Hiring the right person for the job is one of the most challenging aspects of managing a rental property. Whether you're renovating a kitchen or installing a new fence, selecting the right person for the gig can be difficult. Even with a vendor list, the folks you choose to work with can be ever-changing and evolving. To stay competitive amidst a crowded rental market, the right contractor can make all the difference.
Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management knows all about this challenge. He lives by three important tips to guarantee successful relationships with contractors. They include:
1. Do not pay for a job upfront. When a contractor asks for payment up front, it could be a sign that they do not have the funds to hire a crew to complete the work. Even if you feel as though you are getting a great deal, chances are good that you will find yourself with a half-completed project weeks later. If you must, settle on half of the payment upfront, never the entire fee.
2. Pay for materials yourself. Letting contractors run up a tab of materials is a bad idea for a number of reasons. By purchasing the materials necessary for the job yourself, you'll have a better idea of how much is being spent on materials versus labor. Have your vendors call you from material supply store and provide you with a purchase order so you can review everything being purchased. Then you can pay the company directly using your own credit card.
3. Ask about insurance. If your vendors are not insured, there is a decent chance you could be footing the bill when someone accidentally falls off of a ladder or hammers a nail through their hand. Double check to make sure your contractor and their employees are insured and what protections you have against liability. For minor projects, you may not think this matters much, but serious accidents can happen when you least expect them.
No matter who you choose to hire to tackle rental property projects, you'll be better off by following the three tips above. By covering your bases and ensuring you are working with the best possible partners, you practically guarantee a great relationship with contractors!
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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