What NOT to do when Hiring a General Contractor
When you’re re-habbing a property, hiring a general contractor aka [GC] can be extremely valuable to you in reaching your real estate goals. There’s a million things that need to be considered when you are planning major renovations. A GC is someone that holds the main responsibility for the construction, improvement, or renovation project and is also the person who hires all of the subcontractors and suppliers for a project such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. The GC with overall responsibility for the satisfactory completion of a project and is expected to perform as well as supervise at least part of the work.
About 6 months ago we bought an Orlando short sale house with the intentions of doing a major re-hab on it and turning a really nice profit on the deal. The house needed kitchen remodel and so did the three bathrooms, other than that it just needed paint and carpet an a little siding…no big deal. I’ve done many re-habs over the years and up until now I always played the role of GC. However, this time I needed help because I knew that I would be traveling for the next few months and I wouldn’t be available to supervise the project.
After we closed I started researching GC’s in the Orlando area. Some were licensed and some were not… I ended up with 3 GC’s that I met at the property for estimates. I noticed quickly that unlicensed GC was way way cheaper than the Licensed guys. I learned long ago that hiring the cheapest guy just because he’ the cheapest will always, always end up costing you more money and aggravation in the long run. At the same time I never go with the over-the-top most expensive guy either…and I pretty much do that for any service that I need to hire,.. I get 3 estimates and usually pick the one in the middle. It’s a method that has served me well over the years.
At this point I had I had decided on which GC to hire and I was ready to pull the trigger. I was on my way to drop off my kids at school and I ran into my friend Alex that I had known for 5 years now because our sons went to school together. All of a sudden, I remembered that Alex was a GC. So then Alex and I get to talking about my project and I figured “what the heck” I’ll let Alex give me an estimate as well. Anyway, I told Alex that if he could match the estimate from the other GC I had met with, then the job was his… I figured that I could help out a friend and get a good price on my project as well. So Alex tells me “no problem”… not only can he match the price, but he can have it done within 30 days. I thought…WOW! “I really picked the right guy for this job”….WRONG!
The project got off to a good start, the first few days he had at least 6 guys working at a time, then all of a sudden there was nobody. I was constantly popping up at the house checking on the progress and I didn’t see anyone there for at least 5 days straight. This worried me so I called Alex and he assured me that he would done on or before the deadline. I had to travel, so I had no choice but to believe and trust him. BIG MISTAKE… when I got back, I immediately went to see the house to find that they were no where near completion and they were already 30 days past the original due date. To make a long story short…The job came in at $10,000.00 over budget and to add insult to injury…It took 90 days to complete which translated into an additional $4,000.00 in carrying costs. Needless to say, I had some pretty harsh words with Alex and now we are no longer friends.
The moral of this story is… Never hire a friend to be your General Contractor. It will cost you more money and more importantly, it will probably cost you your friendship.