Planning to embark on a full-scale build or a minor home remodeling project? There are two ways you can go by. You can either hire a general contractor or DIY build it by hiring subcontractors and independent providers.
A common notion is that hiring a general contractor is just an added expense. Hence, it can be very tempting to skip general contractors and complete the project on your own. But before you start calling the shots, there are many things to consider.
Perhaps, among the top concerns is whether you have the necessary educational preparation, technical know-how, experience, and equipment to execute the project properly and safely. It’d be a breeze if you have a background in construction but if you don’t, you might have to think otherwise. Construction projects aren’t simple.
Be sure to assess the complexity of the project and honestly discern if you can do it. In some minor projects, such as minimal home repairs or remodeling, you can simply hire individual providers or suppliers. But with more complex projects, a general contractor proves helpful.
General contractors are highly qualified professionals. They bring with them skills such as project management, critical thinking, connections, and trade coordination. All of these are vital in executing complex projects. However, their expertise comes with a cost as well as a guarantee that they can get the project done cost-effectively and timely.
Torn between hiring a general contractor or not? Here’s a quick break down of its benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Hiring a General Contractor
Hiring a general contractor can save you time and hassle, at the very least. Assembling a construction team and sub-contractors isn’t easy, especially if you are not experienced and don’t have connections. You’ll likely consume your time shopping around for providers and suppliers. A general contractor can quickly assemble a construction team and start the project soonest.
Guided by their knowledge and experience, general contractors can ensure quality workmanship. They know the trusted suppliers and subcontractors; hence, you are guaranteed high-quality materials and the best results.
General contractors are bound by their contract. If the work is not satisfactorily completed as agreed in the contract, you can have the work redone. Likewise, these professionals strive to maintain a good reputation, ensuring their clients are fully satisfied with their work.
According to contractors at AFS General Contracting, suppliers and subcontractors tend to be more responsive to general contractors. It’s likely because they have previously worked together on a project or they are members of a local guild. In fact, the best subcontractors prefer to work only with general contractors with good payment history, construction knowledge, work continuity, and rapport.
Knowledge of building codes
Every construction project requires a certain permit. Each state and local jurisdiction has specific sets of building codes that you need to comply with. A licensed general contractor can help you meet building codes, secure requirements, and process permits. This will avoid you from getting delayed by the paperwork, paying for a re-inspection, or being fined for building code violations. An experienced contractor knows how to deal with the local building authorities.
Cons of Hiring a General Contractor
Many homeowners shun general contractors to save money. Indeed, hiring a professional construction manager can cost you a considerable amount, anywhere between $250 and $50,000, or even more. Typically, they charge about 10-20% of the overall project cost while some contractors charge a flat fee. To avoid spending too much, it is best to meet with a handful of providers and compare their rates.
Lack of control
Having a general contractor means another layer in the communications channel. Instead of giving instructions directly to workers or subcontractors, you’ll have all concerns coursed through the contractor. Any troubles with communication might lead to unsatisfactory results. Likewise, without direct supervision on the project, you might lose control over the quality of work of subcontractors.
It’s not uncommon for general contractors to handle several projects at a time. They might be too busy with ongoing projects and have little time for yours. Some contractors pull out their team to work on more urgent tasks, which can lead to delays for your project. This makes it crucial to choose a project contractor who is not yet overloaded with projects.
Hiring a general contractor depends largely on the project at hand. You must study the project first before finally deciding whether to hire one.
If you have major construction projects, an experienced general contractor will certainly save you more time and money. On the other hand, if it’s a minor project, you can consider acting as the contractor. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll also learn new skills.
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