Remodeling a home is a big decision. There are many reasons to remodel, such as improving traffic flow, increasing livable space, and boosting a home’s value.
Remodel projects can be expensive, especially if you can’t do all of the work yourself. Even so, there are plenty of ways to save money on your remodel to make it more financially viable. One option is to act as your own general contractor. Before you do so, though, you’re going to want to carefully consider if you can handle the responsibilities that come with the job.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
A general contractor is in charge of sticking to budgets, hiring subcontractors (like electricians and plumbers), and orchestrating the entire project from start to finish. The decision to hire a contractor often depends on factors such as the scope of the project, the budget, and your personal experience.
Here are a few of the most important pros and cons that should be considered when deciding if you should hire a contractor for your home remodel.
- The quality of the work: As a licensed professional who is bonded and insured, a contractor is going to deliver quality and adhere to codes and regulations.
- Less time and energy: If you hire a contractor, you won’t have to worry about investing copious amounts of your own time and energy into such a time-consuming project as a remodel.
- Experience: The adage to “work smarter, not harder” applies here. If you hire a general contractor, they’re going to know the most efficient and cost-effective way to get the job done.
- Resources: A contractor is going to have access to a much larger network of resources and professional subcontractors to draw on as they plan out your project and react to unexpected setbacks.
- Cost: The most obvious factor here is the cost that you incur by adding a middle-man to your project.
- Surrendering control: By hiring a contractor, you surrender a certain degree of control over the specifics of the project.
- Not completely hands-off: While you may be less involved, you’re still going to need to meet with your contractor and help coordinate various activities at times.
- You don’t learn: If you don’t do the work yourself, you remain ignorant of how your house is built and operates.
How to Find a Remodeling Contractor
If, after reading the above pros and cons, you’ve decided that you don’t want to take on the responsibility of being your own contractor, here are a few tips to help you choose the right professional candidate:
- Start by looking for referrals: Ask individuals that you trust for recommendations of contractors to consider.
- Interview candidates: Once you have a short-list of candidates, create a list of questions and interview each one.
- Review bids: Always make sure to get multiple bids so that you know you’re getting a good price along with quality service.
Pros and Cons of Doing Your Own Remodel
The other option apart from working with a contractor is to manage the remodel yourself. As with hiring a professional, there are both benefits and drawbacks that come with this course of action. Here are a few of the most significant things to keep in mind.
- Reducing costs: If you don’t hire a professional, you may be able to reduce the overall cost of the remodel.
- Retaining control: If you’re in charge of your remodel, you’ll have a unique level of control over every detail of the project.
- Developing new skills: As your own contractor, you’re going to learn a bevy of new skills that will continue to be available to you in the future.
- Gaining valuable experience: Along with the specific skills that you learn, by overseeing your own remodeling project, you also gain a helpful level of intimate knowledge regarding your home and how it functions.
- You don’t always save money: It’s one thing to save money by avoiding contractor fees. However, if you aren’t able to make efficient decisions, you may end up squandering your savings in the long-run.
- Licensing and legal concerns: It takes time and money to remain licensed and insured in the contracting industry — plus, if you lack things like insurance, you may not have recourse if something goes wrong.
- A lack of experience: You’re going to naturally lack the deep knowledge and experience of a professional contractor. It’s as simple as that.
- The time investment: A project can take a long time to complete, and delays don’t make things any faster.
How to Be Your Own Contractor for a Remodel
If you’ve decided that being your own contractor is worth the time, effort, and risk, you’re going to want to go about things the right way. Here are a few tips to help you get your home remodel project started with yourself at the helm.
- Make sure you have all of the paperwork in order: Check with your local building inspector to see if your region requires any licenses, permits, or insurance to head up your remodel project.
- Do your homework: A remodeling contractor must have the necessary education to properly address every aspect of a remodel. Conduct thorough research before you start your project.
- Address financials early: Make sure to set a solid budget first. Then add up the estimated costs and make sure that you can stick to the budget that you’ve set for yourself.
- Hire subcontractors: Assess what work you can do yourself and what must be done by a third-party contractor. Then conduct similar steps to those outlined above to find, interview, and hire the best candidates.
- Stay on top of your project: Being your own general contractor isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of activity. You must be ready and willing to check in on progress and quickly address issues when they arise.
While there are many steps involved, it’s certainly possible to be your own general contractor. The important thing is that you take each step in the process seriously. If you can efficiently do that, you should be able to oversee your remodel and even save some cash while you’re at it.