There are countless projects homeowners can do to make their home as unique as they are. Some of these projects are small, easily manageable, and can be completed using basic tools, a little elbow grease, and some online assistance from DIY videos. But what happens when you have something that is a bit more complicated, like a remodel, repair, or addition? Larger projects should be completed by licensed professionals who have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to handle any issues that may come up during the completion of the job. By hiring the right contractor for your needs, you will save yourself a lot of frustration, time, and money.
There are two types of contractors who can assist you with your project. Residential general contractors are home remodeling or building professionals who organize and execute larger scaled projects, are required to take continuing education each year, and typically hold larger amounts of liability insurance. Specialty residential contractors are professionals who specialize in a specific area of residential construction such as flooring, cabinets, siding, etc. Typically, specialty contractors have few license requirements or required experience and typically hold lower general liability insurance thresholds. (There is an exception here for Plumbing and HVAC contractors where the licensing requirements are very specific) Knowing the difference between contractors is important to ensure that your project runs smoothly.
We have found that sometimes people hire a general contractor when they really don’t need one and more often, they didn’t hire one when they really should have. A few rules of thumb to follow when determining the type of contractor to hire are:
- If the job is going to take more than one week…hire a general contractor
- If the job requires several different professions to complete…hire a general contractor
- If the job requires permitting…hire a general contractor
- If the job requires several stages or has facets to be worked on…hire a general contractor.
There are definite advantages to hiring the right contractor for your project:
- A general contractor saves you time! If weather slows the project down, a general contractor has the scheduling knowledge to prevent costly downtime and get the project back on track. A GC will resolve problems that arise and can provide answers to important questions.
- A general contractor has a wide network of resources to ensure you are getting what you asked for.
- A general contractor saves you money! Most GC’s have a network of contractors they use with predetermined installation costs. Subcontractors will typically charge more to individual owners than to a GC with whom they have negotiated rates.
- A general contractor has connections! Subcontractors and suppliers are always responsive to general contractors with whom they have built a long-term relationship with. This ensures the lowest prices and faster turnaround times.
- A general contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. A general contractor is responsible for all contractors working on a project site and is required to make sure that each sub-contractor is also insured.
- A general contractor has extensive building code knowledge. Project owners don’t typically have the time or knowledge base to identify each code that has to be complied with. GC’s are required to have this knowledge and are required to maintain that knowledge through continuing education.
- A general contractor provides one point of contact. By have one person to go to, you save time, money, and frustration.
- A general contractor will provide you with cost information to assist you in getting the most for your dollar.
Starting a new construction project can be difficult, but with the right contractor you will save time, money, and frustration. A general contractor will make sure the job is done right, the first time.