So how should you look for contractors that you can trust to work on your rental property? Here are some tips on how to choose a contractor for rental property improvements.
1. Get recommendations from friends and online reviewsWord of mouth is a powerful source of information about reliable rental property contractors. Friends, family members, and even business partners who have had property improvements done may be able to recommend the contractor they hired. If they had a good experience with a contractor, they will be more likely to give you the contact information of the contractor they hired.
In addition, the internet is also a good source of contractor recommendations, even material suppliers. There are several sites that collect online reviews per category and location. Look for the type of contractor you want to hire and your location and you will be able to find online reviews that talk about customer experiences with contractors.
One trick in using online recommendations is to cross-reference a contractor across several sites. If they are doing consistently well, especially in the more recent reviews, then hiring them is a good choice. Do take note that online reviews can be faked so stay on the lookout for some of them.
2. Ask if the contractor has the right license and insuranceA license is a good indicator that a contractor has the necessary knowledge and expertise to do rental property improvements, especially the building codes that you are required to comply with. If they have a license to work in the state, they will be able to give you a license number that you can authenticate.
In addition to a license, it is also important to check if the contractor has the right insurance. The insurance will place the liability on the contractor in case they cause damage to your property or adjacent property or if they get injured while working on the job.
3. Refer to the contractor’s work historyA contractor’s track record is a good reference to check before closing a deal, especially if you have a particular rental property improvement in mind. You may have an easier time if you choose a contractor who has done a similar project before. Ask for their portfolio and check if they have experience with the type of renovation you need.
Having a portfolio is a good indicator of a contractor’s capability. A good portfolio has detailed before-and-after images as well as sketches that can give you an idea of how the contractor works. If there are low-resolution images or there aren’t a lot of projects listed, it may indicate unreliable work and you have to think twice before hiring them.
4. Get in touch with previous clientsAsk for a list of previous clients that includes the type of renovation done, the start and end date of the project as well as the clients’ contact number. If you can get in touch with the clients, ask about their experience with their contracts. Some of the good questions you can ask in this interview include the contractor’s work ethic and if the project stayed on schedule. In addition, you should also ask if there were any issues during the project and how the contractor addressed them.
Take your time in choosing a contractor to work on your rental property. Research each contractor thoroughly and if everything checks out, close the deal with confidence and start the project.
About the Author:
Chris Woodard is the Co-Founder of Handle, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers secure their lien rights and get paid faster by automating the collection process for unpaid construction invoices.