January 15th, 2011
Why use a Licensed General Contractor for
my Home Remodeling Project?
Between Do-It-Yourself Home Remodeling shows on HGTV, TLC, A&E, and now even an entire network dedicated entirely to self-run home remodeling projects, it’s easy to deduce why hundreds of homeowners across the country feel they have the confidence and know-how to tackle home remodeling projects themselves. But television shows, magazine articles and internet websites are hardly enough to adequately guide homeowners through their own home remodeling projects, and 4 out of 5 do-it-yourself-ers finish their projects wishing they had involved a home remodeling expert during the process. Aside from helping homeowners avoid headaches like seen on shows like Renovation Realities, using a licensed home remodeling general contractor has a long list of benefits to take into account when considering tackling a home remodeling project of your own.
The All-Too-Common DIY Home Remodeling Scenario
The average DIY home remodeler makes the (often untrue) assumption that they can save money by managing their remodeling projects themselves. They turn to random resources referred by untrustworthy sources, like the internet or telephone book, and work without the aide of knowledgeable representatives to pick out materials. With no history with or knowledge of installers and their reliability or willingness to work with other trades, homeowners are forced to leave their remodeling projects to chance or attempt labor and installation themselves. Without a general contractor to oversee the remodeling project and tie the phases of the project together, there is no organization or integrated plan; costing homeowners valuable time and energy. Also, because there’s no history – or future – between the average homeowner and the vendors, installers and subcontractors, the customer has no leverage to use to negotiate prices, encourage speedy completion or uphold the standard of quality workmanship. Although using a licensed home remodeling general contractor to manage the project generally seems to increase the cost, not using a home remodeling contractor typically increases the length of construction and results in headaches from dealing with the scheduling, coordination and timing of the different remodeling trades associated with any given home remodeling project.
The Advantages of Using a Licensed Home Remodeling General Contractor
Reduce the Risks Associated with Home Remodeling
Let’s face it – at it’s core, home remodeling is a construction project. Among the many advantages of using a home remodeling general contractor to manage your renovation project, one of the most serious is to reduce the risks you’ll incur as a homeowner. Instead of you being the one liable for the financial, structural and physical well-being of your home, family and subcontractors, your home remodeling general contractor assumes these risks – and should carry the insurance to support it (this is an important question to ask a remodeler you’re considering working with). Because mistakes can mean both short-term headaches and permanent damages, it’s well worth considering using a home remodeling general contractor instead of trying to undertake a big home remodeling project on your own.
Quality Control, Guarantees & Warranties for your Home Remodeling Project
If there’s not a focused dedication to quality from the initial design layout to the final swing of the hammer, the remodeling project will never meet its potential. All elements of the home remodeling project must be planned for and accommodated, compatible with the homeowners and other parts of the project, and all phases of the project must be managed and overseen. It’s always more costly (both time-wise and financially) to have to tear down and rebuild because of mistakes, poor workmanship or mismanagement. A good home remodeling general contractor has both crew managers and site supervisors who are on the jobsite, working behind the scenes, and communicating with homeowners to ensure their satisfaction. Finally, the quality of the home remodeling project can be assured at the project’s completion, and if the customer isn’t happy, there’s a team of individuals responsible for the work prepared to make necessary adjustments.
Subcontractor Selection, Management and Quality
It’s highly unlikely standard homeowners have a thorough knowledge of local subcontractors that are available, trustworthy, and respectful enough to get a job done on their timeline. Depending on the type of a home remodeling project, there can be anywhere from three or four subcontractors to a few dozen. A good home remodeling general contractor will have trusted, reliable subcontractors who they work with regularly and can manage effectively. Likewise, a home remodeling general contractor will have access to the highest quality of workmanship, both in the form subcontractors’ labor and vendors and their materials, and will pass along that quality to your project.
A good home remodeling general contractor will provide the customer with a list of recommended multi-selection of vendors and list of material options to assist homeowners in the selection of home remodeling products to use with their project. Because home remodeling general contractors have the experience and history working with area vendors, they’ll be able to provide materials of the highest quality and often times be able to save homeowners money through the relationships they have with their vendors. Additionally, every home remodeler will have a list of vendor representatives they’re used to working with, so when homeowners enter the vendors’ storefronts there’s a knowledgeable individual who can aide in the selection process.
Integrating Phases of Your Home Remodeling Project
The purpose of using a home remodeling general contractor (besides all the advantages listed here) is to involve someone in your home remodeling project who is knowledgeable and experienced in the construction process and is skilled at managing the various skills and trades needed to complete a remodeling project. The remodeling general contractor will ensure the right steps are taken in the correct order and at the right time, to get the project completed quickly, efficiently, inexpensively and so that the finished product meets state building code. Without the discerning and watchful eye of a home remodeling general contractor, permits may go un-pulled, codes may not be met and your project will drag on. But using a home remodeler will keep your project on-schedule – and on budget – and you won’t have to worry about the difficult coordination of your project.
Budgeting and Controlling the Cost of your Home Remodeling Project
Although the upfront cost associated with using a home remodeling general contractor may seem higher, that’s not always how the project ends up. First and foremost, when using a home remodeling general contractor, the customer will be presented with a formal proposal and estimated cost for the project – so you won’t have to worry about saving and adding up all those Lowe’s receipts and invoices from your subcontractors. Before the first swing of a hammer you’ll know exactly what financial commitment is required to complete the project, and you can make decisions and make adjustments as necessary. You’ll also work with a list of "allowances" for materials you’ll be selecting for your remodel, such as countertops, flooring, plumbing and lighting fixtures and cabinetry. You can make adjustments to the allowances before the project begins or as it progresses according to your specific needs, so you still have the flexibility of making your own choices without the unknowns of adding up costs as the remodeling progresses. As discussed above, the remodeling general contractor will have a list of preferred vendors from which you can choose to select these items, and those alliances can actually end up saving the homeowners money. So, think twice before writing off using a home remodeling general contractor because of the cost – it is likely far less than you think, and this is certainly one area those costs are made up.
Debris Removal and Cleanup from the Remodeling Process
Continually throughout the course of the remodeling project, the home remodeling general contractor will remove waste and debris from the site to minimize dust and maintain the highest quality of living conditions as possible during the project. Because most homeowners choose to remain living in the residence during the remodeling process this shouldn’t be underestimated, especially because it’s not a chore that’s easy (or fun) for a homeowner to do. Anyone who’s been charged with this responsibility knows the value that comes with necessary, but often overlooked, part of the remodeling process is a welcomed service offered by a home remodeling general contractor.
Regardless of your reasoning, there are a multitude of reasons to choose a home remodeling general contractor when considering improving your home. From the quality of work to the express timeline, your project will be far more enjoyable for you as the homeowner (and resident) if you aren’t charged with the responsibility of managing everything. Do some research, get referrals and find a good home remodeling general contractor in your area. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the transformation of your home.
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