The SmartEgg Blog

A Woman’s Guide to Working with Contractors

As women in the real estate world, many of us feel vulnerable to lasting gender stereotypes in our industry. And let’s be honest, in a city with one of the largest gender pay gaps in the US, being weary of being taken advantage of is more than reasonable.


The last thing you want to do is hire a general contractor who overcharges and underperforms. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 6 smart steps you should know before hiring a general contractor.


Do Your Homework

Study up before you talk to any contractors. Research the job that needs to be done and find out typical costs for your area. Watch any available videos to see how similar projects are completed and what they require.


Google will provide you with vast information on the details of roofing, A/C, flooring, etc. Or, if you want to become an expert on estimating rehab costs, check out this useful resource.


Reach Out for Referrals

Ask trusted friends, investors, family members, and industry professionals about who they trust with their own projects. If you don’t know anyone who has taken on a similar job, do an online search for contractors with positive ratings and reviews. Then, carefully verify their credentials and make sure that they are licensed and registered with the state.


Go On a Quote Quest

A simple Google search may help you understand how much your project will cost. Additionally, ask for quotes from 3 or more general contractors and let each company know you’re getting multiple bids for the project. 


You may receive an exceedingly expensive quote, a very low quote, and several in the middle. Remember—a low price doesn’t necessarily mean good value! Instead, look for contractors who are the most straightforward and comfortable with their bids. These individuals are often the most experienced and know what the job will cost them, how long it will take, etc.


Create a High-Standard Contract

Before you hire a general contractor, be sure to obtain a written contract and have it reviewed by your attorney. Each state has its own requirements for what items must be disclosed in the contract. A few of the important items include:


  1. The scope of work and a complete list of all work that needs to be done
  2. The payment plan, including how much the entire project will cost, as well as when and how payments will be made 
  3. A copy of their license
  4. Lien waivers to show you’ve been added to their insurance


You can also ask the contractor to complete a background and credit check to ensure there aren’t any lawsuits against them for work not performed. 


Consider Personal Safety

Women carry a heavy and unique burden when it comes to personal safety. No property or profit is worth risking your wellbeing. Be intentional when entering job sights, meeting with contractors, or going to a property for the first time.


While these extra precautions may be a hassle, it’s important to acknowledge that as a woman, your safety may be at a higher risk than a man’s in similar circumstances. Use your street smarts.


Regularly Inspect the Work

If you don’t have your own project manager, lace up your boots and get on site. Regularly check the progress of your project via both scheduled and casual appointments. Record the progress as well as any questions, ideas, product numbers, and details. 


Using management software like CoConstruct can give you an extra layer of awareness. These tools can remind you of payment due dates and appointments as well as track the cost, materials, and progress of your project.


You Have What It Takes!

You can build wealth as a woman through real estate. I believe it because, as a single woman, I’ve done it. Don’t let extra challenges become roadblocks.


Ready to start building your nest egg? Let’s talk. We’re here to help with your Austin property and help you manage your investments hands-free.



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