How to Hire Mobile Home Contractors Without Getting Ripped Off

How to hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off

It doesn’t take much effort to find some truly terrible stories about a family getting ripped off by a home improvement professional. When you add mobile homes into the equation it gets even easier to find horror stories. This article, How to Hire Mobile Home Contractors Without Getting Ripped Off, will help you learn how to find a reputable contractor (or plumber, roofer, electrician, etc.), how to get a fair price, and how to protect yourself from getting ripped off.


Finding Reputable Mobile Home Contractors is Difficult

To truly know how to hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off we need to cover a huge issue that most of us will face: finding a professional willing to work on a mobile or manufactured home is difficult. There simply isn’t a lot of licensed professionals (plumbers, contractors, electricians, etc.) that will work on factory-built homes.

I’ve received so many emails and comments from homeowners stating they can’t find anyone willing to work on their mobile homes and because the hiring pool is so small from the get-go that it makes the entire process more complicated and time-consuming. It is one of the biggest disadvantages to owning a mobile or manufactured home.


Why Do Contractors Hate Mobile Homes So Much? 

There’s a couple of reasons reputable contractors don’t like to work on mobile homes:

  1. Poverty stereotype: The mobile home stereotype is alive and well, unfortunately. Many people associate mobile homes with poverty or at the least, lower income levels. Contractors would rather work on more expensive homes because they think they can get more money from them than us lowly mobile home owners.
  2. Mobile home construction:  There is a misconception within the construction industry that all mobile and manufactured homes are hard to work on. For example, a professional remembers working on a 1963 single wide that was poorly built. That professional tells all his associates about the one terrible experience he had working on a mobile home 30 years ago. That one bad experience ends up influencing dozens of construction professionals that automatically assume all mobile homes will be like that.  It’s odd, though, because I’ve helped my husband, a licensed master plumber, work on all types of homes and businesses. With mobile homes, you pretty much always know where the pipes and wires are and you will have a decent crawl space. I’ll take a plumbing problem in a mobile home over a slab house any day!


IMPORTANT: Never hire anyone that knocks on your door out of the blue, especially if it is after a natural disaster. 


Step 1: Find at Least Three Potential Candidates

Mobile home owners are a prime target for home improvement scams and schemes but you don’t have to be one of those stories. Follow these tips to hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off.

One of the smartest moves you can make is to locate professionals before you need them. It gives you more time to interview without being in a rush. So, where can you find reputable construction professionals that will work on your mobile home?

How to Find a Mobile Home Contractor

Park Managers

If you live in a mobile home park, the manager will be a great source of information. Rachel Hernandez, a mobile home investor that has written a couple of books available on Amazon, states, “Most times, the managers are in charge of fix-up work when it comes to park-owned mobile homes. Park managers interview contractors on a regular basis. As a result, they may be a good source of referrals. Though, they may not have the best or the most reasonably priced referrals. There have been times when I have used contractor referrals from park managers only to be disappointed with the results. Sometimes it does happen. Remember, park managers are people too.”

Community Announcement Boards

Rachel says that the community announcement boards in many mobile home communities, where residents and local businesses can post flyers or special announcements (i.e. garage sale, for sale, etc.), is another good resource for reputable mobile home contractors. She told us she had found flyers and business cards of people who specialize in mobile home repair work that ended up being reputable. Rachel told us that some of the advertisers were full-time businesses while others were individuals that just do jobs on the side when they are not working. Some may even be park residents. In fact, she found her ‘main handyman’ this way. Just by reading the board, she decided to contact him and found out mobile homes was his specialty.

Park Maintenance Staff

Rachel continues, “Apart from the park manager and community announcement boards, I’ve found the maintenance staff in the park to be a good source of help when it comes to mobile home repair work. Now, they do have to do the work on their own time but since they do these kinds of jobs for the park on a regular basis they have the experience. In fact, you can even see some of the park owned homes to check out their work.”

Mobile Home Dealers

Local mobile home dealers are always a good source to find reputable home improvement contractors. Since they sell manufactured homes, dealers have to make arrangements with local contractors for moving, installing and set-up of mobile homes on a regular basis so they have contacts for electricians, plumbers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors.

