Rental Property Contractor No Shows

The Contractor String-Along. Contractor Accepts A Job But Keeps Putting It Off

The contractor string along - if you own a rental property, if you flip properties or if you merely own a house that you live in, you have likely experienced the contractor string-along. That's where a contractor shows up, gives you an estimate, you accept the estimate, and a contractor gives you a date of when they're going to show up to do the work and then they don't show. They commonly will give you an excuse and then give you another date of when they're going to show up, which they miss again. And then of course, they continue missing it again and again and again. And you experience real damage from this.

If you are a real estate investor you have a real need to get this property to market, either to resell it or to get a tenant in. Or if you're just merely a property owner, you're having to live with the inconvenience of waiting on a repair. And it's just a common dynamic, and I think contractors just don't want the missed opportunity, so they never want to say no because they don't know if they're going to want the job mentally or not. So they say yes, they create real damage to property owners, and then they end up not taking the job.

Unfortunately, actually even at this state of the game, being a property manager dealing with contractors for a living, even recently I got strung along by a contractor, a mason that we've used many times and I've tried to help out an old timer, a nice guy personality-wise, but he just kept stringing me along and then booting me for other jobs that came along. So, another job would come along and he would take that one and just kind of put ours to the side.

Then we're stuck with a vacant shell property that we can't get renovated because we've been waiting for this mason and trying to help him out. We come to find out as six months go by, no mason. So, it happens to the best of us. My advice is really just be cognizant. Just be constantly aware, is this contractor stringing us along? If they missed a couple deadlines, then that's a clear sign that it's time to move on.

Don't hold out hoping the contractor will finally kick in and show up. Even if they do show up, they'll likely disappear again for periods of time. And if they do actually contact you and say, "Hey, I'm not going to be able to show up when I said I was," listen to the reason why. So if they're saying, "Hey, I am in the middle of a job, we open up a wall and it's a lot worse in the wall than I expected it to be, so it's going to take me a lot longer." Or if there's issues with a supply chain where they're not having trouble getting material; these are all valid reasons. And there might be excuses that might be valid or not, but if the contractor has a valid reason, then perhaps you can trust them a time or two that they will show up the next time that they're stating they will.

But if the reasons aren't valid such as that another job came up and they're going to take this job real quickly and put your job off to the side yet again, then that is the sure sign that it's just time to cut your losses and move on to the next contractor and avoid contractor string along at all cost. Good luck!!!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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