Contractor choices

kitykatOctober 19, 2011

Thought I'd solicit opinions on this topic. In doing a remodeling project that requires several different skills, would you prefer to:

1. Hire a GC who does the bid, then coordinates and schedules the work by subcontractors. His profit comes from 'administration'.

2. Hire a GC who works daily on the job with his crews, and has 'skin in the game'. His profit comes from his labors.

Assume both will perform a quality job...

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Hi, Kitykat.
Using my DH's computer, and it is not setup like mine. The words in your post are bringing ad-links up, and I don't remember how to get rid of them. Hope my lappy comes home soon.

But the contractor we used to do our closet/bath bumpout is a general contractor, who worked with his subs. Not as closely as I'd like, or that he wanted too, but we have no complaints about it.

He also did our Teahouse/derelict garage rebuild for us, the second large project, and so we do trust him. If you have someone who is honest, trustworthy, does what they say they will, has a track record of no budget overrides so lives up to his estimates for the work, then he is the one I'd always use. This guy I'm speaking of, Robert DeMouy in Mobile, is the one we will use next winter to do our extended and extensive kitchen remodel, which will include reflooring the entire house and adding another extension to the master bedroom across the back of the house. For this project, he has recommended two designers to draw up the plans for me, and when we return to AL that is what I will be involved in doing.

Having that job completed on time will be important, because we'll move all furniture etc out of the house, and be dislocated for the duration. Things will have to go like clockwork. For such a job, I would not want to use an untried contractor, but someone I KNOW will be a responsible individual. I've heard such horror stories and also been victimized by unscrupulous contractors who were supposed to do a complete job, yet left me with unfinished electrical junction boxes in the attic, and so on.

So I would say, I'd want a GC who was working WITH the foundation guys, the framers, the roofers, the finishers. And make sure you specify licensed plumbers/electricians for the regular sub work. And require building permits be pulled for all the work. Don't resent the permiting process, it is there to protect you as well as the city from substandard housing.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 3:27PM
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I am with ML on this one. My Jim Hartman of Contract Remodeling does almost all of the work himself, with one helper. When he could not do something (ie:concrete), he found an expert and got him involved. Here in Michigan, a General Contractor license means that the contractor can do all of the work - electrical and plumbing included. Jim does all that, and I trust him to do it right. He did refer us to an electrician when we needed the electrical service upgraded, but for adding lights, wiring everything in the kitchen, adding a fan/heater/light to the bathroom, he does it all.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 10:05PM
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I totally agree. The guy who built our house (not for us) was a drive by GC, and there are Sooooo many things done in a slipshod manner. And those are just the things we have found.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 10:39PM
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Marti, my contractor told me that I could get a license to act as my own GC if I wanted to. I'm sure YOU would be more capable at that than myself. You are very project oriented.
It is something to think about, or look into. I'd trust you because you've done a lot of grunt work and like things to be done right. Sometimes it is the folks who take the trouble to DISCOVER what is the right thing to do that are better than the ones who just simply DO NOT CARE....who knows if they are aware what is right, makes no difference to them.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Where we are, we don't have to have a license. When we do the dining room addition, we are going to hire framers and sheetrockers, and do the rest ourselves.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Another comment to you Marti.
About the garage floor.
My DH (and a couple of contractors in the past as well) have used the self leveling cement to level a cement floor, or even a wood floor where an addition does not quite match. Then you put the regular flooring over it.

So with your sloped garage floor, it might pay to do something such as that before you convert it to a MIL suite.
Just a thought.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 12:22PM
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LOL, after having the in-laws live 7 miles from us for the past two years, I have made a decision regarding the mother-in-law apartment: over my dead body. But I'll pass your suggestion along to dh. ;)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 12:13AM
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