Neighbors and Community Residents

Talking with neighbors and park residents is a great way to find reputable contractors. If you see a service van in the driveway or you know a neighbor that has had a recent project, ask them about it. Not only is it a great way to hire contractors for your manufactured home and meet your neighbors. Win-win!

Related:  Our 10 Foolproof Tips for Hiring Home Improvement Professionals


Hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off - contractorQuestions to Ask Potential Contractors 

The first contact is such an important part of hiring mobile home contractors without getting ripped off. it sets the stage for the entire relationship. You want to appear professional and knowledgeable of the situation.

Before you make the first contact via phone call or email, you want to investigate online. Look at your states licensing boards and BBB. Type in the company or individual’s name along with the word ‘complaint’ in your Google Search bar. If you see excessive complaints of BBB issues, move on.

When you first contact a contractor over the phone, tell them about your project or issue and ask if they provide free estimates.

These are the top 10 questions you want to ask all possible candidate to work on your mobile home:

Are you Licensed and Insured? 

You must ask for their information and actually check that they are current.

If you are licensed, were you grandfathered in or did you actually take the exam? 

This is important. In a lot of states, they changed the laws requiring anyone working construction to have a license. These licenses usually come in three levels: Apprentice for the newbies, Journeyman for the experienced, and master for those that are most experienced and most knowledgeable of their trade. However, if your state was anything like WV, the law allowed for a 2 year time period for those already working in the industry to pay $75 and fill out a form promising they had the proper qualifications for whichever license they wanted. They gave out the master licenses without merit to thousands because there weren’t enough state workers to review the applications. SC, NC, and GA appear to have had similar issues. You want the candidate that took the exam. 

Do you have employees or use subcontractors?

How many jobs do you have going on right now?

Can I have a list of references?

Do you have all the tools and supplies you need to complete the job? 

Do you offer a warranty?

How many complaints have you received? 

What are the payment arrangements? Is there a discount for paying cash? 


There are a ton more questions. Ask the Builder has a list of 50 questions here. Depending on the scope of the job, you may want to ask them all.


The Estimate Phase: Meeting with Contractors

Promptness is a good indicator of professionalism. If the candidate is late, without notice, you can probably expect that behavior throughout the job.

When they arrive, tell them a bit about the project or issue. If they have to check a system (i.e. plumbing, HVAC, etc.), let them perform their diagnostic but be careful that they don’t remove anything until the contract is signed for service.

After their evaluation, they should be able to determine the problem and offer solutions. Most good contractors will give you a couple of suggestions including the most cost-effective, middle-of-the-road, and most expensive routes to take.


Get Those Estimates in Writing

A lot of people hire the first person that they meet – don’t be that person. Spending another day or so to find the right professional will make the entire process easier and safer.

Rachel recommends that you get multiple estimates before you make a decision. She suggests getting at least three good estimates. When receiving estimates, you can tell other contractors what came in which may help in negotiating price. She states, “Regarding the estimate, some contractors will give you one right on the spot. Make sure you get it in writing. If you have multiple jobs, get a line by line estimate for each item you discuss. This way you can choose what you want and don’t want to do. Be wary of contractors who give you one full-blown estimate for multiple jobs.

“Each job should be itemized with a definite timeline for completion. Sometimes contractors may need to go back and confirm prices on materials and labor so getting an estimate in a couple of days is OK. Usually, they can either e-mail, fax, or come back with the estimate. Remember, get a few estimates before you make your decision. Many times, you can talk to one contractor about one option and then another one comes by with another option.

“Once the contractors keep telling you the same thing, that’s when you know you’re contacting the right people. The issues should be uniform.


IMPORTANT: Never hire anyone that knocks on your door out of the blue, especially if it is after a natural disaster. 


Hire the Right Contractor for the Job

No one knows how to do everything. This goes for contractors as well. Be wary of those who say they can do all types of jobs. If someone tells you they can do painting, plumbing, roofing, HVAC work — be cautious.

