“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” There’s a good reason for this well-known saying, and landlords understand it better than most. However, when it comes to maintaining and repairing your property, it quickly gets impossible to handle everything yourself. Even the most hands-on DIY landlord knows when to take a step back and call in the professionals. But finding reliable contractors to finish the job in a timely and skilled manner is easier said than done.
Keeping a home in good repair takes a lot of time, effort, and money. With Labor Day already rolling around, many landlords are diving into their fall maintenance and repairs in preparation for winter. Whether you’re looking for a skilled handyperson for a few odds and ends or a company to redo your rental’s entire kitchen, the quality of your contractor can make or break your maintenance work. There are a few reliable tricks to finding a good contractor while getting the most bang for your buck.
Research Pays Off
When looking for a new contractor, the first thing to do is determine who you need to hire. There are many types of contractors. So, making sure you have the right person for the job is crucial to getting it done right.
- General contractor: An excellent option for general renovation or building projects. They can handle hiring any additional subcontractors they need to finish the job.
- Electrician: The law requires you to hire a certified electrician for many jobs for safety reasons. If you need to install a new light fixture or mess with finicky old wiring, you’ll likely need an electrician.
- Painters: While you can hire just about anyone to slap a coat of paint on a wall, a professional painter will do a much more thorough and neat job.
- Carpenter: If you need new cabinetry, framing, or any other job related to wood, a carpenter is a good place to start.
- Roofer: Depending on your roofing material, you may need to replace it every 12 to 15 years, especially in our rainy climate. A roofer is the best person to undertake this complicated, costly and sometimes dangerous job.
Once you’ve determined what type of contractor you need to hire, the research phase begins. Don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time scoping out the field for your options. You may end up needing multiple backups due to scheduling conflicts. Look for contractors with reviews across various sites, and ask your friends if they have recommendations. It’s wise to compose a list of five or more contractors who seem like they could be a good fit. From there, you can start your screening process.
Screen Your Candidates Carefully
When you start contacting potential contractors, you should already have a detailed outline of your project’s needs and scope. This will save time and help you winnow down candidates who might end up being a bad fit. Skilled contractors are often very busy, so you should prepare yourself for some scheduling-gymnastics to see them all. For a large job, you should get several estimates so you can gather multiple comparison points before taking the plunge.
Before you’ve started meeting contractors, it’s wise to prepare a list of questions for your screening process. Be sure to inquire about previous jobs and references. Then ask how long they’ve been in the business, and request their proof of licenses and insurance. Look for licensed contractors with a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
Keep an eye out for some significant red flags. An unlisted contractor who demands cash upfront or asks you to obtain any necessary permits yourself is almost certainly a scam at worst and an extremely inexperienced and unprofessional worker at best. Though it will undoubtedly come at a higher price tag, you’ll ultimately be grateful to spend more on a reputable contractor rather than having to hire one to fix the fallout after an amateur ruins a job.
Prepare A Flexible Budget
One of the most frustrating parts of hiring a contractor is the price tag. All too often, you’ll get a quote for one price, only to find out later that there’s some complicating factor or missing materials that keep racking the bill up higher. When you’re doing a job yourself, you can tally up all the inevitable curveballs that an extensive repair or maintenance project can throw; when working with a contractor, however, it pays to hire someone you trust to give you an honest accounting.
It’s wise to prepare an ideal budget for the job on hand and set aside an additional amount to cover any extra fees or setbacks that arise while the job is in progress. Ideally, you won’t need to touch that money, but it’s better to have it earmarked than have to scramble when something comes up.
Maintaining A Rental Is A Tough Job
Repairs and maintenance can range from a simple electrical job to a full-scale remodel requiring multiple contractors. No matter what your needs are, however, the challenges of finding a quality contractor are numerous. The stakes are especially high when a lousy job can cost you even more money from missed rents as you scramble to fix the damage an inexperienced contractor wreaked on your property. However, finding someone you can trust with your property investment is often prohibitively tricky and time-consuming.
Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew has a solution for Portland’s landlords. We keep a skilled list of trusted contractors and a fast-acting maintenance team on hand at all times, so you never have to play phone tag with a long list of busy prospective contractors before you can even get a quote. Our qualified, insured contractors can tackle any project your rental needs, quickly getting it ready for a new tenant so you won’t lose out on rent during extended vacancies. Our service package keeps you secure, protected, and relaxed without the hassle of hounding the area’s contractors or spending endless hours on research. To hear more about our incredible team and all the services we can provide, call or text us at (503) 515-3170 or fill out the contact form on our website.