Think Your Contractor's On Vacation?

Who Says "Nobody rehabs in the winter time..."
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Do you really think your contractors spend their winters in some warm place? Say Florida... Or just take a holiday until the weather warms up? Of course you don't. Then why is it that many folks presume spring is the best time to get a project underway? And winter is the worst?
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What does that tell you?
Well, all that should tell you is "they" don't really know much about the construction business. Winter job shut downs, or layoffs, may apply in some areas, like road building and... But I can't really think of others. Why? Because most of the building tradesmen I know welcome winter work. After all, they still have their rent to pay, and groceries to put on the table.
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Nothing really "dirty" about this secret. It's just another of those misconceptions that help some folks rationalize staying home on the coach themselves when the weather outside is 'frightful'. Certainly, time was it wasn't a good idea to pour concrete foundations or walkways, or paint the house, in deep winter. But for decades now, for a small premium cost, chemicals may be added to concrete to permit working at near freezing temperatures; the same holds true for painting products, pre mixed with additives for cold weather use.
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And furthermore, if one follows the weather reports at all, in our climate here in the Chicago area, actual "below freezing" weather is usually short lived. For decades our winters have been more temperate than severe.
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If there's a Secret at all in this, it's that contractors are grateful for winter work. The trades that customarily work out of doors simply dress for the conditions; same as in summer, when they wear T-shirts and sometimes shorts! Inside the building, they'll bring portable high velocity job site heaters until the structure has its own heating system operating. And hot coffee and soup might take the place of their icy Big Gulps.
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Is there an Advantage?
For the Savvy Rehabber there are advantages to this "off season" work. Pricing may prove advantageous: These are contractors looking for work (while your competing developers wait out the season). In uncomfortable weather, those working out of doors may move just a little faster- if only to stay warm; in any event, there won't be much sitting around.
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If there is any such thing as a "spring market," then the year-round developer will be bringing his product to the market just about the time competitors are getting started on their projects. But, even more importantly, the savvy investor will have kept his favorite trades occupied and available, to roll right into his next (spring) project. This becomes very important for ambitious developers fast-tracking their annual production (at, say, 8-12 properties per year).
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What's the Downside?
Are there downsides to winter work? Well, for starters, someone might have to shovel the walks; on the other hand, there's no grass to cut. There will be greater utility expense, particularly for heating; but, if you keep an eye on the job, you're not heating to a "residential standard: 55 degrees ought to do it, rather than a cozy 72. The whole job might need a bit more watching; once the water's turned on, you can't have the pipes freeze. Prospective customers may be fewer, but those looking tend to be more motivated. Are there more downsides? Maybe, but none come to mind.
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The upshot? Experienced investors and rehabbers do not shy away from winter work. The advantages far outweigh the difficulties.
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If it feels good, why stop now?
Momentum plays a big part in successful real estate development. To stop work for 2 months will suspend progress 3 months. Just think of the mobilization hassles of getting any project underway. How many times a year do you want to go through that?
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As the seafaring captain might say, "Stay the course." Right through the year. Oh, one last suggestion-- You might consider giving the boys the day off for Christmas. As for New Year's, well...  #