Being Your Own General Contractor: Is it the Right Move?

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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After adding up all the fees for your general contractor, you start to question the price. Do you really need all this project oversight….and the related costs?

Why Be Your Own General Contractor?

Many home owners debate this issue. Should they pay the extra 20 to 30 percent for a general contractor to oversee a kitchen remodeling? While I’m all for saving money, you have to look at the whole picture and consider your home improvement skills and available time. Let’s start by understanding what a general contractor does for a kitchen remodeling or other project:

  • Hires and schedules workers
  • Oversees daily schedule and work flow
  • Assists workers with job site problems and issues
  • Gets estimates from suppliers and subcontractors

In other words, if you want to be a general contractor, you have to oversee the work. Here’s a look at what you’ll need:

  • Construction experience
  • Patience
  • Supervisory experience
  • Big picture thinking so you can balance the day o day with the vision for the end result.
  • A strong personality to let workers know you mean business.
  • Patience. Oops. Did I just repeat that?

The process gets even trickier on large home improvement projects, such as a room addition or new home construction. You’ll need to find all the subcontractors, but many subcontractors are loyal to contractors who hire them regularly. How will you convince them to work for you? Consider this advice from

If this is your first foray into being a general contractor, start with a small project, such as a powder room remodeling. You might love it. Or, you’ll have a better appreciation for what contractors deal with every day. Check out this from the Better Business Bureau for more.

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  1. One Response to “Being Your Own General Contractor: Is it the Right Move?”

  2. jamie
    Feb 3, 2011

    One benefit of hiring a GC is that they usually have a reliable group of subs with which to work. If you are hiring unknown sub contractors, it only takes a single bad one to throw off the whole project schedule.

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