In the remodeling industry there are generally two ways to go about have a remodeling/home improvement project completed in your home. The first option is to hire one contractor to GC (General Contract) the entire project. The second being to hire multiple trade specialists and GC the job yourself. If your lifestyle consists of moving at the speed of light from one daily chore to another; this would most likely be a challenging, if not impossible, choice for you. If you feel strongly that you indeed have the free time to take on the role of the GC for your project, let’s look at a typical job to determine if it really is something you want to tackle.
The first thing you should know is that whether you hire one company or several companies to complete a project, you as the customer should always be involved in the process. The difference will be in who is actually responsible for decisions on how and when the project will be started, completed and everything in between. As the General Contractor you need to get the necessary bids from whatever trades will perform the work. This is similar to a typical home owner getting the mystical three bids and turning over the GC duties to a single company that will perform the job. Once you have selected all of your trades to perform the work requested, you will need to have an outline for the scope of work and create a timeline to perform the work. You will need to coordinate the schedules of two or more companies that may or may not be able to schedule within your timeframe. If there is coordination that needs to be done between the separate companies, you will be the sole point of contact. Remember that the companies you schedule to do your work also have other jobs going on. So be prepared to be flexible with the timing. Once you have scheduled all of the contractors you have selected, you will need to make sure that any materials that you are supplying are ordered and delivered on time. If there is a delay in this process, it can lead to your carefully planned timeline being all for nothing. The thing to remember is that all of this coordination is on you as the GC. Everything else happens based on how well you planned and scheduled the job.
As we move into production, your perfectly scheduled and executed timeline seems to be going well until the new special order product that you have waited 3-5 weeks for is delivered damaged. It does not matter whose fault it is or who is going to pay for the replacement; it is now on you to get the right person on the phone, resolve the issue and get a new delivery date for the new special order product. That product may or may not be able to be produced in a timely manner. Even if you’re lucky enough for the vendor to offer to ship you a new product quickly, you will still wait 5-10 business days to get your order. As a result, you will need to remember to call the contractor that is scheduled for the next day and notify him/her that the product was delivered damaged and a new one will not arrive for several days or weeks. Most reputable contractors are not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Large or small, they have a backlog of work on their books. Perhaps they can work you in but you are most likely now at the mercy of their schedule. Additionally, this throws off your schedule for the other contractors you had lined up. So basically your entire timeline is pushed back and you find yourself texting, emailing and calling everyone involved in your job to explain what happened and hopefully reschedule in a somewhat timely manner. Ooops, the phone rings and it’s another of your vendors calling about that materials delivery scheduled for tomorrow. Your project is not ready for those materials so you now have to locate a storage space to accommodate them. Does this sound frustrating? It is, and this can, and often does, happen several times during the remodeling process.
Several days or weeks pass and you eventually find yourself back on track with the work but weeks behind your original schedule. Don’t get too comfortable, no doubt another hiccup or two is on the way. Just expect it so you won’t be surprised or frustrated. Things again seem to be moving along when out of nowhere comes the hated – should of, could have, foreseen condition. The contract for each of your sub-contractors specifies their exact scope of work and this new issue that just popped up is not addressed anywhere in any of the contracts. Now, and GC, you are required to play referee and find out who is at fault and who will fix the issue. Generally at this stage there will be a lot of school yard “it’s not my fault, I didn’t know it was my job” scenarios. Unfortunately they may be right that it wasn’t spelled out when you assumed it was implied. Now your choices are clear…pay someone extra money to fix it or stop everything and start the very expensive process of litigation to get someone to accept responsibility. You’re the one living in the home and will have to endure this until a resolution is determined. You would most likely never get an acceptable outcome through litigation so you simply give in and pay extra money to fix the issue.
Eventually the job is “complete”. It was a tough road and took a lot more time than you ever imagined, but it is done and the contractors have all gone. You try not to think about the money you “saved” over the course of the project. Six to nine months go by and you come home to find that your project has a defect in workmanship. Because you are the GC, you are the one to figure out who is responsible for the repairs and get them scheduled to come back out to fix it. You very well could hear the “it’s not my fault, it wasn’t my job” excuse again. You may also hear “this line is no longer in service” when you reach out to the contractor. He’s no longer in business. At this point, how many days have you called in to work to deal with this, how many days of your life have you lost dedicated to overseeing this project? These are the very real issues that a GC deals with day in and day out. Think very carefully before you decide this is something you want to oversee.
Remember that second option I mentioned in the very beginning? When you hire a stable time tested company like Case Design Remodeling or Fred, you have comfort in knowing that should these type issues arise, you will not be the one interrupting your daily life to address them. You have paid a professional team to take all the pieces that go into your project and spin them into a cohesive planned ballet that if properly choreographed and will result in the beautiful project of your dreams. Your project is backed by a 5-year industry-leading warranty and a guarantee that no one on the other end of the phone will tell you “sorry it’s not our fault and it wasn’t our job”.