It’s no secret that remodeling your house or building a new addition can be expensive. Almost everyone who has considered a major home renovation has entertained the idea of assuming the role of general contractor in an effort to save money.
If you’re currently considering moonlighting as a GC, you may be asking yourself the following questions. Am I capable of doing it? What’s the downside to being my own contractor? How much will I save?
A good contractor is an expert planner, has strong attention to detail, and is good at negotiating. If you don’t possess these attributes, then maybe hiring a professional GC is your best option. However, if you do have these traits, and you have a lot of spare time, then assuming the role of contractor could be a good idea. As general contractor, your responsibilities consist of planning the entire project and keeping an eye out for potential shortfalls, estimating material costs, negotiating material quotes, obtaining permits, hiring subcontractors, scheduling inspections, scheduling deliveries, tracking payables, and a multitude of other duties. If you feel like you’re capable of accomplishing all of these tasks, and will enjoy doing it, then you should consider acting as your own contractor.
Although there are some benefits to being your own general contractor, there are also some potential downsides. In the event there are unexpected costs or unforeseen problems, and there probably will be, you may not have the experience or know-how to handle these situations, which could cost you BIG! A professional contractor knows which subs they can trust, and, more importantly, which subs to avoid. Hiring subs that perform low-quality work or don’t show up can be frustrating and add to your costs. You’ll more than likely pay full cost for materials. An experienced contractor also has relationships with suppliers, which usually results in lower materials costs, sometimes even with their markup. Finally, the quality of the finished project may suffer due to your lack of experience.
How much will you save acting as your own general contractor? If the whole project ends up going sideways, probably nothing. However, if all goes as planned, you can expect to save 15-20% of the total cost of the project, which could amount to a lot of money on a major renovation. Additionally, there may be some hidden savings as a result of being in complete control of the project.
There are definitely some benefits and potential savings when acting as your own general contractor. However, there are also some potential pitfalls that could end up costing you a lot of money. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. If you do decide to act as your own contractor, GOOD LUCK!
Please let me know your thoughts on hiring a general contractor versus acting as your own in the comments section below!