We’ve all been there: your toilet’s clogged, your car battery’s dead, and you have no idea how to fix it. Where do you go?
Google, of course.
Internet sources like DIY blogs and YouTube have empowered consumers to do all sorts of tasks that originally required calling a pro. In fact, Americans watched over 100 million hours of YouTube how-to videos by 2015.
The problem is, these resources have empowered DIY-ers to forgo the professionals when they’re actually important. One of these important resources is a general contractor. We’re happy to work alongside both DIY homeowners and general contractors, but here, we’ll outline how and why we believe that the general contractor benefits YOU, the homeowner who’s considering a DIY project. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, building a custom shower in your dream bathroom, or doing new construction on a home addition, a general contractor is ideal for these types of complicated projects.
A general contractor saves you time and money.
The top reason homeowners forgo the general contractor and manage the project themselves is to save money. A general contractor charges either a flat fee or a percentage of your total project, so managing all the individual components yourself could, in theory, save you money. However, unexpected challenges should be expected in any large project. You should expect it to take longer and cost more than what YouTube says.
A general contractor can orchestrate individual subcontractors most efficiently, and is responsible for the quality.
The general contractor has a vetted, qualified list of electricians, plumbers, carpenters and landscapers. Before he or she is hired, a seasoned general contractor has already invested dozens of hours into ensuring that every person entering your home uses high quality products and does high quality work. As a first-time project manager, you can’t be confident of quality and skill if you’re hiring a subcontractor for the very first time. A general contractor can also get an individual trade, such as plumbing or electric, into your home more quickly.
In a good economy where tradespeople are in high demand, those subcontractors can pick and choose the best opportunities like any other successful business. When given the option, we’ve found that the trades choose the contractor jobs over working with DIY homeowners. As a result, you can get a better electrician or plumber into your home through a contractor.
Why? A good general contractor sends blueprints with detailed measurements. Whether remodeling a kitchen or building a new kitchen from scratch, subcontractors such as plumbers can actually come into a home without previously seeing the space and go straight to work. The contractor already saved the tradesperson hours of (billable) work, saving you the expense of their time. With a DIY homeowner, a plumber needs to do a home visit and take measurements first. Where a new job through a general contractor might have a turnaround time (from initial call to completed job) of two or three weeks, an average turnaround time with a DIY homeowner takes two months or more!
That’s not the only way that the general contractor can minimize the billable hours of subcontractor work. As a DIY contractor, you’ll have to go to Google for the order of project steps. Generally, there’s an accepted order of who comes and installs when. Foundation, framing, electric, plumbing, drywall, right? A general contractor already knows the best order, and it may vary on a case-by-case basis. He or she will know how to minimize the billable hours and avoid any downtime. If your DIY project gets off schedule and the electrician comes in on the same day as the drywaller and the plumber, someone has to stand around and wait. You’ll get billed for those waiting hours, cutting into your DIY savings.
A general contractor protects you from building code violations, warranty violations, and damages that cost you money.
For starters, if a less-than-reputable subcontractor throws an old toilet out the window, misses the trash bin, and hits your neighbor’s car, the general contractor assumes liability for the damage. If you are the general contractor, you’re liable for that damage. Additionally, if a subcontractor is injured on the job and you’re the general contractor, you could also be responsible for his healthcare costs. Suddenly, you’re not saving much money by doing this project alone.
Building codes and product warranties are a complex, ever-changing area of expertise. Work that isn’t done up to code can result in fines, difficulty getting future building permits or construction loans, and even problems with home resale. A general contractor is always aware of current building code, and will assume the responsibility and costs if any of the subcontractors do a sub-par job.
General contractors also will ensure that work done doesn’t nullify any product warranties. Most of our high end bathroom and kitchen products come with warranties, because no brand-new toilet should stop working after a year. However, if you do some of the work yourself or hire out an inexperienced contractor to do the tiles or drywall, an innocent mistake can nullify your warranty. If that product malfunctions, the replacement can only come out of your pocket.
How do I find a good general contractor?
We value our DIY homeowner clients and are happy to work with you personally to meet your needs. In fact, we’ll come out and offer an estimate for free. But for the reasons above, we’ve found that projects go faster and smoother for homeowners who use a general contractor.
Because our company values are based on trust and quality, we have relationships with some of the best-rated, reputable general contractors in our area. If you’d like a general contractor with the Kegonsa seal of approval, reach out to us. We’ll help you find someone that will work perfectly for your unique project.