How To Instantly Improve Your Relationship with Your ContractorBy JD Esajian on August 2, 2019
One of the most important cogs in your real estate investing machine is your contractor. Regardless of how you invest you are going to need to make property improvements, updates or modifications at some point along the way. A good relationship with a quality contractor that does impeccable work makes your life so much easier. Instead of worrying if something will get done and if the quality will be strong you can focus on other aspects of your business. Unfortunately, good contractors don’t grow on trees. You will have to do your part to enhance the relationship. It may take a few properties and projects to get a feel of each other but once you are comfortable with your contractor you need to do whatever you can to cement the relationship. It is not a stretch to say that a good contract will greatly enhance your business. Here are five tips to help improve the relationship with your contractor.
- Value Their Time: The relationship your favorite TV investor has with their contractor is not the same as the one you have with yours. The TV investor has closed dozens, if not hundreds, of deals with them over the years. In fact, they very well may only work for that investor full time. It is unrealistic for you to demand the same amount of time with your contractor. They are not going to drop everything to help write up a work estimate for you. They still need to make money and work on other projects. When it is time to start your project, you can insist they are there full time, but until then you need to reduce your demands and understand the situation. The more you value their time the harder they will work for you when your project comes up.
- Pay Promptly: One of the worst things you can do in business is drag your feet with work payments. Not only will good labor avoid working with you, but you will get a bad reputation as well. It is essential that you do whatever you can to pay your contractor, and any subcontractors, as soon as the work is finished. If you need 24-48 hours to inspect the work, that is acceptable, but anything longer than that is asking for trouble. Your contractor doesn’t want to hear how another project popped up out of the blue and drained you of your capital. They work with the expectation of getting paid when the work is finished. If you try to persuade them to hold can expect the relationship to be over. On the flip side, timely payments mean that people will want to work with you in the future. They know that you are a person of your word and they won’t have to wait to get paid. This is much more important than you may think.
- Listen To Suggestions: If you are going to employ the services of a contractor, you should give them the ability to make suggestions as they please. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything they say, but you shouldn’t blindly dismiss it either. It can be very frustrating for a contractor to have their suggestion initially ignored only to have it picked up halfway through the project. If you just had an open mind and listened to them in the first place you would have saved time and money. The reality is that a good contractor has their finger on the pulse of the market just as much as you do. They know what trends work in the market and what don’t. You may know the numbers and the budget, but they have an idea of what buyers want. You should at least have the courtesy and respect to listen to what your contractor proposes.
- Treat With Respect: You are often judged by how you treat people when times are tough. Investing in real estate is filled with ups and downs. One day things may go smoothly and the next you have four mini-crisis on your plate. You can’t be all fun and games in the good times and do an about face when times are rough. If you do you can expect your contractor to move on from you after the project is done. It is essential to remember that you are dealing with a professional in your industry. They are expected to be treated with respect. If there is a mistake made you don’t need to dress them down in front of everyone on the site. They probably know that messed up, and a private conversation would work much better. Yes, you have a lot invested in every project but that doesn’t give you the right to act like a jerk.
- Give Referrals/Reviews: The best investor/contractor relationships are the ones where both sides are satisfied. One of the best things you can do to enhance the relationship is to give referrals whenever possible. The small-minded investor will think that by giving a referral it restricts them from working on their projects. The reality is that the bigger the contractor gets the more they can afford outsourcing some projects and the more time they can focus on you. You should also try to give reviews, either on Facebook or other social media sites whenever possible. The more you do for your contractor the more they will end up doing for you.
The little things matter in any relationship. Always look for ways to enhance and improve the relationship with your contractor.