If you’re a real estate investor, you may eventually need to know how to find a contractor because working with the right contractor is integral to your success. However, finding a quality contractor is a tough task. The good news is that there are several ways to find the right contractor for your projects. We spoke with the industry experts who shared their tips on how to find and hire a contractor.
The following are the top 15 ways that show how to find a contractor:
1. Get Referrals From Real Estate Investors You Trust
Denise Supplee, Co-Founder, SnapLandlord
A good contractor has a solid reputation within the industry. Word of mouth is valuable — it may not always be perfect, but it’s a great first step to find a good contractor. You can check which ones are good contractors through getting referrals from the people in real estate industry whom you trust.
2. Check Local Yard Signs
Phil Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors
Even though we are in a digital age, one of the best ways to find a good contractor is through yard signs. Yard signs show that they are doing work in your area and they are trusted by your neighbors. Yard signs are particularly important for exterior home contractors because it allows their work to be a form of advertisement for their company.
3. Get Referrals From Owner-Occupants of Neighboring Properties
Paul DeFeis, Managing Partner, Trade Mark Design & Build
Check the other properties within your vicinity to see which ones are nicely made. If you like the properties within your area, ask the owners who their contractors were. Ask them how they liked the way the contractors did their projects. The evidence of a quality work should also be supported by your neighbors’ testimonials. It’s best to ensure that the contractor can provide both quality output and great service.
4. Get Referrals From Your Bank or Lender
Susan Naftulin, President and Co-founder, Rehab Financial Group
Your bank or lender is a terrific source for a list of quality contractors. Lenders have worked with different real estate investors, who have worked with different contractors. Maintain a good business relationship with your bank so it would be easy to ask them for referrals.
5. Check With Your Local Builders Associations
Nolan Beery, Sales Director, Acculevel
Almost every area has a builders association with a directory listing of providers that participate in home shows, forums, and other community involvement events. Board members and administrative staff of builders associations work and live in the communities they serve. They can be an ideal source of trust for recommending quality local contractors.
6. Check Your Local Paper Classified Ads
Carib Daniel Martin, Architect, CARIB DANIEL MARTIN Architecture + Design
It may sound old school, but checking your local paper classified ads section may be a good way to find great contractors. Still, be sure you meet and interview them to get to know them better and to do due diligence about their experience and references before you decide to work with them.
7. Interview Several Potential Candidates
Jody Costello, Founder, Contractors From Hell
If you want to find a good contractor, you have to interview several potential candidates and ask them questions. A good contractor is transparent about their business practices with their clients. They are willing to share information about their business history and dealings, including testimonials from previous clients, what problems they have encountered from their past projects and how they approached such problems and history of lawsuits and mechanics liens, if any.
8. Check Your Local Construction Stores
Blake Aylott, Project Manager, Project Build Construction Group, Inc.
Good contractors can usually be found from construction stores such as The Home Depot. That’s where they buy their materials. You can talk to them when you see them shopping and ask for their contact information. They should be willing to provide you their contact details. After all, good contractors should have good interpersonal skills because it means the contractor knows how to actively build a relationship with the customer.
If you want discounts at your local construction store, check out our article on the best home improvement store credit cards.
9. Referrals From Your Municipality
Timothy Wenger, Consultant, Maven Labor Solutions
One way you can find good contractors is to ask for referrals from the municipality you are in. Call your local municipality code enforcement department and ask them to refer you a contractor in the industry you are in need of. It may take a little bit of time and effort to get them to help you. However, once they do, you’ll get quality referrals.
10. Ask for Referrals From Construction Equipment Salespeople
Jason Reed, Specialist, The Duplex Doctors
Contractors often do business with the construction equipment salespeople, so the latter is a great source to find good contractors. You can visit your local construction equipment shops and talk to their salespeople. They will most likely have a list of their frequent contractor clients whom they can refer to you.
11. Check the Members of Reputable Construction Organizations
Tim Brown, Owner & Marketer, Hook Agency
Some highly professional contractor companies often avoid listings like Houzz, HomeAdvisor and the Better Business Bureau. However, you can find good contractors from the members of reputable construction organizations and companies with solid brand reputation. Two examples of these are National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and GAF for factory-certified roofers.
12. Get Referrals From Brokers or Real Estate Agents
David McNicholas, President, McNicholas Construction, Inc.
Your brokers and local real estate agents may have a list of good contractors whom they can recommend to you. Just make sure that you do your own research before finally hiring their referrals as some brokers just recommend contractors to earn a commission or referral fee.
13. Ask Google
Travis Knight, Contractor & Owner, Beach Cities Mechanical
One great way to find good contractors is to check various online sources. You can start by Googling contractors near your area. It’s important to check the different online reviews about them to be sure that they have good customer feedback. You can find unbiased reviews on Yelp, Ripoff Report and Customer Lobby.
14. Ask Your Family & Friends for Recommendations
Tanner Bond, Director of Demand Generation, Modernize
Start with your close network and ask your family and friends if they can recommend a good contractor for you as they might have worked with one for their own home projects. Your close circle will surely be honest with you and won’t refer anyone that can’t be trusted.
15. Know exactly what you want before you talk with a contractor!
Anastasios Koutsogiannis, Content Marketing Manager, GenieBelt
Before you take the first big step of talking with a contractor, you want to have a detailed and carefully elaborated plan in place. By knowing exactly what you need and what materials you should use, during the building process, it is much easier to find the right person for the job.
The Bottom Line – How to Find a Contractor
Finding a reputable contractor is important for any home improvement or real estate project. The best contractors have a history of experience, quality output and satisfied clients. They’re also willing to document their work in a contract. Make sure you know what qualities you’re looking for and use above expert tips to help you find a good contractor for your upcoming projects.