in your business.
“Price” is the monetary amount paid when you purchase something, but “cost” is the long-term monetary amount paid over the life of a product or service. For example, the price of dishwasher A might be $400, and the price of dishwasher B might be $500. The first option has a lower price, but if it requires an extra $20 per month in energy bills that the second option doesn’t have, it’s not really saving you anything in the long run.
You see, buying for cost rather than price is a subtle difference, but it can have a tremendous effect on your business. This principle also applies to hiring a contractor for your property.
3. Ask for referrals
One of the best ways to find good contractors is by asking others who they have used for similar work. It’s a simple yet effective method that can help you out as well. But get referrals from a number of different people you trust. When people know a contractor has done great work in the past, it’s likely they’ll do so in the future.
4. Google them
References are great, but doing your own research is also key to picking a contractor. It’s like a referral… but from tons of people on the internet. Here, you can also check if they have been a part of any shady activity or if there are any active disputes. Check out their profile on the Better Business Bureau and see if they’re in good standing. If they’re private that could be a bad sign.
Putting their name, their company’s name, your city, and terms like “scam,” “rip off,” “complaints,” or “court” into a search can often unearth any red flags about the person. For example, if you wanted to find out more about First Rate Construction Company in Metropolis, you would search things like:
- First Rate Construction Metropolis
- First Rate Construction scam
- First Rate Construction sue
5. Check references
Always check references. Despite what you might think, even references supplied by the contractor will generally be honest. Also make sure to ask for examples of the kind of work you plan on getting done.
It’s a good idea to ask for multiple referrals and from the most recent jobs they’ve completed. Call the reference and ask if the contractor showed up on time, if they completed the work, if they tried to change the dollar amount mid-work or after it was done, and if they would use them again.
Even ask professionals you like who have previously worked on your home. For the most part, good subcontractors tend to work with other good subcontractors. Ask your electrician if they know any good plumbers. Ask the Portland plumbers if they know any good carpenters and so on.
You can also look at review sites like Angie’s List (now Angi) or Yelp for reviews.
6. Ask questions
References and recommendations are great, but they aren’t specified to you. Asking the right questions that are tailored to your needs is a great way to find the right contractor for you. This pre-screening process will help you weed out ones you don’t like early on. Here are some examples you can use:
- How long have you been in this line of work?
- What skill would you say you are the best at? Do you like bigger remodeling jobs or small repairs more?
- What job tasks do you hate doing?
- In what cities do you typically work?
- How many employees work for you? (Or work in your company if you are not talking to the boss.)
- How busy are you?
- Do you pull permits, or would I need to?
- If I were to hire you, when could you start knocking out tasks?
- What payment schedule do you prefer? When will you want the final payment?
Then, set up a time to meet and show them the project if you have one. Set an appointment so you can see if they are on time, look professional, and see how they act in general. Do they seem knowledge and capable for the job? If everything feels okay after this first meeting, you’ll be able to make an informed decision whether to hire them or not.
7. The 6 a.m. Home Depot trick
Go to Home Depot at 6 a.m. and meet the contractors that are there. These are the contractors who get up early and get their supplies before heading over to the job site. This is a strong indication that they know what they are doing and are not going to take advantage of you. Although this is no silver bullet, it can give you an idea of contractors who take their work seriously and get started early in the day.
This will also be a good time for you to ask the store’s employees who they would recommend. They have a unique insight into the quality of materials that the contractors use, as well as the experience level and management style of those who buy from them.
8. Have contractors compete
Sometimes the best answer is not finding one contractor, but several who can compete for your business. Having them compete will help breed competitiveness that will drive price and quality. If you let them know you have other pros on hand, they will be sure to give you their best prices, quality, and attention.
Some investors or homeowners call three to five contractors to do an Oregon bid and tell them all the same time, both to minimize the hassle of meeting multiple contractors and encouraging lean bids. Keep their names and contact information on file in a place you’ll remember so you always have it when you need it.
Source – Bigger Pockets
Contact 4 Rent Local
At 4 Rent Local, we specialize in providing professional property management services for Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area.
Our team saves owners the time and hassle of managing properties themselves. This includes finding a great contractor and managing investment properties.
To learn more about the services that we can offer you, contact us today by calling (503) 447-7788 or click here to connect with us online.