In every remodeling, homeowners must decide what professionals they need. Do you hire a general contractor to orchestrate the whole project? Or do you hire subcontractors to do each task? Do you need an architect? Or a designer? And whom do you hire first? The right path becomes clear as you consider your needs and the skills each professional offers.
The terms "general contractor" and "builder" are used interchangeably. These individuals or companies are called contractors because they contract with you to build the entire project. Some use all their own employees, but more often they subcontract with experts in specialties such as concrete, plumbing, drywall, and electrical.
Contractors earn their fees by marking up what the subcontractors charge, marking up materials, charging supervision fees, and/or charging for profit and overhead.
The main advantage of using a general contractor is that the whole job will be coordinated and done by people who have a history of working together. The downside is that you'll pay for the oversight, and you usually lose the ability to hire your friends or relatives to do some of the work; most general contractors want to use their own well-tested teams.
Hiring a general contractor is a good option for busy people.
Continued on page 2: Be Your Own Contractor