In the rental industry, maintenance needs are inevitable. So, how do you know if you are hiring the best contractor for the job? Nowadays, contractors are very easy to find, but that does not mean all are right for you. Finding a licensed contractor that is trustworthy and cost-effective is harder than it sounds. We compiled a list of contractors that every landlord needs plus tips on how to choose. Read on for more details below!
Types of Contactors for Rental Properties
- General Contractor: A general contractor manages building or renovation projects. They hire all suppliers and subcontractors to get the job done while monitoring their progress along the way.
- Carpenters: While some have specialized niches, most carpenters can accommodate a wide range of repair needs. This may include framing, cabinetry, and various wood finishes.
- Electrician: These contractors repair electrical systems such as lighting and outlets. However, there are a few specialized categories for electricians you may need. These include cable TV techs, fire alarm systems, and even sound equipment.
- Painters: Although you could paint yourself, professionals offer several benefits. An experienced painter has the equipment necessary to do an efficient and professional quality job.
- HVAC: HVAC contractors specialize in installing and repairs for your furnace and A/C systems. Many HVAC vendors also offer routine maintenance contracts that can save in the long run.
- Roofer: Roofing repairs can get expensive fast, and at some point, it will need replacement. Also, the roofing contractor you choose might help with gutters as well. Keeping those free of debris helps prevent leaks and water backup.
Additional Repair Specialists to Consider
- Mason: Not every property needs this, but if you have any brick or stonework needs, a mason is a good person to know. While installing exterior stone comes to mind, masons also work with interior fireplace stone and even countertops.
- Landscapers: DIY is great, but for large jobs or routine maintenance, a landscape company is necessary. They allow for stress-free care of your yard with the workforce to do the job efficiently.
- Concrete Specialist: Concrete can be versatile nowadays. Applications such as decorative patios, countertops, and even flooring. However, even if you just need foundation help, a qualified concrete contractor can help.
- Tile Setting: From baths to kitchens to flooring, expert tile installation ensures a professional finish.
- Flooring Specialists: For anything other than tile in your home, a flooring specialist can help. They offer a wide variety of materials and expert floor laying.
- Glass and Windows: Inefficient windows are a significant source of energy loss in the home. If you need to replace them, working with a glass and window company is your best bet.
Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Rental Property
Once you have compiled a list of contractors you need, now it’s time to hire. However, that too is a process. Finding the right contractor to perform a task matters to both your home and your budget. To ease your search, follow the criteria and steps below.
- Provide a clear outline of your project needs
- Obtain several estimates for large jobs
- Research previous jobs and references
- Verify credentials and insurance
- Beware of red flags
Provide a Clear Outline of Your Project Needs
The best way to get a complete and accurate estimate from prospective contractors begins with you. Provide them with a detailed description of what you need. This will allow the vendor to give not only an estimate on cost. But also the timeframe in which the job can be completed.
Obtain Several Estimates for Large Jobs
Large jobs can be expensive, and vendors vary on price, sometimes significantly. A good rule of thumb is to get at least three estimates from different vendors. This serves a couple of purposes; it allows you options while also encouraging vendors to compete for your business.
Research Previous Jobs and References
A good contractor will provide references from satisfied previous clients. Take the time to look into this as well as online reviews and company profiles. These can give you a glimpse into how the contractor conducts business and how their work turns out.
Verify Credentials and Insurance Coverage
Licensed, bonded, and insured – three words could not be more critical when finding a contractor. Choose an established business that can quickly provide proof of licenses and insurance. Licensed contractors you hire should have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
Beware of Red Flags
When interviewing potential vendors, there are a few things to watch out for. If you come across any of these things, steer clear! Warning signs include:
- Unlisted contractors
- Demanding upfront payment
- Cash only transactions
- Asking you to obtain the needed permits
Best Practices of Vendor and Landlord Relationships
As you begin to work with vendors for your rental property, remember, the relationship goes both ways. Just as you want to find the right fit for your job, the vendors also look for clients they want to work with. Rental homes mean repeat business and the potential for long term vendor-client relationships. Below we look at a few things both sides can look for.
What is the Contractor’s View?
Just as you are interviewing the vendor, they, too, are evaluating you. These are skilled laborers running a business, so they are thinking about how you can benefit them. Often, they find themselves fixing other contractor’s work or even DIY attempts. Questions a vendor asks themselves may include:
- Does the homeowner treat me with respect?
- Is this an opportunity for repeat business?
- Will I get paid immediately or will have to chase the money?
- Is this homeowner likely to give referrals?
What is the Landlord’s View?
We have covered a lot of things to consider when searching for contractors that every landlord needs. To recap, think about the answers to the following questions. These will help you determine what vendor is a good fit for your rental properties.
- Do they respond quickly to your inquiries?
- Did they arrive at the appointment on time?
- Are they willing to coordinate around tenant schedules?
- Do they appear confident in their work?
- Are they reasonably priced?
- Did they respect your property by removing or covering dirty shoes, for example?
Best Websites to Find Contractors for Your Next Project
Gone are the days when the Yellow Pages were your only option when you needed a repairman. However, with so much information now at your fingertips, knowing what to trust is a challenge. While you still need to verify licenses, insurance, and references; these sites below can get you started finding contractors that every landlord needs in your area. Check out these suggestions below:
Home Advisor is a leading name in the industry, racking up over 100,000 service providers. Clients begin by entering their project category and information. The platform then suggests local vendors based on your project goals along with a rough estimate of cost based on what others have paid for similar projects. From there you can use this shortlist to jump start your search and request estimates. Search with confidence as Home Advisor conducts a background check on all service providers. Additionally, they also verify licenses.
Boasting over 1.5 million professionals, Houzz is an online platform with no shortage of options. While you do need to create an account, it is free to use and search as a homeowner. Also, they offer a wide variety of vendor listings from builders to cleaning services. This is a great one stop shop to kick start your search. While contractors do list their licenses on their profile pages – it is the responsibility of the homeowner to verify the information.
HomeDepot offers a great service to homeowners known as Pro Referrral. This serves as a way for clients to search for local contractors that every landlord needs. This works a little differently than other platforms. To begin, you enter your contact and project information. Once submitted, you are matched with up to 3 local pros ready to tackle your project. While these are not employees of Home Depot, the site does require proper licenses to be listed as a vendor and professionals are fully vetted by the site. Additionally, vendors must hold adequate liability insurance in order to be listed as a vendor with the site. Although this is geared towards smaller projects, it is a great resource for homeowners.
With over 10 million users, Thumbtack has made its mark on the industry. Offering a convenient website or mobile app, they connect homeowners with over 250,000 contractors that every landlord needs. This service is unique in that you can check vendor reviews, schedule a call, and even request an estimate all on the platform. Additionally, the platform conducts a basic background checks and offers a $2500 money-back guarantee, plus a $1 million property-damage guarantee.
Maintenance requests will come, and how you handle them directly affects tenant satisfaction. While this list of contractors that every landlord needs may help, remember it is a process. As a rental property owner or manager, building lasting relationships with trusted vendors is the key to success. Are you looking for a property management firm? Look no further than Bay Property Management Group. Our only business is property management, and we have the relationships to not only get repairs done quickly but cost-effectively!