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#2: If I want to remodel or build an addition, can I be my own contractor and hire the subcontractors myself?

You think if you hire all the subcontractors yourself, you will save a little money by not having to pay the General Contractor's fee? You may be right, but consider what is involved. Serving as a contractor requires a great deal of time and effort. Also, the less experience you have, the more time it will take you. To simplify what you need, let's outline below:

1. Contracting Knowledge - Do you know what constitutes a valid change order? Will you know how to distinguish a bogus upcharge from a reasonable change in scope? General Contractors work with contracts and subcontractors every day, and can usually tell down to the finest detail exactly what is included in each sub's contract.

2. Capital - Any good general contractor will have enough cash on hand to keep your project moving even when subs threaten to pull from your job unless they get paid. You typically pay up front for shop-produced items.

3. Building Codes - Will you be able to look at a sub's work and know if it will pass inspection? A good General Contractor will, and you won't have to pay a re-inspection fee or put up with the resulting delays.

4. Building Process - You need to know what needs to be done, and when. It's easy to have costs go over budget because you missed processes that should have been done earlier.

5. Construction Scheduling - Your General Contractor is the one who stays on top of the schedule, and makes sure everything gets done when it needs to be done. If a sub misses his scheduled dates, delays can begin to tumble on you.

6. Building Trades - Good contractors will supervise all of the subs, or will have a foreman to do so, and they are constantly checking the quality of every sub's work. Will you be able to recognize substandard work?

7. Industry Relationships - Many of the best subs are very selective about which jobs they will accept. Subs take into account the level of construction knowledge of the person they'll be working with. Do you know how you will measure up?

Thus, without the proper knowledge, experience and connections, you might just end up paying more by being your own General Contractor.
To find a General Contractor or Sub-Contractor, use the free online referral service at




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