I will be doing an addition and remodel to my home and am wondering
whether it is worth it to act as my own general contractor and hire
sub-contractors, or hire a general contractor. Has anyone had any
experiences with this? I would like to hear your thoughts.
Being your own contractor for a big project is a lot of work. Anticipate
being there most of the time. However, you will likely also find that hiring
a GC is not a panacea. Unless you find someone with impeccable references,
you have excellent plans, and a lot of luck, anticipate being there a lot of
the time anyway.
Either way you gotta know what you're doing.
After having 5 houses, 1 cottage built, I think I know something.
Just watch out.
As a contractor yourself you're 100% in charge/responsible.
Also if you're borrowing money from bank, they may not like the idea
unless you have a back in this field.
You delegate it to general contractor. There are lots of good and
bad ones out there. Luckily I had a guy I could do business with shake
of our hands. He was good and he did his job beyond my satisfaction.
He retired after building my last house 10 years ago. I quit building
If you can swing the time and headaches, I would be GC - forget paying
someone else. I have had 3 houses built by three different GCs, and will
never do it again. In Texas, there are no laws governing residential
construction that have any teeth. Contracts are worthless unless you want to
sue. Are there good GCs? I am sure. Question is: Who do you know better,
yourself or someone else?
If you can't tell who the good GCs are, how would you be able to tell
who the good subs are? Knowing one's self is fine, but I doubt he
meant he was going to do all the work himself, just that he was going
to sub it out himself.
The good subs will not want to work for him anyway. They are already
completely booked with their regular GCs. There is a good chance he
is going to get bad prices, and/or be stuck with the dreg subs, if he
tries to go direct.
If he had background, connections, relationships with the local
trades, yes he could do well on his own. But if he had that, he
likely wouldn't be posting here asking about it.
I subbed out my first owned building project (started with an
apartment house!) but at the time I was with a local architectural
firm; I knew who the subs were, and had some cred with them too. Most
professionals doing new work, hate to work for amateurs that they
don't know, from fear they might be ignorant or irrational. Many
trade contractors have separate divisions for "service" and "new" work
- the "service" department patiently deals with homeowners Q's for a
high hourly rate, while the "new" departments bids fixed price on well
spec'd jobs for other professionals...
If he wants an education, let him do it. But if he expects to save
money, he probably won't save enough to pay for his time.
I know people that have been very successful and saved a ton of money by
acting as GC. In every case, they were in the trades, or worked with a
materials supplier, or somehow had the right contacts. Everyone was lined up
before the first shovel of dirt was dug.
For the average guy, it is a daunting process and a full time job.
Depends on the housing market in your area. If it's doing well, you are going to
have a hard time getting good subs to work for you. They would rather work for
someone who is going to throw more repeat business their way.
Secondly, do you think you can identify the good subs from the bad ones?
I'm in the process of building a house right now. I am my own GC. With the
exception of one guy I fired early on, I have had very good sucess with all the
subs. I've never done this before and maybe I'm just lucky. The house is 2.5
hours away and I am usually only there on weekends to guage progress. The key
for me has been getting good and reliable references. The subs work hard and
take pride in their work. BTW, the house is in Maine.
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