For the successful do it yourselfers out there, one of the most important traits is knowing when not to do a job yourself. In the attempt to save time and money on a job beyond your expertise you could end up wasting more time and money than if you would have hired the job out. Due to set backs and learning as you go could not only frustrate you, but the the quality of the work might also suffer. If you have a more extensive project in mind, like adding a room, moving walls, or remodeling bathrooms and kitchens, sometimes it is best to call the professionals.

Enter the world of general contractors and sub contractors.

Who are these people and why do you need them? Let’s begin with the former. The general contractor. Think of a general contractor like a wedding planner. When you hire a wedding planner surely that person isn’t going to bake the cake, sing the music, take wedding photos, and tailor the clothing. You hire the planner to use his or her industry knowledge, management skills, and resources to facilitate a smooth and successful wedding. They bring together the best people for the specific occasion. The people they bring on are the subcontractors and the wedding planner is the general contractor.

General contractors manage the job from a big picture point of view. They work with the client from start to finish while sub contractors come and go when certain aspects of the job are completed. Sub contractors are more specialized. Some examples are carpenters, plumbers, electricians, foundation and concrete specialists, large equipment operation, roofers, etc etc. Once their aspect of the job is complete they leave.

So, should you hire general contractors or should you directly hire sub contractors to do the work for you. Let’s look at what general contractors have to offer clients.

What do General Contractors have to Offer?

Good general contractors bring industry and project management expertise to your door so they can most efficiently and effectively tackle your project. A bonus offering is client peace of mind when starting a big job on their home.

Some less obvious things they bring to the table are things such as liability and insurance. Good general contractors have some form of liability insurance that covers the subcontractors in the event something happens while the subcontractor is working under them and also covers property damage. You assume this liability if you hire sub contractors directly.

The general contractor is also responsible for the quality of the work done to the home. In contrast, the homeowner has limited recourse once the work is done by the subcontractor. The general contractor will take the costs of repairs out of the existing budget instead of out of your pocket.

Knowledge of building codes, appropriate materials, proper construction methods and safety are all additional things that general contractors bring to your job. This is where the most time saving happens for the homeowner. You might not know how long it takes caulk to cure prior to being able to paint it. You might not know when the best time and temperature to pour concrete is. Perhaps you aren’t sure why the plumber needs to install a p-trap under your sink. This knowledge saves you from the steep learning curve most people go through when having to tackle a bigger job then that are accustomed to for the first time. It saves time to hire a professional, which saves money, all while saving yourself from the frustration of these common pitfalls.

Finally, the biggest thing we need to reiterate is: They’ve done this before. From start to finish, this is what a general contractor does on a daily basis. They manage the job like a coach manages a team. They know when to send in certain players at strategic times in the game based on what they are up against so that the end result is favorable and success much more likely.

In the end it is up to you whether or not you want or feel the need to hire a general contractor. Just remember a general contractor is a single point of contact for you vs. contacting multiple individuals for different aspects of the job. This could take a lot of stress and worry off your plate resulting in both potential time and money savings.