women in this field?

Hi from a newbie! I am a 36 yr old woman, from MO, who is wanting to get into the rehabbing business.

My question is in regard to the actual work…what do you think will be the hardest or toughest part to fix up? I’m wondering how I’m gonna handle the heavy items. Also, I’m wondering how contractors will treat a woman. I don’t wanna get scammed or charged too much money!

I’ve seen the Property Ladder episodes and figure if those women can do it, I can too! I can’t wait, I’m just nervous. :-\

Also, if I use a private lender, when would the first mortgage payment typically be due?


You may want to consider having a male friend conduct business with contractors. I have heard horror stories about them claiming that they need to fix things that don’t need to be fixed when dealing with women. >:(

I am a woman and I deal with my own contractors. Of course I sort of beginning to think that if they were 100% relialabe handymen would be contractors. The local Ace hardware store has helped me learn how to do simple repairs.

You may want to consider having a male friend conduct business with contractors.

Well, I am married, but I think my husband would be of no use in this area. He’s not great at bargaining or negotiating. I worked for Home Quarters for almost 6 yrs (like a Home Depot) and probably know more about home improvement than he does. I’ve done drywalling, paint, tiling (wall and floor) and rewired the switch in the hood over the stovetop. ;D I do have several friends and an exhusband who are in the construction/contractor type of work, so I may have to give them a call. The problem is that the area where I want to buy is about a 45 minute ride for them. Oh well, we’ll see…
Thanks for the advice.

To piggyback off of the last poster, I believe its not such much about man or woman, its about learning the true value of certain repairs and bringing that knowledge with you when dealing with the contractors.

Also, never accept the first bid and always work with contractors who need to work. We women want to be “nice” and that’s what gets us taken many times.

They are not doing us a favor by working for us. We are paying them…keep that in mind.

Good luck! There are slews of women making a killing in this field, so don’t get intimidated out of doing it!

I’m a woman in this business and I love it. I’ve learned by trial and error – this includes paying too much for work, and having contractors attempt to pull the wool over my eyes by attempting to install used products when I’ve paid for new – and oh do they hate the tear out :). I firmly believe this can happen to anyone, male or female. Learn your business.

Some suggestions that have served me well:

Find yourself a very reliable inspector. I’ve hired some who had no clue what they were doing and I was pointing out issues with the properties to them. A decent inspector will give you a solid list of where to start (have this done BEFORE you close on the property).

Start with a rehab that doesn’t need too much work, for example paint and flooring. Things always crop up that will need to be fixed, but a paint-carpet-and-go is a terrific way to start out. Then you can move onto more challenging properties. The one I just bid on as been on fire, but I have built a solid group of reliable contractors to assist me; so I’m more comfortable with the more challenging jobs now.

Make people hold up their end of the contract. The contractors on your job are your employees. They need to do the work you’ve contracted. Don’t let someone do ‘most’ of their work and get paid in full (and they will ask – believe me). Hold back a retention until they are finished, it’s perfectly acceptable. I have turned people into the Better Business Bureau for not finishing the clean up. These days the BBB is quick to contact them and any decent business person doesn’t want that on their record. Learn from my mistake and don’t pay anyone in full until they are entirely done. Money talks and believe me they want theirs.

I entirely agree with getting more than one bid – it’s a MUST. You’ll be shocked at the spread in price for the same work. I had one job I put out to bid and the prices were $6,000 to $27,000. Same job. And, I entirely agree with finding contractors who need the work – they show up fast and do the job without interruption. I’ve waited around for a tree removal company for weeks because they had too much work meanwhile I’m stuck holding up concrete work.

I always treat my contractors and their workers with the utmost in respect and I never let them cross the line of being too casual with me. It’s a business. I’ve found that keeping a case of soda/bottled water on-site does more for their enjoyment of working for you than you can imagine :slight_smile:

I hope this helps. Have fun – it can be a great business and it’s so much fun to show up on your job site to realize the twenty guys there all work for you :slight_smile:

Happy Rehabbing,

Hi ,

I am also a women in this field.
I started in Aug 2004.
I have 3 properties.
The most important things i have learned so far and they all deal with contractors.
1.Check there licences,BBB and references.
2.Never pay them the money upfront.
3.Check there licences,BBB and references.


I’ve been in the business for 15 years and 17 properties. I am now divorced but still conducting business as usual.

First, check your local construction office - at least in Cleveland, we have a group of woman business owners who love to do business with women. So you may find a group in your area.

Secondly, always do things in writing. Whomever you do business with will most likely give you an estimate or a quote good for a period of time. Normally they want 1/3 down to get the job started. Additionally, get a copy of the license and bonding insurance - have your insurance company run a scan to see if they seem any claims against them. And, ask to see representations of their work, i.e., pictures or addresses of work they’ve performed.

Another good idea is to check your local requirements, but in Cleveland - you can be your own General Contractor which could save you a lot of money. It’s a little costly for the insurance part, but it’s worth it in the long run in case a “subcontractor” under you doesn’t do his job, your insurance will kick in and you won’t be sued (if you are working someone else’s job), and your work will still be completed if they don’t do it.

And although I love my friends and family - don’t hire them. Keep your friends “friends” and keep your family “family.” I’ve seen too many breakdowns between the two. Work with licensed/bonded unbiased, professional contractors so that when they say the work will be done, it will be done and if not you have recourse. Using your friends and family you don’t. No to mention, if one of them hurt themselves doing a “family/friend” a favor, don’t think they won’t sue you! Keep it professional and leave them out of it.

Hi. I am new in this field too and I am a woman. Just to piggy back on what Abray said.

Quote “Keep your friends “friends” and keep your family “family.” I’ve seen too many breakdowns between the two. Keep it professional and leave them out of it.”

It ends out for the better. It seems to be that way in most relations.

Yes, you will find contractors that treat women differently and want to rob you blind while your eyes are open. Just have to be careful.