General Contractors

When rehabbing do most of you use General Contractors? If so what is the best way to find one in our business?

do most of you use General Contractors?

I do it myself! No contractor needed.


When I rehab houses, I’m on site everyday to make sure things get done the way I want them. If you lack general knowledge about construction then it may be worth while to hire a GC for their experience and the permitting process if permits are needed. It needs to be done right, on time and on budget. Thats whats important to me. Ask around at the REI club meeting.

i do my own gc work the only contractors i hire are in the trades that need state liscenses here in illinois they are roofers and plumbers

The GC takes a lot of your money. Just call the subs. Get a painter, get a plumber, get a roofer, etc. The next thing you know the job is done and you saved 10% GC fee.


You only have to use a General Contractor one time to learn your lesson.

LMAO @ Iron Range…that’s a good one.

Here’s my problem with General Contractors…

What these guy’s do is HIRE sub-contractors to do various jobs for them on your project. YOUR PAYING FOR THAT! These guy’s get a sub to do the job for let’s say $2000 and charge you $2800. The worst part of it is IF they don’t pay that sub YOU ARE ON THE HOOK FOR THAT PAYMENT. Even if you just cut that GC a check for that exact amount thinking he would use it to pay the sub.

You don’t need a GC. First off, if your taking on jobs so big that you need a GC you SHOULD know enough to hire the subs yourself. In other words, you SHOULD have experience if your doing MAJOR rehabs.

If your doing single family homes that require flooring, a kitchen cabinets, paint, roofs, and minor cosmetics, your wasting your money hiring a GC.

What I do is hire all my subs. I buy ALL the materials myself and have them ONSITE. That way all I’m paying for is LABOR. I NEVER give ANY of these guys a dime up front. You do that, then you might as well marry these guys. NO thanks, already married. I also tell everyone of my subs…You don’t show up without calling, DON’T COME BACK. YOUR DONE. NO ONE has any excuse for not making a simple phone call. Things come up, I understand that. Blow me off and your fired.
I pay my subs with a check when the job is COMPLETELY finished. If they have to come back to put a screw in a wall they don’t get a dime until it’s done.

This is the ONLY way I do it, and I NEVER have problems with subs. These guy’s actually respect the fact that I don’t put up with any BS. They know when I call my job will be ready and all the materials will be onsite. THAT MAKES THEM MONEY. I am also VERY loyal to my subs. I recommend them to others and ALWAYS call to tell them JIM JOHNSON will be calling you about a bathroom remodel. That way they know who the job came from and that pushes me to the TOP of their priority list when I NEED SOMETHING.

if you need permits and lack construction knowledge hire a GC

In my experience I felt like I learned by being on the job and hiring the sub-contractors I needed. I also took the opportunity when I called for an estimate for the work to ask (before I hired them) questions about what work needed to be done and what was not necessary. I learned to get more than one estimate so I learned who I could trust and decide who would be part of my team long term. I also checked into what permits were needed and what the city’s requirements were for work done on a house that I owned-some citys do not require certain things if you are doing work on a house that you own. The small town I worked in mainly just required the city to check on a furnace that I had had installed and ok that it was done correctly. I was not required to have other permits just to do repairs or paint.

Hello onedeal,

I recently started a new construction building company and am basically a general contractor. You do not need this person in the loop unless you are very busy and don’t or can’t answer your phone all the time. Subs are easy to find, just use the yellow pages and also ask for referrals. I moved into a new area to start this business and just started asking questions. I was looking for established companies with good reputations for quality work. For instance plumbers follow HVAC through a house, so ask plumbers who does good HVAC work. They will tell you because they don’t want to have to work around misplaced ductwork. Just ask the subs questions, most trades people like the work they do and are happy to explain things to you.

Permits are not that big of deal either, some subs pull their own permits and others you have to do yourself. Go to your local building department and tell them what you want to do and ask them what you need and what you have to do. Tell them its your first time around, and smile at them. Most people are helpful if you aren’t pushy or arrogant.

On the other side, if you are a very busy person and have a business model that requires having someone doing the coordinating between you and the subs, there are good solid people in every profession and while you may have to look around a little, you can find a GC that is good and honest to work with to make life much easier.

Hope this helps, don’t be intimidated by the thoughts of getting permits or calling and managing subs. If that is why you need a GC, then I hope you get a good one right away, because otherwise you will have the experience that many others had of getting bulldozed by a tough unprincipled GC.

my 2 cents,


I own a remodeling company, and the one way I could suggest you work with your contractors, which will provide you with the most project control, is to do the ordering yourself, have the materials on hand two days BEFORE work is scheduled to start, and base their payment on a draw for the labor portion only since you are purchasing materials.

For example:

Labor for project costs $5K for sheetrocking, spackling, trim install, prime/paint and carpet install.

You have the materials purhcased and on hand BEFORE the agreed start date.

After sheetrock is installed, you provide x% of labor, spackling done, another x% of labor, trim installed, another x% of labor, and so forth. This puts the incentive on getting the job done, as they do not have to worry about ordering/coordinating materials. They know that when they hit a benchmark in the project, they get paid. You will find that you will move ahead of the list as “a bird in hand…” - just be sure you keep your word on this…

There is no need for deposit, as you are providing the materials, and will be paying them at each stage of completion on the project. In addition, if you really want to light a fire under their butt, let them know mid-project that there is a speed bonus available (10% is generally a good enough number), if the work is done ahead of schedule.

This will get your property on the market quicker, and keep your subs happy, developing loyalty and negotiating strength on future projects, and if timed right, can save you on carrying costs.

This approach negates alot of delaying tactics that I see used on people - material was delayed or never showed or out of stock, I gotta pull off for another job, I need money for materials (which is then robbed from Peter to pay Paul and then you are stuck), etc.

Create a simple form with six columns - Project Name, Start Date (initials for contractor), Completion Date (initials for contractor), Date Paid, Check #, Received Signature (contractor signature). Put it in the properties project folder and fill-out as it happens. Simple form keeps everything organized.

Is there a way to get a FHA loan (rehab loan) without a GC?

When I attempted to get a FHA loan, I was told I needed an estimate of how much it would cost. I guess I had ASSUMED :banghead2 that I needed a GC. Could I had used sub-contractors? Also, I called several GCs and hardly no one wanted to give me an estimate since I was not the owner of the place. After 3 days, I got 2 people that would do an estimate. One of the persons, the one that was going to charge $500 for an estimate, kept pushing the date back.

Well, that’ was my little rant.

Are sub-contractors just as strict, they only want to work with owners? Could I just say, I want a loan for amount ‘X’ for a rehab loan, even if that may not cover the full repair but just some?

Thank you,

Money Lover.

if you’re in a busy market, it can be challenging to find and keep a good contractor or subs.

many contractors find working with investors the bottom of the food chain as many investors want to cut corners, do shoddy work, want it done yesterday and expect a discount on it.

they also know that investors are seeking to make money on the fruits of their labor…i stopped working with investors when one asked me what that green thing on the back of his house was…this is after he told me he had done 5 or 6 houses in the past year or so…it turned out to be a his gas meter…

that guy, as well as many others, had no business running a job…he schedlued his subs in the wrong order and pretty much made everyones jobs that much harder.

contracting isn’t brain surgery but it isn’t as easy as some would make it out to be…