I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who think they want to act as their own General Contractor on a remodeling project. They believe if they run their own project they can save money. Some will succeed in doing this but most will find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. K-Co has been hired many times by homeowners that have gotten in over their heads.
Choosing the right sub-contractors can be a hard task. Let’s say you want to build a small room addition for example. Did you know that it could take 10 sub-contractors for that project, one for each phase of the job? If you were to interview 3 for each trade, that’s 30 different contacts to make. Even if you were able to reach each of the potential subs the first time you called them, you still have to arrange to meet with each one. Just setting all those appointments is time consuming, let alone actually meeting with all those people. And don’t be surprised if some of the ones you have appointments with don’t show up.
Once you have met with the subs, you will no doubt want to check their references. Even if you only call two from each sub, that’s still another big list of phone calls to make. Most homeowners are employed full-time. If you were to try and run a job in your spare time, it could drag on forever.
One of the advantages of hiring a general contractor like myself is that I already know which sub-contractors to use. I have gone through a lot of subs over the years, and I remember all the bad ones. Yes, it is possible to get lucky just choosing someone you find online, but what if you don’t? The money you saved doing it yourself can be eaten up very quickly by a bad subcontractor.
Let’s say you happen to call the same companies that I use. You most likely aren’t going to save any money here. The price you will get as a “new customer” wouldn’t come close to the price I get because I use them over and over. Sub-contractors also typically don’t want to work with a homeowner doing their own project and their price may reflect that.
Don’t forget, you will also be dealing with the City’s Development Services Department. These folks will be issuing your permit (you knew about that right?) and inspecting the work. They are also very wary of homeowners “playing” contractor and the inspectors will certainly be looking for code violations. The codes are changing all the time, so it’s quite a task just keeping up with them.
Another important part of running a remodeling job is scheduling the subs. This is an area that is very tricky. Most subs have a lead-time. In other words it may take them a week or more from the time you call them until they can get to your job. Of course, I get quicker service because I use them week in and week out.
There are certain parts of projects that aren’t covered by the work of a particular sub, but will need to be done before the he or she can proceed. For example, you can’t have the drywall guy come in until the electrical work in the walls is completed and inspected.
Don’t expect a subcontractor to go out of their way to talk you through this. It will be up to you to schedule the trades in the correct order, and to know what has to be completed before the next guy on the schedule arrives. If you are not ready for a sub the day they show up, a trip charge can be assessed, plus you might have to wait a week or more for them to return.
My experience has been that I can do a job at a price that will allow me to make a fair profit while the homeowner benefits from my years of practical knowledge. I have been in this business in this area for twenty years, and I have learned a lot from my mistakes. People who think they can run a project and not make mistakes are fooling themselves. If you make even one error, it can wipe out any savings you might have had.
It’s your house and your money. Consider how you can best create your dreams with the least amount of negative impact on your daily life. I suggest K-Co, but that’s because I know what value we bring to any job.