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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: Bearded Man on June 10, 2014, 08:02:15 PM

Title: Ugh...ridiculous quotes from general contractors
Post by: Bearded Man on June 10, 2014, 08:02:15 PM
I had a general contractor quote me $10,000 to put in laminate flooring (available at Lowes for .84 cents a square foot) for 900 square feet. What a joke. How are you finding reasonable contractors? I would do it myself but am hesitant due to time constraints. If I lived in the house and could do it in my spare time, sure, I'll give it a try. But when you are trying to turn a rental while you have a full time job and another side business...

In any case, I've now posted on craigslist hoping someone will contact ME. But my goodness, some of the ridiculous stuff you deal with in real estate is driving me nuts. I love how everyone and their mother is watering at the mouth to get my money. From the mortgage company to the real estate agent, to the contractors. Ugh...index funds are looking more and more attractive by the day.
Title: Re: Ugh...ridiculous quotes from general contractors
Post by: Another Reader on June 10, 2014, 09:05:22 PM
You don't need a GC to do flooring.  You should be able to find a moonlighting installer or a handyman to do it for you.  Also. Lowes will do an installation at a not too unreasonable price on sale, but they will butt it up to the existing baseboard and install a small piece of molding to hide that.
Title: Re: Ugh...ridiculous quotes from general contractors
Post by: waltworks on June 10, 2014, 11:07:23 PM
1. You aren't paying for the materials (especially cheap materials) for flooring, you're paying for labor. It can be a pain. Do you need the old floor demo'd/dumped? You also generally need some underlay/soundboard and moisture barrier stuff for a floor so you may be wrong that the materials cost is $0.84.

2. GCs oversee OTHER tradespeople who do the actual work. If you are building a house from scratch, the GC will make sure the plumber shows up on time to get X done before the drywaller does his thing, etc. A GC might do some actual labor as well, of course (depending on the size of the job and the situation), but you went to the wrong person, since this is a simple project. It's like hiring the administrator of a hospital to x-ray your broken toe or something.

3. If you are not used to working with contractors/trades, just hire the Lowes/HomeDepot/etc people. They will do a perfectly adequate job and you'll know pricing/scheduling up front and not have to get bids/haggle/harass people to show up. 

Title: Re: Ugh...ridiculous quotes from general contractors
Post by: Nords on June 10, 2014, 11:43:06 PM
How are you finding reasonable contractors?
Pretty much the way everyone finds them-- by discussing the project with at least three of them, comparing their bids, and checking references.

A good contractor is hard to find, but they're worth their weight in gold if they'll work with you in the future (or give you referrals to other good contractors).  This particular contractor might be telling you that he's too busy to take your job, or that he doesn't want to work with you (for whatever reason). 

Your comment about "watering at the mouth to get my money" might be true for scammers & crooks, but there are plenty of professional contractors out there seeking a reasonable profit-- or at least the promise of consistently profitable work.  If they gain the impression that you're a one-time customer, and perhaps extremely sensitive to price, or perceiving them to be just watering at the mouth for your money, then they may elect to work with someone else.

If it's that time-consuming to find a contractor who makes you happy, then maybe it's easier to figure out how to do the flooring on your own.  It might actually take fewer man-hours and be more satisfying than going the contractor route.
Title: Re: Ugh...ridiculous quotes from general contractors
Post by: Bearded Man on June 11, 2014, 06:26:34 PM
Update: right after I posted this I posted a gig on craigslist and got tons of responses within MINUTES. Many of them licensed and bonded. Some offered to do the flooring for $300 (pass, no thanks) to about 6K for garage to be restored (unpermitted garage conversion in place), paint four bedrooms about 1K square feet, and put in laminate flooring. MUCH more reasonable, and the guy speaks English and seems easy to work with.

While I passed on the house with the unpermitted garage because it just seems risky to me, and there are sooooo many deals that only require some paint and carpet without the hassle of dealing with unpermitted additions, I did learn at least that posting in the gigs section of craigslist exactly what you want done, cost of materials, square footage, some pics, etc. gives pretty dang good quotes. Heck, knowing this, I might even keep my paid off rental and keep turning it over and over.