A good contractor should tell you what they can and cannot do. In most states, a plumber cannot work on your wiring – each professional must be licensed in their area of expertise as stated above.

The exception is when you are hiring a general contractor. General contractors act like a manager and have access to all the licensed professionals you will need. Usually, general contractors will hire subcontractors and supervise.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries released a very thorough pamphlet called the Hire Smart Worksheet. It has a form to keep track of your bids and how to investigate the candidate online. Please download it here and print it out. 



Hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off - constructionHow Contractors Get Paid


Once you’ve made a decision to hire contractors for your mobile home, you’ll have to make payment arrangements. This can be done in several ways.

For smaller jobs, like a quick part replacement on a furnace, most contractors will take payment upon completion. Inquire about payment methods upfront as it will save you time and money. If you’re working with a smaller company, they may only be set up to take cash or check and not credit cards.

For larger jobs, you may be required to put a small down payment to cover materials and upfront labor costs. One of the most popular payment options is the 1/3 plan. You pay 1/3 of the total estimated cost of the entire job to get started. You pay another 1/3 at the midpoint of the job as long as everything is to your satisfaction and then you pay the final 1/3 after completion.

Never pay a contractor the full amount upfront (I don’t care how small the job)!


Buying Your Own Materials May Save Money

Another option is to pay for the labor and provide the materials yourself. If you leave the materials to the contractor you will have to pay a markup of at least 10%.

Buying your own materials and just paying for labor is a popular option for handyman type repairs (i.e. painting, installing a piece of drywall, etc.). The downside of this method is that you have to take the time to research, purchase, and transport the materials to your home.

Hire Mobile Home Contractors Without Getting Ripped Off: Job Completion 

Once the job is complete, be sure to inspect the contractor’s work. Make sure everything you agreed to has been done. If there are any issues, bring them up. Remember, you agreed to a specific standard of work. Be sure to hold the contractor up to that standard. If for some reason you are unhappy with the job, talk to the contractor. See what can be done to fix the issue. Good contractors will listen to you and correct the situation. Bad ones will not. Hopefully, you hired the right contractor in the first place.



Conclusion to Hire Contractors for your Manufactured Home

Hiring home improvement professionals is always a hit or miss – it’s just the nature of the industry, I suppose. When it comes to remodeling or repairing an older mobile home or manufactured home it is especially hard to find a reputable contractor. Use the suggestions and tools above to hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off.

Rachel states that learning how to hire mobile home contractors without getting ripped off is more of an art than an exact science. She says, “By putting in the time to interview contractors and asking the right questions, you will gain experience and knowledge. Though it may be a long process, this habit will save you both time and money in the long run”.

I appreciate Rachel Hernandez’s help in writing this article. She has spent several years as a landlord before taking the leap to specialize in mobile home investing. She is known as Mobile Home Gurl and writes and produces videos regularly about her stories and adventures in mobile home investing. She is the author of the book, Adventures in Mobile Homes: How I Got Started in Mobile Home Investing and How You Can Too!


Thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

15 thoughts on “How to Hire Mobile Home Contractors Without Getting Ripped Off”

  1. I’ll tell you one not to hire in Ocala area it’s FLORIDA MOBILE MASTERS. Don’t finish what they start. Most park models are hooked up in three days. I am at a week so far. They do lie to you we will be there tomorrow and never show.

  2. Robynne Catheron

    Guess what? I was just scammed by TWO roofers, one last year for $5700 and one this year for $1000. The sheriff says there’s nothing they can do. I could take them to small claims court but I’ll never get my money back (or the roof done), because you can’t get blood from a turnip.

    Contracts are useless if you’re scammed/ripped off. These two jerks have been doing this for years: the first guy has been scamming people for 20 years’ the sheriff and state police know him very well. The latest guy ripped off five other women before me.

    This whole business makes me sick and makes me feel stupid, even though I thought I did my homework. I’ll never trust another contractor. Because I have to have a new roof (mine is leaking and now I have mold), I just interviewed a guy who said all the same things the previous guys said, I don’t know if I believe him or not. Like I said before, contracts mean nothing. And New York State does not require a contractor’s license – anyone can call themselves a contractor, and it’s perfectly legal.

