Looking for a contractor lately and had issues? Generally, there’s problems right now, especially with the pandemic and how everything is going. There’s a lot of labor shortages and people are asking for more wages who are actually qualified to do the job, but you do have a lot of problems with finding contractors. And so we want to get into how do you find a contractor and not run into issues in some other situations. And here we’re going to go into what do we look for when we’re searching for contractors? How do we go about that?
So, the first thing I would be looking at really is licensing. Do they have a proper license? Do they have insurance? Are there any warranties as well? Some people should be guaranteeing their work, a warranty in their work for a specific amount of time. That becomes very important in the first three things that you want to be looking for when you are hiring a contractor. Let’s say now that you’ve gone through that process and you’ve picked out a couple of contractors that you do like, here’s a few more questions. We want to find out the size of the company. How many people work here? For us at Bakersfield Maintenance and Construction, we do have a project supervisor, we have an inspector, we have an accounts manager, and then we do have an assistant as well. Between all of those people, we try to make sure everything is done.
The next question is how do they run their crews? Are they running everybody in-house, meaning that they have all their own vendors and contractors that work underneath them as, let’s say, W2 employees? Or do they subcontract most everything out? Another to look at would be the employees. Where are they coming from and are they licensed? Are they insured? Are they bonded? Are these professional people really looking at how all of that works? We do have our one person on staff, but we do actually subcontract with quite a few different vendors because what we’ve noticed is maybe that we can get things done a little bit cheaper in-house, but oftentimes the time factor is a little bit more important. And so really the way that I bring that up to a lot of owners is you can have us do, let’s say, a unit turn in-house and let’s say we say $500 on that unit turn, but that unit turn then takes three weeks and we have another week or two where the tenant isn’t in and so on and so forth. And so you’ve lost one month worth of rent, and let’s say that month worth of rent is $900. We can go ahead and, you spend the extra $500 and we can make sure that the job is done within a week or two. And now we have a week or two before the tenant is in and you have your payment from this tenant before you have to make your mortgage payment. So you’ve saved your $900, basically. And so, yes, there is a little vig of about $400 that’s there. But, you know, really the time versus the actual work completion does matter. And for us, we are kind of taking a lot of stock in that fact that, if we can get the job done a little bit faster, it will be a higher quality and it may cost a little bit more, but in the long term, it should save you more being that way. You do want to go with whoever you’re comfortable with, but for us it becomes as a professional time is money, especially in this construction industry. And so we want to make sure that, we’re going as fast as we possibly can with the highest quality people. Higher quality of work at a faster pace is oftentimes worth a little bit more money. How does the lien process work? So when working with contractors or construction managers, a lot of people will leave the properties before anything is really done. And so, you know when do those liens get signed off can be a very big question. We’ve seen people where, you know, hey, the work was done, we’ve given you a check and the contractor didn’t remove the lien because they’re saying that, you know, okay, we didn’t get paid for X, Y, Z, part of the job. And so now you have this original lien that’s on the property. Plus, you’ve already paid out a little bit. You want to make sure that that stuff is taken care of, make sure that your liens get release before basically on payment, if you will. And so that’s very important as well.
Communication, big problem in the construction industry is communication. So having an open and clear communication plan for us, really what we’ve seen is Monday, what’s going on for the week, Friday, what happened for the week and what are we going to do next week? And so as long as we can get through that, I think that’s what’s important to us. And it seems that it works best for our clients as well. As far as, you know what’s coming up, what did we get done? And then do you have a contract and what does that contract look like and entails? For us, you know, we do have a contract. Generally, that contract looks like an invoice along with some terms. As long as that’s taken care of and agreed to, we’re all good to go. There can be penalties for things that don’t go the right way or overage and time, etc. And those are all negotiated on a case by case basis, depending on the project.
And then finally, a draw schedule. A big problem that we see is, contractor says, hey, I’m going to take 50% upfront. First off, you can’t do that. You can only take 10%. Second off, if a contractor gets 50% upfront, you have some contractors that just walk off the job because then it costs them too much to finish the job. What we’re looking at is how do we get paid, when do we get paid and what is the schedule? That way everybody has to be held accountable. The contractor should be held accountable for showing up and getting the work done and doing it properly and getting it done on schedule. As long as that’s done, then there should be a schedule in which he gets paid. For us, we break that down often into trades, often into portions of the job, and then we agree upon that prior to the job starting. So we know, okay, when we get to this point, you owe X check. That becomes very easy for people to work through. And that’s kind of the whole point of getting into this is we want to make sure we’re providing a good quality service.
If you’re looking for a contractor for yourself and you’re not in kind of the Kern County, Bakersfield area, definitely use some of these tips to find yourself one as well. If you are in that area, please feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to meet with you. Happy to do a phone call, text message, voicemail, zoom meeting. However all this stuff goes now. If you saw some value, please comment below and like this post! We look forward to bringing some more valuable content if you have any other ideas or things you would like to see or you’ve heard about, please comment below and we’ll make some content on that as well.
Thank you. Take care.