Are you looking for great contractors in Omaha? We offer 5 tips to chose wisely. Learn what to watch out for and how to know you’ve found the right one in our latest post!
Omaha investors need to work with quality contractors who will do the job done right. That means getting things done on time and on budget. After finding the right contractor, develop a relationship with them. If you take good care of them and provide future business, they will take good care of you.
Ask for Recent References
Always ask your prospective Omaha contractors for references from past clients. It’s best if you can speak with an actual client and ask questions, though written comments can be helpful. Contractors will naturally try to provide their “best” references, but you really want to understand their performance. Ask to speak with people who had work recently completed. That makes it harder to stack the deck. Focus on a couple of objective questions, like was the project on time, was it on budget, were there change orders, was the quality of work good, and would they hire the contractor again. A contractor with regular work should be on good terms with a past client and able to provide recent references.
Check for Positive Reviews
There are many review sites today, but the top two for contractors are Angie’s List and Home Advisor. You might also check Yelp and Ripoff Report (but don’t believe everything you see there). The goal is to get an overall sense of what people think of their work. As you read reviews, consider if they look real; were they paid for or incentivized to leave a good review? Many contractors have a couple of ringers, so I’d be skeptical if they only have a couple of reviews that are all outstanding. Also, watch out for reviews that are super negative. Some clients don’t understand what they are contracting for and blame the contractor and some just like to leave critical reviews. While having several negative reviews is a red flag, they might be from competitors or disgruntled employees. Unless there are hundreds of reviews, I tend to disregard the best and worst comments. Take each review with a grain of salt and look for patterns in what people are saying.
You can also look for human reviews from people you know. Ask friends, coworkers, neighbors, and fellow investors to recommend an Omaha contractor that they trust. This lets you get a personal report of the work done. That provides valuable insight from someone you trust and will give you perspective basic research on the company won’t provide.
Look for A Busy Schedule
Contractors with a busy schedule are planning weeks or months out. That shows they are in high demand, probably for good reason. Even with great advertising, a bad contractor won’t keep themselves consistently busy. People will hear about their poor service and business will decline. Actually, we are looking for the Goldilocks zone, a contractor with plenty of people knocking at their door but available enough to finish the job done quickly. If they are too busy, service and quality will suffer. Make sure they have the time to provide you with high-quality service and aren’t overbooked. Try to find the happy medium of someone who is busy, yet not too busy.
Consider Experience and Years In Business
A contractor with years of experience will recognize the special challenges your property might present and will be able to handle them deftly. It’s true that everyone starts somewhere, and there may be jobs you can trust to a rookie (or less), but unless you want to be hands-on with your Omaha real estate, you’ll need to partner with a contractor who really knows what they are doing. Nothing beats real-world experience. When you find a good contractor with experience, you will likely receive better service, higher-quality workmanship, and more accurate estimates. While there are very talented contractors who are just getting started, it’s not usually worth the risk unless you are in-town and on-site. Watch out for fly by night contractors who lack the experience and may disappear once they have a 50% payment.
Monitor Their Attentiveness
When you call for a quote, do they get back to you right away? They may not answer every call (do you want them answering calls while they are working on your job?) but you can expect a reasonable callback time. Expect your contractor in Omaha to have excellent customer service and constant communication. You need them to stay on top of things, completing projects when they say they will. If they are letting phone calls slip through the cracks, they will likely let other things fall through too. This isn’t a quality you want to find in your Omaha area contractor.
That’s it. Do your homework before choosing an Omaha contractor. Make sure to read reviews, get references, and learn about past projects. If possible, work with someone who understands what you are doing, what you need to be done, and how to make things cost-effective. There are contractors who specialize in working with local investors who can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.