When Should I Hire A General Contractor?

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Wondering when it might be a good time to hire a General Contractor like Trilogy Contracting? If you’re thinking about undertaking a major home project, they might be a key member of your team…

First, You Must Evaluate The Project.

Before deciding whether to hire a contractor or take on a project yourself there are a few things to assess: ability, cost, and time.

Ability – Be honest with yourself about what you can handle and don’t be overconfident. Just because there’s a YouTube video showing you how to do something, it doesn’t mean you have the skill required to complete the task safely and efficiently.

Cost – When taking on a DIY project you’ll find the cost is usually less because you’re eliminating the labor costs. However, keep in mind that contractors often purchase materials at lower costs then individual homeowners, and if you make any mistakes you’ll have to pay to fix them. When doing the math consider these factors and always add a contingency.

Time – There are two things to think about when it comes to time. What is your time worth, and how quickly do you want this project done? Doing a project yourself will likely take some time and take you away from other things you’d rather be doing. Hiring a professional will likely cost you more but it will also probably get your project completed much faster.

ONCE You’ve Evaluated The Project, Ask Yourself These Questions:

1. “Do you have the necessary skills?”

Consider your own skills and abilities carefully. While many of today’s home improvement products are designed to make it easy for do-it-yourselfers, other projects will require specialized skills. Seeing how something was done on a TV renovation show isn’t the same as having practical experience.  Getting in over your head can end up costing more money, and frustration, than hiring professional contracting help in the first place.

2. “Do you need a building permit?”

Typically, any residential renovation that changes the structure of your home requires a building permit issued by your municipality. This also means inspections of the work at the appropriate times to ensure the work meets the local building codes. Be sure to get a permit if you need one. Keep in mind that someone looking to buy your house in the future may ask about the renovation work and want verification that the work was done to code and with a permit.

3. “Do you have the time?”

Renovation or significant home repair projects can require a lot of your time to complete. If the work disrupts your day-to-day routine (e.g.,bathroom/kitchen renovations) or exposes your home to weather (e.g., roofing projects, exterior refinishing), delays can be a real problem. So before you commit to doing it yourself, be realistic about how much time the work will take, and your ability and willingness to invest this time. If you don’t have the time, don’t start the work. Trust us on this one!

4. “Do you have the tools and equipment?”

Saving money by doing it yourself can easily be undermined if you have to lay out hundreds of dollars for tools and equipment. Renting is always an option, but costs can also add up quickly if you’re doing the work in only your spare time. So, when you develop a do-it-myself budget, include realistic costs for buying or renting tools and equipment. You might be surprised how quickly costs all add up.

5. “How do the rest of your household feel about it?”

Being a do-it-yourselfer is great – as long as everyone else in your household shares your enthusiasm. Nothing undermines a do-it-yourself project faster than having your family upset when their normal routine is disrupted. So talk it through with everyone ahead of time, and make sure you have a team behind you!

Here are some examples of when it might be a good idea to hire one to help your project run smoothly:

1. You want to make structural changes/need a permit.

Typically, any renovation that changes the structure of your home requires a building permit. This also means inspections of the work at the appropriate times to ensure the work meets the local building codes. From ensuring all subcontractors are paid, to getting building permits, your General Contractor can do just that.

2. You run into any safety issues.

Your general contractor will have the appropriate liability insurance and workers’ compensation should anything go wrong.

3. You’re implementing architect plans.

General contractors come with a wealth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable to your project. They understand how homes are constructed and know the sequence that projects should be carried out. They also understand building codes, and reading plans, and other legislation so you don’t have to.

4. You want to do more design.

A general contractor will take much of the stress out of your renovation experience. You can sit back, relax and do more of the design work for him to translate in the construction!

Before you take on any home improvement project, be it DIY or with a professional contractor, do your research and make sure you know what you’re getting into. The more you know, the smarter decision you’ll be able to make, the better result you’ll get.

Trilogy Contracting is a home renovation company in the Fraser Valley servicing client’s in the Tri-Cities, Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge and everywhere in between. If you have a question, feel free to send us an email.

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