Hiring A General Contractor For Home Repairs? Here’s What To Consider

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Luke Martin
Luke Martinhttps://myfancyhouse.com/
I am Luke Martin, a writer who loves homes. My words are about creating comfy and nice living spaces. Let's explore ideas for decorating and making homes cozy together. Join me on this journey to make your house a special place to be.

When it comes to tackling home improvement or repair projects, one crucial decision homeowners often fail to consider is hiring a general contractor!

Perhaps that’s because reality TV shows showcasing novice homeowners DIY skills have risen in popularity. After all, if Property Brothers or Joanna Gains can do it, you can too, right?!

Before starting any home DIY project or tackling much needed home repairs, it’s important to 

consider hiring a professional for help. In this blog, we’ll take you through the decision-making process and provide insights into what you should consider when making this important choice. Whether you’re planning a minor renovation or a major construction project, this guide will help you navigate the path to success!

When To Hire A General Contractor

To DIY or not to DIY seems to be a question homeowners are asking themselves a lot! While there are many things homeowners can do without hiring a general contractor, there are projects that should be left to the professionals. How do you know where your project falls? Here are a few things to consider. 

Complexity of the Project

One of the most critical factors that should lead you to hire a general contractor is the complexity of your project. If you’re planning to undertake a project that involves multiple trades, structural changes, or significant electrical and plumbing work, a general contractor is essential. They will coordinate all the different aspects of your project, ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

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Another thing to think about is what tools or specialized equipment will be needed to do the job. Most big box home stores offer tool rental services, but they don’t have every single tool available. Make sure you are factoring in these added costs to your project before you get started. In some cases, hiring a general contractor will be less expensive in the long run. 

Limited Time 

If you have a busy schedule and can’t afford to oversee the day-to-day operations of your project, hiring a general contractor is a wise decision. They will manage the project’s timeline, communicate with subcontractors, and handle any unexpected issues that may arise.

You’ll also want to think about or research the estimated time you’ll need to complete the project. If it takes someone with a decade of experience 6 hours to do, as a novice it might take you 3-5 times longer. If you don’t budget your time accordingly, you’ll end up living in a “construction zone” as unfinished projects are put on the backburner. 

Budget Management 

General contractors are experienced in managing project budgets. They can help you stick to your budget by obtaining competitive quotes from subcontractors, monitoring expenses, and making necessary adjustments to avoid cost overruns.

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Another benefit of hiring a general contractor is that they often get better pricing on materials and supplies. Consumers almost always have to pay full retail price. This is why it never hurts to get a quote on your project from a local general contractor before getting started! 

Legal and Regulatory Compliance 

Construction projects often involve navigating a complex web of permits, inspections, and regulations. A general contractor understands these intricacies and can ensure that your project is in compliance with all applicable laws and codes.

One thing homeowners fail to consider is how building codes, permits, and the approval process can impact their ability to get home insurance. Almost all electrical, plumbing, and roofing projects require specialized permits and approval from city engineers. While this ensures your home is safe, it also lets insurance companies know the work is valid and has a stamp of approval. Insurance companies can refuse to insure a home with a DIY project that doesn’t meet these requirements. 

Avoid Costly Mistakes

A final thing to consider is how much you may have to spend if things go wrong. Surveys show that DIY home projects often cost more than it would have if the homeowner hired a general contractor. Why is that? Mistakes and injuries are the biggest reason why DIY home projects cost more. 

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What To Consider When Hiring A General Contractor

So let’s say you are ready to hire a general contractor or at least want a free estimate to compare their costs to yours – how do you find the best one in your area? Here are the top things to look for in a company:

Experience and Reputation 

Look for a general contractor with a solid track record and a good reputation in your community. Check for references and read online reviews to gauge their reliability and competence.

Licensing and Insurance

Ensure that the general contractor is licensed and insured. This not only protects you in case of accidents but also demonstrates their commitment to professionalism.

Detailed Estimates 

Having a breakdown of the cost of labor, materials and supplies will help you understand the scope of work. If you’re still on the fence about DYing your project, this can help you compare possible savings and any potential extras that may come up during the project.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is key to a successful project. Choose a general contractor who is responsive and can clearly convey information to you and the subcontractors.

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Written Contracts 

Always insist on a written contract that outlines the project’s scope, timeline, costs, and any warranties. A well-drafted contract protects both you and the general contractor.

Portfolio of Past Projects 

Review the general contractor’s portfolio of past projects to ensure they have experience with projects similar to yours. This will give you confidence in their abilities.

Local Knowledge 

A general contractor who is familiar with the local building codes, climate, and suppliers can make the process more efficient and cost-effective.

Key Takeaways About Hiring A General Contractor 

Knowing when to hire one and what to consider is essential in ensuring a successful outcome. By carefully evaluating your project’s complexity, your personal situation, and the qualifications of the general contractor, you can embark on your project with confidence, knowing that you have a professional guiding the way.

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