    I thought I was old enough (66) and wise enough, but evidently not.

  3. I own my own handyman business and I specialize in mobile home repairs and remodels. I’m having trouble targeting mobile home owners. Any ideas?

    1. Yes what kind of mobile home repairs do you do? I need a kitchen floor and a bathroom floor is there anyway you can help

  4. Francisco A. Tajalle

    I’;ve been trying to find me a contractor does any know where is one available in the Pahrump Nevada community? Some please refer me to a good and honest one.

  5. Hi Crystal
    I read your very informative article. Wondered if you could recommend a skilled repaid person to do the following job.
    I need some remodeling done to my double wide manufactured home . Its on my property and was installed in 2003; I need existing Window in kitchen replaced with a larger window “in width” but keep the height the same,
    I live in Menifee, CA 92584

  6. I desparately need to have the sliding patio door replaced on a manufactured building at my dog boarding kennel. I have had 3 sliding glass door companies come out and they have all said it can’t be done. Apparently the depth of a manufactured home wall is 4″ and the depth of typical sliding door jamb is 5.5″. Any leads on where I can purchase a slider that is made for a manufactured home? One that would have a narrow 4″ jamb? I’m so frustrated!!

    1. Hi Kathi,

      I don’t see why they couldn’t just frame it out a bit to fit? Typical door jamb sizes are 4 9/16″ for 2×4 frame with ½” drywall and most manufactured homes have 2×4 framing (3.5″ thick, so you’d only need to frame out an inch or so which is absolutely doable. Now, if you have a 7′ sidewall they may be talking about the inability to build out a proper header for the size of door you want. You’d need to get a shorter size for that.

  7. Hi! Found your site while trying to figure out which manufactured home dealers build the best double-wides.

    My hubby and I bought some property in middle Georgia two years ago and will finally start getting ready to clear the lot in anticipation of putting a manufactured home on it. The goal is to be debt free with no more house payments. (I’m almost 66 and disabled/retired with medical issues and he is still working at age 60.)

    We had a Palm Harbour (mid to high price range) 19 years ago before we moved to a slab house which turned out to have been a rebuild following a fire and was mostly subbed out with a host of problems. I loved my Palm Harbour but unfortunately they were booted out of Georgia many years ago. The cost to purchase and move one from Florida would be crazy so I am trying to find something very well made and reputable in Georgia.

    We have seen some nice looking homes made by Scotbilt, but they have mixed reviews. Even with that, they still to all appearances, look like they are made with better quality than the majority. The main problem with complaints against them seem to be customer service related for the most part.

    Are you familiar with Georgia manufactured homes? Do you recommend any specic brands and/or can you tell us how to select a great company? We are prepared to spend up to $100,000 to $125,000 for a customized double-wide. We would love to get “all the bells and whistles” as we intend for this to be our final home and it needs to be one we can customize to allow for ease of mobility for me in case I ever have to start using a wheelchair, etc.

    Sorry this is so long, but we really would appreciate any advice you can offer.

    1. Hi Joy!

      I’m jealous! You get to pick out a brand new home! I think looking at all the homes online is fun! I’m not familiar with Georgia but you can go to and click on Georgia to see all the dealers around you.

      Best of luck!

  8. How can you determine if you should trash a mobile home or do a total renovation? Have a single wide 1981 MH 624 SQ FT and trying to determine if I should gut and redo or trash. There has been water damage to floors from 2 leaky faucets.

    1. Hi Gay,

      If the repairs are going to cost more than the home is worth you’re going to want to be careful. Subflooring replacement is a very common mobile home repair so don’t let that intimidate you. If the joists under the subfloor are damaged then you may need to spend more than its worth.

      Best of luck!

  9. I’m grateful for your advice that we shouldn’t hire someone who just arrived and knocked on our door out of nowhere. With this idea, you have my two big, huge thumbs up! Why? Because I believe that a well-experienced and trusted contractor won’t do that as they’ll just wait for the clients to contact them!

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