At some point, every landlord and property manager will need to know how to hire a flooring company for rental property. This guide will help.
How to Hire a Flooring Company for Rental Property – an Overview
If you think just picking out the right flooring is all you need to do when getting new floors, you might want to think again. What if you hired an efficient team to do your installation? What if they ruin the flooring installation making it look uneven? Yes, this could happen. In fact, it happens all the time.
That’s why it’s essential to know how to hire a flooring company that knows what they’re doing. While many companies out there claim to be the best in the business, you cannot authenticate everything they claim. This is why it is important that you do some research to ensure you have hired the best your money can buy.
The first step of that is finding the best flooring companies in your area.
How to Find the Best Flooring Company
We always say there are three main ways to find contractors: referrals, the Internet, and offline
Referrals – This is just word-of-mouth advertising. If your friend, coworker, or someone in your real estate club can refer you to a flooring company, that’s an excellent place to start. That said, you should take the recommendations with a grain of salt and still look them up online.
Online – The bread and butter of any property manager and landlord. Sites like Google make it easy to find companies in your area that can do the work. Review sites like Angie’s List can also help, and in a way, are better because they often have coupons and more customer reviews than Google/Bing.
Offline – When you’re in the market for new floors, you may start to notice flooring companies as you drive around town. Or those fliers in the mail from floorers may stand out suddenly. That’s an excellent way to first hear about these companies, but again you should check them out online.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list, it’s time to learn more about the companies. To help you out, we have put together some pointers that will help you hire the best in the business.
Tip #1: Do it All Through One Source
When it comes to knowing how to hire a flooring company, you should first know whether they are providing you with everything you need. You shouldn’t buy flooring from one place and look for another company to install it. An efficient company helps you pick and install the right flooring for your rental property.
Tip #2: Know Your Contractor
Before you hire a flooring company, you need to make sure you do proper research. Here are a few things to ask about:
- Are they licensed?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have customer testimonials? Are there previous customers you can talk to?
- Do they have a history of providing quality work on time and within budget?
- What kind of insurance do they carry?
- Are their workers in-house or subcontractors?
- Will a project manager be available on-site for you to talk to?
- How much would the job cost?
- Can they itemize each part of the installation? (get this breakout in writing)
- How long would the job take?
- What do you, the owner, need to do to prepare for installation day?
Tip #3: Ask about Professional Associations
If you’re getting hardwoods, confirm the contractor is a member of the National Wood Flooring Association. You want to work with flooring contractors that follow guidelines provided by NWFA. When you find a company willing to be a member of NWFA and follow their guidelines, you can be assured that your flooring is in good hands.
There are other associations your contractor may be a part of as well. A few are ICFIA, FCICA, and INSTALL. Some are bigger than others, but just having a contractor that has joined one is a good thing.
Tip #4: Pay Attention to Customer Service
A great company should take good care of you from the first time you talk to them onward. Once you’ve done your research and selected a few companies to talk to, pay attention to how they treat you on the phone. If they’re polite and eager to help, set up an appointment to get a quote. If not, move on to the next company.
Tip #5: Ask about a Satisfaction Guarantee
Make sure the flooring company you hire offers a guarantee or warranty on the work. Flooring isn’t a cheap investment, so getting that guarantee in writing is a great way to protect yourself from a big loss in case something happens.
Note that the flooring should also have a manufacturer’s warranty. Ask the flooring company about that as well.
Tip #6: Knowledge is Power
If you have a few basic questions for your flooring company that they can’t answer immediately, that’s a red flag. Even though the first person you talk to may not know everything, they should be able to answer most of your questions readily.
Choosing flooring for your rental home largely depends on the location of the property. This is extremely true in flood zones and humid areas. It would not be a good idea to have carpeting or hardwood flooring in this region because humidity can cause the hardwood to expand and buckle or crack. The humidity and flooding also poses a high risk for mold growing in or under carpeting.
The same rules apply to which room the flooring will go into. A general rule is carpeting in the living areas and hard flooring in the bathrooms and kitchen. Due to the humidity and risk of flooding in bathrooms and kitchen areas, carpet would not be a suitable choice. While hard flooring is ok in living areas, carpet is more comfortable.
Types of Flooring
Here are some of the most popular flooring materials used in residential properties:
- Laminate – Laminate flooring is a common choice because you can still get the high-end look of hardwood without the exorbitant price. Laminate flooring comes in many styles to look like hardwood, ranging from light tan to dark cherry.
- Vinyl – Vinyl is another budget-friendly option for flooring when you want a nice look without the high cost. The vinyl squares paired with grout can give a realistic look of tile flooring. It is also very easy to create patterns and alternative layouts and shapes with vinyl as it is easy to cut.
- Tile – Tile is a more costly option but the end result is marvelous. Tile comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. Tile is also not a user-friendly DIY option as it requires more work. When installing tile it is a good idea to get a professional.
- Carpet – There are different styles of carpet to choose from, the most common being shag, plush, and berber. While carpet is not ideal in some locations and rooms, this is the optimal choice for living rooms and bedrooms for comfort. Carpet tends to be a cheaper option and can be easily ripped up and replaced.
- Hardwood – Hardwood flooring is the most expensive of the flooring options but is so for its quality look and easy cleanability. However, maintenance takes more work if the flooring is scratched, so hardwood is not an ideal choice for properties that allow pets.
Knowing your flooring options and hiring a flooring company to do the work on your rental property is just like any other skill- it’s not easy the first couple of times. But as you do it for more and more rental properties, you get used to the process.
Before you know it, you’ll be a pro and will have the best companies on speed dial! And since you’re using property management software (we assume), you’ll be able to easily schedule them to come out at the best time for you and your tenants.