Searching the phrase “apartment contractors near me” isn’t necessarily going to offer the best options. Instead, that search will likely highlight those with the loudest web presence, the ones with the best digital marketing strategy, for a given geographical territory. Those results aren’t an indicator of quality as they can change every day. To truly find the right fit for a contract, it’s important to vet proposals using carefully established criteria.
It may be tempting to focus solely on price point, but often, quotes come in low due to corner-cutting on materials or labor. While the price is an obvious consideration for most contractors, the most cost-effective option isn’t necessarily going to be the cheapest upfront. SoCal landlords must consider the long-term value of their renovations before beginning any project.
Finding the Best Apartment Contractors Near Me: Basic Considerations
Most experts suggest that landlords consider three quotes before making a decision—though, more quotes are better for larger jobs. When reviewing the quotes of local contractors, landlords should be on the lookout for a few basic factors, which will be evident in the proposal.
- Timeliness: Contractors who are chronically late tend not to outline clear deadlines to avoid painting themselves into a corner. If the contractor fails to provide a detailed timeline in their proposal, it’s likely because they don’t believe they can stick to one.
- Attention to detail: Attention to detail in the quote is a good indication of attention to detail in the project. Those details may include a list of specific materials and why they were selected, along with pricing.
- Company culture: While construction can be a high-turnover field, due to its toll on the body, a company with a consistently rotating crew should be approached with caution. The inability to retain long-term employees is indicative of a poor culture where employees are considered disposable.
- Mid-range pricing: If they’re quoting lower than everyone else, or lower than the average, that’s a bad sign. No company is innovative, efficient, high-quality, and cheap all at the same time. They will have to cut corners to get the job done. Meanwhile, the company that submits a mid-range quote that doesn’t differ much from others is being much more realistic when it comes to capabilities.
These aren’t the only criteria in the proposal review process, but they may be overlooked as the landlord focuses on more of the technical details, such as price, materials used, and experience. However, it’s equally important that contractors have the soft skills necessary to complete jobs in a timely, professional manner.
Warning Signs of a Poor Contractor
The first sign of a bad contractor is one that avoids written agreements. The only contractor that is afraid to sign a contract is one that doesn’t believe they will adhere to it. If the contractor refuses to establish a written agreement for work, it’s best to avoid them. That contract is necessary so the landlord can monitor for other common warning signs of a bad contractor, including:
- Using unfamiliar materials: If the contract says one material but the contractor brings another, that’s a major sign for concern, as they may be trying to cut corners with cheaper material to increase their product margin at the expense of the apartment upgrades. Landlords should familiarize themselves with any material to be used in a project and ask questions when those materials differ.
- Scope creep: While the end price of a project may fluctuate slightly, sudden massive increases in cost need to be explained clearly. Scope creep is usually a result of a contractor being unrealistic in their terms and trying to under-bid others. Choosing a proposal with a realistic cost is the best way to avoid this pitfall.
- Overlooked permit requirements: Failure to get the right permits for a job is a mistake that can number in the six figures. Only a sloppy or inexperienced contractor would overlook the necessary permits established most often by California’s Building Code.
Don’t just jump on the first “apartment contractors near me” results. Instead, landlords should get at least three quotes, vet them carefully, and keep an eye out for warning signs. That way, they can get their apartment renovation project completed on time and on budget without sacrificing quality.