Know your limitations- Part 2: Being your own General Contractor.

A customer called me the other day needing  someone who can fix the broken floor joists in a early 1910’s house. He asked for a framer. I went to look at his house and see about a solution.

Here’s what I saw was needed:

  • Asbestos abatement company to remove the asbestos from the water pipes.
  • Plumber to remove the pipes that ran through the 2×8 floor joists and then reintstall the pipes
  • Electrician to remove electrical lines and reinstall them
  • Framer to sister in additional joists on either side of damaged joists

That’s 4 subcontractors when the customer thought he only thought he needed one.

When I build a new home, I may use up to 45 different subcontractors to get the job done. That’s a lot of companies. I’ve worked with each one of them. I know how they work, how long it will take, and how they handle issues after installation. It has taken me years to come up with the list of subcontractors I use today.

While I know the list of contractors is valuable (especially to me), it’s only part of being a general contractor. A general contractor also:

  • Pulls necessary permits
  • Sets up other items needed for subcontractors to do their job
    • Preps site for work to begin
    • Dumpster
    • Portable toilet- (Do you want us using your clean bathroom?)
    • Site access- especially in a remodel
    • Security- to prevent theft and control access to the site
    • Is on site to handle questions and communicate and coordinate between subcontractors
    • Sets the schedule and ensures that subcontractors complete jobs as specified
    • Is on site for all inspections
    • Warranties the work of all the subcontractors
    • Ensures that subcontractors are appropriately licensed and have the required liability insurance and workman’s comp insurance.
    • Pay the subcontractors and get the necessary mechanic lien releases
    • Ensures daily clean up and coordinates communication and changes with homeowner

Obviously, being a general contractor is a full time job for me. A homeowner can be their own general contractor. But keep in mind a project is more than just a list of contractors- there is a lot of time and experience that goes into making a successful project.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Homes

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One thought on “Know your limitations- Part 2: Being your own General Contractor.

  1. Very good points on why professional Contractors can tackle home improvement workloads with ease. Having a strong team of professionals is key to a successful and stress free project. Older homes often have more hidden issues, and homeowners often have no idea what they are in for when starting projects on their own.

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