General Contractors – Residential Articles
Many people tend to think that a building contractor is only needed on major remodeling projects. Here’s a quick story about how a contractor can make a difference to just about any project.
A couple knew they needed to replace the windows and doors in their home. Instead of calling a general contractor, they got estimates directly from window replacement companies. In thinking about the windows, they decided to add new garage doors as well and got estimates from three garage door companies. Did they really want to do all this work to the house without fixing their cracked and uneven cement driveway and front walk? No, but even with the scope of the project growing, they “went direct” to a concrete contractor instead of calling a building contractor like us.
Without a general contractor organizing the specifications and making sure they’d get apples to apples bids, the couple received a dozen proposals that differed wildly. When the couple asked for more details so they could compare, they saw how different the proposals were and they weren’t sure how to decide which way they wanted to go: what “R-value” did they want on the windows? Wood or vinyl or composite? Did they want the walkway capped with flagstone? Did they want a drive that was 4” deep or 6” deep? What color doors and windows did they want – a question that got them worrying about how colors and styles from the garage door contractor would work with the colors and styles of the windows and doors.
And then there were the logistics. The couple began to worry about how long each piece of the project would take and what should come first. They didn’t want a heavy truck loaded with windows plowing into a newly poured drive … and they didn’t know who they’d call if something went wrong or if – in the middle of doing the actual work – they were told that there was a problem and that more money would be required to fix it. That was when they decided to call in a general contractor.
Happy ending: The couple got all the right piece parts for their home. All the materials, designs, and color worked together and were right for their style of house. Each of the individual jobs was done in the right order, and the building contractor was there to oversee all the different crews. The entire project completed on time and on budget with no surprises. If the couple has any questions or if any problems arise, they simply call the contractor who provided them with a warranty on the work and materials.
Because of their experience and relationships with trades people, good contractors can usually give you a great job with no effort on your part for about the same price you could negotiate on your own – with all the hassles and risks that come with that. Remember, even projects that seem small – or start out that way and grow bigger, benefit from the experience of a general contractor.