Real estate investing is all about The Right Stuff, as defined by you, the investor. For some, The Right Stuff is a mobile home park, for others, a Unique-Fixer-Upper-Opportunity. The Right Stuff goes deeper than the purchase though – it goes all the way to the rock bottom of your business.
The right tools, materials, clothing and software are all part of The Right Stuff. The suited picture (who some have accused of being my identical twin) is Not The Right Stuff for working in a basement, but is The Right Stuff for asking for a sizable loan.
My dad is a scientist at heart (geology) and I spent a good portion of my childhood competing in science fairs (ice crystals are anisotropic crystalline solids…for those who may remember). This love for experimentation extends to my adult life. Never put in a hardwood floor? A few YouTube videos and some trial and error and I’m off to the races. Rewiring an entire house? No problem (zapped a few times, but I’m still typing).
My love for experimentation previously allowed me to believe that if anyone could do it, I could do it. Hence the floors, wiring, plumbing, drywall, plaster, etc. This belief has probably held me back, but not necessarily in a bad way, as I have been forced to build systems to manage both a day job as well as the rental business.
The past two years studying for my MBA have taught me many things but one of the best is: the ‘rules’ of life are there for a reason, play by the ethical rules and you’ll probably get to where you want to go much faster and with less angst than by trying to create new rules. For me, this has meant the abandonment of the ‘I’ for the development of a team.
My company has worked with five contractors with mixed results (remember this one?). Through all of the previous contractors, I’ve fallen back to “if anyone can do it, I can do it”, which has really stifled my business’s growth, but I am still convinced has probably helped me more than it has hurt.
But I’ve continued to try.
Which gets me to the most recent contractor I have used.
Last February, I needed a contractor to help with a downed electrical service wire (the wire going from the pole to your house). An ice storm had pulled the wire off one of my units and I needed someone THAT DAY to assess the situation and come up with a solution. I called around and received a recommendation to hire Chris.
On that icy day in February, Chris finished his normal day’s work, then went to my apartment, secured the wire and made arrangements to fix the service wire the next day. Since that day, Chris has been my go-to guy for plumbing and electrical work. When the original contractor walked off my most recent project (again, should have followed my gut), I called Chris.
A sailor would blush at Chris’s command of the artsy words in the English language and his diet may be sub-par, but his work ethic and skills are far superior to all other contractors I’ve found (and his prices are exceedingly low for the quality of his work). Chris is The Right Stuff for my business.
I am trying to purchase a duplex in need of significant rehab (if any friends have a spare $44k, I can put it to good use and give you a good return). I decided to ask Chris if he wanted the work, and asked him to do some of the work I had intended to do. Chris’s conservative proposal (ie: assumed high costs, actual costs should go lower), came in at a lower cost and faster turn around than if I did the work myself.
Definitely The Right Stuff for my team.