Can I Save Money on my Next Remodeling Project if I act as my own General Contractor?

It sounds easy enough. The General Contractor just compiles a bunch of low bids from subcontractors, orders all materials at wholesale and schedules the work. Theoretically speaking, anyone could do that, and if you did that work yourself you should be able to save 20 to 30 percent on what the General Contractor is making.

The short answer is No. The reality is you’re assuming all of the risk in the project and you probably do not possess the necessary experience needed to pull it off correctly. Professional remodeling is much more complex than general construction.  Do it wrong and it’s all on you.

But here’s the catch, a professional Design Build General Contractor has years of experience and has established relationships with their tradespeople. Tradespeople largely expect that an owner-General Contractor doesn’t know what they are doing and they will easily charge you 25 percent more to compensate for that added risk of potential problems.

In addition, you will also have to execute all proper contracts, insurance, project management, material purchases, oversight, coordination and building permits. It takes a professional remodeler over 40-60 hours of just pre-planning for a simple kitchen.

You’re probably going to overspend on materials as you literally have to select and purchase hundreds of items, big and small, for any remodeling project. So, you’ll go to the only places you know: the big box stores. We can assume we know what will happen there.  A General Contractor will use professional trade suppliers who are accustomed to managing different types of materials, delivery schedules and the General Contractor will ensure all the materials will be of the highest quality and be purchased correctly.  

Furthermore, you will have to coordinate all these materials to arrive on site at the perfect time, organize them and in addition you will be managing how each of the trades, who all have busy schedules, will do their work in proper sequence. All areas such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, framing, tiling, flooring, drywall, paint, countertop fabrication, cabinet selection, glass, doors, and lighting, just to name a few, all have to be coordinated and installed in a specific order.

You’re also going to make costly mistakes. Downloading a construction contract from the Internet exposes you to a multitude of legal issues. When you’re the General Contractor, you’re assuming all of the risk, and there’s a lot of risk. If someone gets hurt on your property, you are liable. If you hire an electrician who takes your money and runs, you’re probably going to eat that cost and pay another electrician a premium price to come clean up the mess.

By hiring a professional Design Build General Contractor who specializes in remodeling, you will easily want to pay the going rate as they will take on all the risks on your behalf. They will also maintain all scheduling, project management, purchasing of materials, labor, liability insurance, manage the trade subcontractors, and will obtain all the appropriate permits so everything is built to code.

The best part…they will deliver the project of your dreams, whether it’s a new kitchen, bath, lower living area or an entire home remodel. It will be worth every dime you paid for years to come.

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