What Is A General Contractor?
General contractors are essential in countless remodels and renovations each year. But with so much already invested in each project, it becomes difficult to understand what a general contractor is and why they are important.
The time, energy, and costs invested into homes create the ecosystem of entire industries revolving around remodeling and renovations. And, although TV shows on popular channels like HGTV have made renovations appear to be simple, quick, and easier than ever to accomplish – most homeowners discover that remodeling their primary or secondary homes are massive undertakings that can drain cash and time if not properly planned and executed. This is where a general contractor becomes a valuable resource.
What Does A General Contractor Do?
When it comes to large home projects, general contractors can become lifesavers.
Each year, individuals hire contractors who specialize in specific skills or hire handymen for easy repairs – yet few require a general contractor until they need to complete a major remodel or renovation. But, what does a general contractor do?
As project managers, it’s helpful to think of a general contractor as the quarterback for big projects. These professional craftsmen can coordinate both the daily and large scale tasks, assignments, and goals for any project.
What Does a General Contractor Do As A Team Leader?
As the quarterback, general contractors are also responsible for seeing the overall progress of the project they are assigned to, along with keeping a relationship with the homeowners to deliver updates and results. As such, general contractors see to the labor that is completed each day, the handling of equipment and materials needed, and the vendors that will step in for aspects of the job.
With all of these responsibilities, general contractors are often local experts who are aware of other local contractors who specialize in specific parts of home renovation jobs and hire those subcontractors to accomplish chunks of the house project. For example, a reliable general contractor can look at a complete home renovation and be able to provide a subcontractor who can properly lay the tile according to the homeowner's wishes, while hiring other subcontractors to finish a bathroom.
What is a General Contractor's Role?
Each year, many individuals and families decide to complete DIY projects on their own, with the help of their local Home Depot or Lowe’s warehouse. And although some can find success in completing jobs on their own homes, many others soon fall into construction traps by damaging their homes due to lack of experience in home renovation.
However, many jobs require proper building permits and a wide spectrum of knowledge across several different skills and trades. It is easy to get overwhelmed which can lead to mistakes. And for most families who are renovating or remodeling, there is a finite time limit and budget to work with, so any mistakes can be devastating to the overall process.
A general contractor is an experienced professional who can plan and execute small- and large-scale home projects while managing the expectations of the client. A general contractor is valuable, because of their diverse experience and ability to look at all that needs to be done to meet the wishes of the homeowner and possess’ the ability to get it all done on time and under budget.
General contractors often help people save valuable resources and time and are especially valuable in eliminating unwanted stress from the life of the homeowner. Besides, general contractors also become immensely helpful when home projects require several specialty subcontractors, clean up solutions, strict timelines or plans, safety, and more. But most of all, general contractors are professionals who can see the entirety of a home project and have solid insight on every aspect of the job, whether it be the plumbing, design, windows, kitchen – everything and anything.
What Does A General Contractor Do For Homeowners' Stress?
Let’s look at a simple kitchen remodel. Although it may not appear like much work at first glance, even remodeling jobs for small kitchens may require at least a month of work and need the specialties of a cabinet maker, a plumber, an electrician, a plasterer, and more.
Even for such a small project, a simple kitchen remodel could require several weeks and the use of several different specialized subcontractors. When homeowners realize they now face the challenge of planning out the work for each of the contractors, let alone finding reliable contractors for each job – it’s easy to see how such a small project can seem time-consuming.
But even more than that, most homeowners are often inexperienced with materials needed, labor cost, and overall job costs associated with each specialty. For these reasons alone, a general subcontractor becomes an essential part of remodeling or renovation jobs.
These professionals are able to effectively hire the right contractors for every aspect of a project, schedule them out so projects are completed on time and as efficiently as possible, and also able to take bids for each job to make sure the client gets the best price for the best work available out there by local contractors.
What Is A General Contractor's Value?
But is it worth it? After all, general contractors do not work for free. The answer often depends on the size and scope of the project. A few questions you should ask yourself when considering hiring a general contractor include:
- Is the renovation or remodel is going to require multiple professionals?
- Is the work is going to take more than a few days?
- Do I need to acquire any permits for this project?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it may be a good idea to look into the best local contractors to ensure your renovation is as painless as possible.
General contractors able to understand what a fair market price on any job within a remodel or renovation should be, field bids, and take the majority of the stress away from the homeowner.
What a general contractor does the best is value and pricing for different aspects of a project. Knowing the proper costs alone often saves homeowners thousands of dollars each year, especially because oftentimes homeowners end up overpaying private subcontractors.
How To Hire A General Contractor
Nothing is more appreciated to a general contractor than a well-thought-out plan. Homeowners who complete their due diligence of taking the time to map out and establish what they would like to see accomplished in their renovation or remodel end up having the highest chance of success with general contractors. There are several factors that any homeowner should consider when drawing out a game plan, before even picking up the phone to call a general contractor:
- What is your budget available?
- Do you have a timeline?
- Where can compromises be made?
- What are the specifications for each part of the job?
- What are absolute non-negotiables?
What Expectations Can A General Contractor Provide?
With so many variables that frequently arise, it is important to always keep an open mind as to what complications may come up in any home renovation or remodel. After all, home improvement jobs often require significant construction work that may require various aspects of homes to be fixed before a renovation or remodel can even get started.
Having a fixed price for a budget helps provide an accurate understanding of your general contractor so that he or she can plan out the job. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always mean the budget will be met.
What Do General Contractors Do With Your Project Plans?
After you create a thorough plan, you can begin the process of selecting a general contractor. Selecting a general contractor is often like finding a partner, so it is important to ensure the trust is available on both sides of the agreement and that the homeowner and contractor are in mutual understanding of what the job entails.
A strong general contractor will walk through your property with you and ask for your plans to determine what is feasible and what is not. All of the initial planning will help provide the client with a prospective outlook on costs and timelines of schedule.
Before hiring any contractor, it’s always important to make sure that your contractor and the subcontractors hired are insured. There are ways that you can verify a contractor’s license and insurance which is important because construction work often creates a dangerous environment that makes accidents an ever-present threat to safety. A reputable contractor will not only be able to manage a significant list of subcontractors and crew, but also be able to manage their schedules and their safety.
How General Contractors Start Home Renovation Projects
Next, you and your contractor can place bids on the project you envision and agree on pricing and timelines. Before agreeing, it is always helpful to see the work and portfolio of previous assignments completed by the general contractor at hand.
Getting a first-hand look at the previous jobs helps assess if your general contractor has the experience you need to complete the renovation and remodel. Once renovations and construction begin, it is very challenging to make revisions or go back which is why ensuring that both client and contractor have shared expectations and understanding is the most important aspect of the entire process.
Once the client has selected the contractor, shared their plans, established timelines, budgets, and interviewed the contractor to a point of trust and confidence – the client is then able to draw up a contract, sign, and allow the general contractor to get to work.
Find a General Contractor
With the help of our team, we can guarantee that you have nothing but dedicated professionals, affordable services, and personalized solutions to help you choose and understand what a general contractor is. Hiring the right contractor results in a job well done and a well-executed project.
Finding a general contractor near you is easier with Billy.com because we take the hassle out of your search. In addition to finding a general contractor to hire, Billy.com can provide qualified professionals and free estimates for general handyman services and moving companies in your surrounding area. Hire only the best in the business with Billy.com.
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