6 Ways to Find Awesome Fixer Upper Contractors
Hey Guys, JP here—One commonly recurring question we've heard over the years how to find awesome fixer upper contractors for your fix-and-flip deals. Or even to handle the renovations for your rental properties.
Where are those contractors hiding?
While Patrick and I typically prefer wholesale deals (quick nickels) over fixer uppers (slow dimes), truth be told we’ve each had our fair share of rehab experiences. Guess that's what happens after 24+ years (combined) in the real estate game. And when you’re in this business, it’s just always going to come up from time to time—you’ll need to hire a contractor.
Well, today I want to share with you 6 quick, but solid shortcuts for…
Finding Your Next Awesome Fixer Upper Contractors
OK, so let's do this…
JP Moses: Hey guys, JP here, one of the questions I hear a lot of new investors ask is:
How do you find awesome rehab contractors for your fix & flip deals? And, how do you handle the renovations for your rental deals? Where are the contractors hiding?
Now, most of you know that Patrick and I prefer wholesale deals more often than not, but we've even each had our share of experiences with rehabs. When you're in this business, it's always going to come up from time to time that you need to hire a contractor.
So, between the two of us, we have more than 24 years of cumulative experience in the real estate investing trenches. So drawing on that experience, I'm gonna throw out 6 quick but very useful tips for finding your awesome rehab contractor. After all, you’re going after an awesome contractor not a mediocre one.
Tip #1: The Giver's Gain
My #1 way to find any new team member is by referrals.
I freaking love referrals.
I mean it just helps weed out the bad eggs. This is by far the best way that both Patrick and I have found our best contractors over the years when we really needed them—and these are referrals from other real estate investors. These are going to be investors who are willing to share their contact information for a contractor who's worked well for them.
Many times, the person who's in charge of your local REIA group acts almost like a hub of all known activities in that group. That individual can refer you to a lot of good people, so networking is hugely important in this business—and it can lead you to the best investor-friendly contracts out there.
So, you'll never know who's willing to share what contact information until you ask. That's the giver's gain mindset. Just ask and see who will share some valuable contact with you.
Tip #2: The Realtor referral
This is going to include local Realtors who specialize in the small niche where your property is located. So let's say you have a house in a specific zip code that you're going to rehab and there's one agent whose signs are all over the neighborhood. This guy eats, sleeps, and breathes that neighborhood. You know what I'm talking about, right?
That is your local marketing expert that you want to target. This is not a brand-new shiny Realtor who's hungry and willing to offer anything just to get your business. You're looking for the one who is experienced in your neighborhood. They're often going to have relationships with contractors that they use on a regular basis for their clients and are willing to make those referrals.
When you ask, obviously this is just another part of… that's right
Tip #3: Networking
The random drive by… so when you're out driving around the neighborhoods and you see where someone is fixing up a house, it doesn't even have to be an investor—just stop for a moment and talk to the guys working on the house. Find out what they do and who they're working for.
I can tell you, I will attest to the success of this one because I have absolutely done this over the years. When you're just out driving the neighborhoods and you see some activity on a property:
- ask questions
- get information
- develop a relationship that works
There's nothing unethical at all about doing this. They're just out working… so give it a shot and you'll be surprised at the results.
Tip #4: The Donuts at Home Depot Maneuver
So, most contractors get their day started early, right? They're the first ones to show up when the doors open at the butt-crack of dawn at any Home Depot or Lowe's—they're buying the materials for the day…
So, you head out to your local Home Depot or Lowe's… wait at the contractor's desk with a bunch of donuts there. You strike up a conversation with a contractor and hand out the donuts, of course, and just make conversation. Say, “Hey, what do you do? Who do you do it for, and are you interested in doing more?”
It's a great way to win favor with these hard-working guys and gals in the morning by handing out free donuts like that. And full disclaimer, I've not tried this one myself personally because I'm kind of allergic to the butt-crack of dawn. In fact, I'm barely human before 10:00 am most days, but I've really heard awesome results from serious investors who've tried this tactic and it's worked awesomely for them.
I've heard it also works in paint stores. Contractors might need to hit the paint store early in the morning before they start their work for the day, so you might just catch them there. So the donuts at Home Depot in the morning maneuver is not one I have personal experience with, but I've heard awesome stuff from those who've tried it.
Tip #5: Ask Your REIA Leaders
So, I mentioned your local REIA group in the first tip, and this tip obviously applies to that group… to your local REIA, which may have members who are vendors who pay a sponsor-level membership just so they can advertise to the group of investors.
A lot of times, there's going to be contractors who are one of their sponsors, and they're specifically there because they're looking to make business contacts with this crew of people. So that could be an excellent starting point for you to find a solid contractor who's interested in working with investors.
So check it out, see what's popping at your local REIA. Your next contractor might even be there.
Tip #6: Ask Angie Angieslist.com
This is a paid online service, but it's a local social network of consumers who rate, rank and give feedback on—you guessed it—contractors. And it can be compared to the reviews you might see on Amazon. It's really this hidden gem if you haven't discovered it yet.
The contractors on Angie's List consist of a wide range of services like plumbers, landscapers, lawn services, tree guys, cleaning services, and remodel contractors. These are the businesses that care about their Angie's List reputation, because good ratings on Angie's List can convert to healthy growth for your business.
I've used a subscription to Angie's List myself and used it regularly over the years, so I know it's a solid place to find a rehab contractor. And, you can at least browse Angie's List and see what's cooking there. It's super easy to do a local search there.
So, there you have it, 6 tips on finding your new contractor.
Everybody knows in this game that getting a bad contractor will eat up your lunch and your profit in any deal… and man, in this business, losing time and money can make the difference between making a profit or making a loss.
It's not even worth taking your chances on some random contractor off the street, if you haven't gone through 1 of these 6 filters I just gave you.
But, if you follow these 6 steps or any 1 of these 6, I think you'll be on safe ground as you move your investing business forward.
OK, there you have it. So quick post-video review:
- Tip #1: The Giver's Gain
- Tip #2: The Realtor Referral
- Tip #3: The Random Drive-By
- Tip #4: The Donuts at Home Depot Maneuver
- Tip #5: The REIA Connection
- Tip #6: Ask Angie
Which one are you gonna try first?
Even Super Investors know that getting a bad contractor can quickly eat up time and money – and in this business, loss of time and money can be the difference between making a profit on a deal and barely breaking even.
It’s not worth it to take chances on this member of your team. But if you follow these 6 tips, you should be on safe ground as you move your investing business forward in securing solid, reputable fixer upper contractors (rather than questionable riff-raff).
Now it’s Your Turn
Tell us how you’ve found your contractors. What worked; what didn’t work so well. We’d love to hear from you!