One of the biggest challenge property managers face is finding and retaining great contractors. The nature of the maintenance and contracting business is such that if you are good, word gets out and you get real busy. The busier you are the higher you have to price your work until you are not as busy. It is a never-ending cycle.
The Demands of Property Management For Contractors
We have demands that a lot of contractors struggle to meet. Things like:
- Being fast to produce estimates
- Punctual in starting jobs when promised
- Trustworthy so we need minimal quality control inspections
- Excellent workmanship
- Support to return if needed
- Low prices.
Guess which one suffers if you want all of these things? Low prices of course.
Requesting Itemized Quotes
Don’t expect great contractors to provide itemized quotes.
Yes, we understand why you want the job broken down to its smallest components. But…really great contractors rarely give itemized quotes. Why? Because the great contractors have been at it long enough that they make a profit. Yikes!
We want to make one ourselves but no way should anybody working for us make one!
Contractors have overhead expenses and they need to cover them. My experience (I use to be an owner of a residential contracting business) is that the great contractors are the best because they have rather significant overhead that has to be covered. This overhead is how they are able to perform and meet the demands listed above.
Many of us can handle some repairs ourselves, if we had the time. So, it is not unusual that, if given an itemized quote, we can break down the cost of materials and conclude the rest is for labor. But it is not! It includes overhead and profit-what it takes to keep the great contractor in business.
For the great ones, it is just not worth defending their bids to that level of itemization. It is easier to just go to the next job and get paid what it takes to perform and be appreciated for doing so.
The Good Contractors Have Enough Work They Don’t Need To Defend Their Profits
Don’t be surprised when a great contractor will not break down a job to the smallest detail. Unless you are willing to do the job yourself, it should be expected that the contractor has to pay his expenses and make a profit or else he will be out of business. He likely uses a simple formula over cost and does not care to have that scrutinized.