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General Contractors — Do You Need Them?

April 30, 2018

You may ask yourself why you should hire a general contractor when you are planning some home renovations. And the truth is, if your project is simple, you may not, in fact, need one. You absolutely need one for big projects like new home constructions. But how can you tell with medium-sized projects whether you need a general contractor?




First, understand what a general contractor does. They act as a sort of project manager. They hire and manage the people who do the actual work. 


Estimate the Amount of Work


So your first step is to estimate how many different people or companies you will need to hire to complete your project. If you are planning a kitchen renovation that includes moving a wall, installing new cabinets and getting new appliances, you may not need a general contractor. You may only need a construction team for the cabinets and wall, and the company you buy the appliances from can install them for you.


But what if you want to add a sink to your island? Then you’ll need a plumber. And what if you want to replace your inefficient electric stove with a gas model? You’ll need someone to rough in a gas line. How about if you want to install new and improved lighting in the ceiling and under the cabinets? You’ll need an electrician. 


And what if you decide you want new flooring? If you want laminate or linoleum, your construction company can probably handle that. But if you want tile, you should hire a tile expert. This type of flooring is expensive, you need special equipment to cut it and mistakes and broken tiles can be costly. 


General Contractors Have Experience


So now you see how managing a home renovation can be a big job. Maybe you think you could handle it yourself, and that it might even be fun, if home improvements are a sort of hobby for you.


The main difference between hiring a general contractor and acting as your own general contractor is experience. If you’ve never hired professionals to do work for you, you may not know what to look for. And when they are on site, you may not know if they are doing their jobs properly.


Professional general contractors are usually former construction and remodeling workers. They are not simply individuals who went to general contracting school. 


The General Contracting Skill Set 


There is a right combination of skills needed to be a good general contractor, and that is why some people are good at it and some aren’t. You need to be experienced in the area you are contracting in — construction, demolition, etc., — and you also have to be highly organized and good at managing people. A lack in any of these areas is likely to result in a less-than-optimal experience.


Homeadvisor.com gives a few rules of thumb when you’re debating whether to hire a general contractor, including considering how long the job will take, how many people it would take to do it and whether you will need permits.  


When you’re planning a home renovation and need a general contractor, rely on Falk Construction. We have more than 30 years of experience providing the best in general contracting services. Call us today.

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