Should I Use a General Contractor?
It is time to complete your dream renovation. Now you must ask yourself, do I need a general contractor to run the project or can I coordinate the trades myself. The answer to this question is not always a simple choice. When it comes to spending thousands of dollars on a renovation it is important to consider your options. Here are some factors to consider before you begin your next renovation project.
What is a general contractor?
A general contractor is a single party responsible for managing construction of your project. The general contractor is the clients' key contact for all matters involving construction. Responsibilities of a general contractor typically included:
- Assigned prime contractor
- Maintain a safe work site
- Coordinate multiple subcontractors
- Manage day to day construction activities
- Develop and manage the construction schedule
- Obtain all regulatory permits and approvals
The exact scope of services provided by the general contractor can vary between projects and providers. It is important to review the scope of services prior to choosing a candidate.
Does my project require a general contractor?
Here are a few simple questions to start:
- Do you have prior knowledge or experience with this type of project?
- Can you coordinate one or more contractors at a time?
- Are you available to supervise the construction?
If you answered no to any of those three questions, you should hire a general contractor.
If you a replacing baseboard and painting a few rooms in your home, you probably do not require a general contractor. In some cases, the painter may act as the general contractor and hire a millworker to replace the baseboards.
Many home owners believe they can hire multiple trades and complete a renovation project successfully on their own. Construction is very complex! Without extensive experience working a specific type of project things can go sideways fast. A few more things to think about before you undertake a project are:
- Who is responsible for the safety of the worksite?
- Who is coordinating approvals, building permits and inspections?
- What is the sequence of construction?
- Who is supervising the work?
- How is my property insured during construction?
To the average person these can be difficult questions. The larger a project becomes the more complex it becomes to manage. If there are over two contractors required for a project, you should consider a general contractor. The risk of things going wrong if you don’t use a general contractor is far greater than the reward.
How do I choose the right general contractor?
Take your time and do your homework before you hire any contractors. Your project will be better off if you take the time to do some research before hiring. Here are a few simple starting points to find the right general contractor:
- Post your project and obtain multiple quotes
- Review the quotes carefully. Make sure you understand what is included and what is not. If the scope is not clear then be sure to ask questions.
- Meet the applicants. You are trusting these contractors to work on your home. It is important you get to know them face to face.
- Get references and view previous projects. Keep in mind ratings and reviews can be misleading if not verified. Visiting previous projects first hand will give you a much better idea of the level of service provided and quality of work.
- Do a simple google search and check resources like the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
- Ask for proof of insurance, bonding and licenses
Once you have been through this whole process have another look the prices the general contractors are offering. Don’t just choose the lowest price. Consider each of the items above prior to selecting a general contractor. Start your next renovation project off right! Post your project and connect with local contractors.