Deciding When to Call a General Contractor

It’s important for the average homeowner to know when to hire a single company as opposed to when to hire a general contractor for a job. This is a serious balancing act and there are situations where both approaches to a task are valid. Read on to learn when a general contractor is the right option, and when you can save money without one.



Quick Guide

  • When you need many different professionals
  • When the project calls for several permits
  • For extended projects that last several weeks or months

When Several Types of Professionals are Involved

Usually, a general contractor is valuable when there are several different types of professionals all working on a project. This might be something like a kitchen remodel where electricians, counter professionals, flooring installers, painters and cabinet installers all must work together to finish the project. A general contractor will know the right people for all those tasks and will accurately schedule them to come in and do the work. It would be a serious nightmare trying to do all that on your own.

When Multiple Permits are Necessary

Another good rule of thumb to use is to hire a general contractor when several different permits are needed to complete the job. Most projects that require multiple permits are complex enough to benefit from a general contractor. Plus, you’ll save time on going through the permit process with the professional working on the task for you.

Multi-Week Projects

If a project is just going to take a day or two, like the installation of some flooring in your home, you can generally get by without a general contractor. For more serious projects that will take multiple weeks, a general contractor is going to be a real asset. General Contractors know how to schedule workers effectively and they can speed along a project.

When Not to Use a GC

When you’re dealing with simpler projects that only require one or two professionals, you can save yourself some money by hiring out the work yourself. Just make sure that you find good quality laborers to complete your projects for you, otherwise you’ll end up with subpar results in the end.

A general contractor is not right for every home improvement job that you might have, but any of the complex ones can seriously benefit by adding in a professional to manage it all. Consider how hard the project is going to be and anything that doesn’t seem simple, or that involves multiple people should be left up to a general contractor. Follow this advice and you’ll enjoy smoother home improvement projects and better results in the end.