What is a General Contractor & When Do You Need to Hire One?
If you are reading this article, chances are you are considering hiring a general contractor. Perhaps your home improvement project just isn’t moving along quickly enough and you’re just too busy to stay on track. Maybe you don’t feel like you fully understand the requirements of your project and are worried you’ll mess up something or miss a step along the way. A general contractor may be exactly what you need to get your project finished up, and finished correctly.
What is a General Contractor?
Think of a general contractor as being the expert project manager and director of your home project. They look at the big picture and will know exactly what is required to complete your project. They coordinate all aspects of completion from scheduling sub-contractors and testing quality of work. For example, say you are putting a new kitchen in your home. A general contractor will coordinate the hiring of a skilled plumber, electrician, installer, and all other construction professionals needed to complete your job. The general contractor will also create a timeline and schedule each part of the project, overseeing it to successful completion, in the proper order.
General contractors not only know how to complete the project at hand, but they know the industry as a whole. They know who the best plumbers are to work with, as well as what a fair price to pay for the work is. They have years of knowledge and experience that they will use to complete your project.
Without a general contractor, you may end up overpaying for inadequate services simply because you aren’t familiar with the industry.
Should You Hire a General Contractor?
So, a general contractor sounds pretty good, right? If your project has any of the following traits, it’s safe to say that you should hire one:
Your project will require several different professionals. For example, if you are only adding new lights to an existing bathroom, you will probably only need an electrician. You can handle this yourself and wouldn’t need a general contractor. However, if you are installing a new bathtub and shower as well as new lights, you will need that electrician, as well as a plumber, and someone to coordinate between these two. This is getting more in the realm of requiring a general contractor to ensure success.
Your project will take longer than a week or so to complete. The longer a project will take, the easier it will be for things to get off track, turning a 2-week project into a 4-month project. The more timely and complex a project, the better things will swiftly move along when a general contractor is involved.
Your project requires permits to complete. If your project requires permits, play it safe and hire an experienced general contractor to ensure you stay legally compliant.
Many people choose to skip hiring a general contractor in order to save money, but dragging a project out longer than it should take, and hiring overpriced or inadequate sub-contractors can end up costing you more in the long run, especially if the work has to be redone. If your project would benefit from a general contractor, consider hiring one to keep your stress levels down and your project moving towards successful completion.