So you have found yourself with a project on your hands. Now comes the question of - "Do I hire a contractor, or save some money and do it myself?" When it comes to weighing the decision, we have some things for you to think about...
Do You Have The Tools To Do It?
Small project or large, do you have the tools necessary to complete the project? If you don't, is it worth spending the money purchasing the tools for a one-time job? In many cases, tools are not cheap. In construction, tools are a necessary business investment justifiable over the course of many jobs. If you only got one job on your hands, do you know what tools you need? Are you willing to spend the money on this one-time job?
By time you purchased all the necessary tools, and the time to get them, you probably could have hired a professional already for the same price and saved yourself the headache.
Do You Have The Experience?
Realistically, you can learn how to do just about anything on YouTube now. But watching a professional with years of experience online is much different than actually doing it yourself. You can watch professional sports, doesn't mean you can/should play at that level.
Do You Have The Time?
Let's say your willing to spend the money on the tools, AND you are pretty confident you got the skills to pull it off, how much time do you have to invest? If you already have a full-time job, and a family, and kids, and other life obligations, when are you going to work on the project and how long are you (or your spouse) willing to wait for it to be done? Assuming it's done right the first time.....
If you are still thinking you got this, here are a couple more things to think about:
The Costs of Mistakes
Contractors have plenty of experience. This means they foresee any unique complications with your project that YouTube won't solve for you. Often, we see clients attempt to do the job themselves and invest a lot of time and money into the project, only to discover it did not go as planned. Once you reach this point, often those costs are sunk and your either restarting or paying one form or another to get it fixed. Not only is this heavy on the wallet, but also on your sanity. Save yourself the headache!
There is a cost to your time. Perhaps this project will cut into important aspects of your life such as your day job or family time.
"Ok, I will hire the experts myself"
Sure! You can do that. Don't forget this also takes a lot of time. Firstly, searching for trades takes time. Then you have to vet the trades to make sure they are experienced. Then you will be in charge of negotiating prices with all of them individually, ensuring work is completed and paying them as work is completed. Do you know a fair market price for what you are getting? Some trades will bid high, knowing you will try to negotiate them down. You also often get what you pay for. While you may think you negotiated the trade down as much as possible, the quality may suffer.
Why Hiring a General Contractor is Worth It
You aren't necessarily paying a GC more than what it would have cost you to do on your own. This is because GC's often deal with trades in quantity. Meaning they get the "wholesale" price on labour and materials. Even with the GC's fee tacked on, you are probably on par with what you would have paid retail. It's just how the economics of it all work.
GC's also save you a lot of time. They often have the specialized trades needed on speed idea. They don't need to spend time vetting the trades out, because they have already worked with these contractors on many projects.
Experienced GC's have access to quality trades and know the quality of their work. Trades will want to perform the best workmanship in order to get more work from the GC as opposed to a one-off client.
GC's will often warranty the work of the full project as opposed to you tracking down trades whose workmanship may have not been up to par. The GC is assuming the risk on behalf of the client for the workmanship quality of the project,
A GC will manage the entire project for you. From planning and scheduling to ordering materials and paying the trades, to ensuring all work meets necessary building codes and quality specifications.
GC's keep your life simple. You only have to coordinate with one contact point. They take care of everything for you. Easy peasy.