As a big fan of the many DIY shows on TV, we understand the temptation of tackling your own home projects. You see the gorgeous before and after shots and envision your own 1980's home kitchen with it's white laminate cabinets, yellow formica counter tops and checkered linoleum floors looking like a Street of Dreams fantasy. With visions of custom cabinets, quartz counter tops and tile floors dancing in your head, you trot off to the nearest home improvement store ready to make your purchases. Once there and you start to browse the aisles, you begin to feel the first twinge of apprehension as you begin to realize the full scope of your project. Then a small voice in the back of your head begins to whisper that you may just be in over your head. While many aspects of the job could be completed by a homeowner, hiring a general contractor to manage the project for you will actually save you money.
The highest cost paid in any home remodeling project is their time. Likely you will be working on the job beyond your 40 hours a week work. The National Average Wage Index for 2014 was $22.44 per hour. Since you will be working on your project outside your 40 hours a week, your hourly overtime wage is actually $33.66 per hour. Let's take a small piece of a project. If you get quoted a price of $5000 for a small project by a General Contractor, on average it will take you the homeowner 4-5 times as long to complete the same project. Therefore, if the GC can complete the $5000 project with half the project being the cost of materials ($2500) and they charge $100 per hour for labor, this means they can complete the project in 25 hours ($5000 - $2500 for cost of materials = $2500/$100 = 25 hours). If you, the homeowner complete the same project and it takes you 110 hours at $33.66 per hour this equals to $3702.60 of your time versus the $2500 in labor you would have paid the contractor to do it for you. In addition, that is 110 hours you can't get back with your friends and family. You can always make more money, but you can't get your time back. Even if you aren't self performing the work and hiring subcontractors to complete the separate scopes of work for you, a general contractor will save you time by scheduling all of the subs in the correct order and insuring the schedule is maintained. We have heard numerous accounts of jobs where homeowners were trying to be the general contractor on a home remodeling project and the remodel was still going on months and even years later.
General Contractors get pricing from suppliers and subcontractors that are much reduced because of the volume we buy. If you calculate the General Contractor's fee with the lower pricing, it is the equivalent of what you would pay retail, but you would have to spend your own time managing it. In addition, Contractor's can lead you to higher quality products which far outweigh the quality of items purchased in a bulk home improvement store adding value to your home. Also when it comes to subs, are you an expert in the field to know the job your sub is performing for you is up to code and standards? If not, a General Contractor is your guarantee that jobs performed by subcontractors will be completed accurately and on schedule.
General Contractors offer a minimum of a 1-year warranty on materials and labor (If they don't, keep shopping). This gives you the piece of mind that if your plumbing starts to leak three months after your remodel is complete, you can call your GC and they will insure your leak is repaired. If they can't find the plumber that did the original install, it is still their responsibility to complete the repair for you at their cost not yours!
There are so many more ways that having a General Contractor that saves you. They can help you through your material selections, they can find the best subs to do the job for you, they will give you an end product that you will be happy to live in and brag to your friends about. Your Street of Dreams fantasy kitchen can be yours!