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Should I Hire General Contractors in Buffalo NY or Be My Own? Part 1

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Should I hire general contractors in Buffalo NY?

Home renovations and remodels are always costly, and if you like to keep as much money in your pocket as possible, you’re likely thinking about how you can minimize the cost of your project without sacrificing quality.

Most people wonder if they really need to hire general contractors in Buffalo NY, or if they can hire the professionals they need individually. Today, we’ll guide you through all the pros and cons of each decision so you can make the right one for your project.

How much does a general contractor in Buffalo NY cost?

In most cases, according to Home Advisor, a general contractor fee contributes to a 10-20% markup to the overall cost of your project. When a general contractor gives you a quote for a project, it should include their fee, the cost of subcontractors, and materials.

One of the reasons so many homeowners feel reluctant to hire a general contractor is the added cost. But choosing not to work with one won’t necessarily mean you save a lot or anything at all. Why?

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Benefits of Hiring General Contractors in Buffalo NY

1. Subcontractors charge homeowners higher rates

If you hire your own subcontractors, they will charge you a much higher rate than they would charge when working with general contractors in Buffalo NY. Working with homeowners directly is a risk for subcontractors. They know that typical homeowners haven’t done many construction projects and that these projects will take longer with more bumps in the road.

General contractors have established relationships with subcontractors and materials providers in the Buffalo area. They can acquire both labor and materials with less cost and in less time than you could acquire them.

2. General contractors have relationships, experience, and knowledge that cut costs

In addition to the higher cost of labor if you act as your own general contractor, if you shop for your own materials, you won’t get the general contractor discount. And when you get tired of the process of overseeing your own project, you will be tempted to pick the easy-to-find, higher-priced retail items, when less expensive materials would do.

Labor and materials can have a big impact on the overall cost of your project, so don’t assume that being your own general contractor will save you all the money you would have spent working with one.

Don’t forget that general contractors in Buffalo NY will also know whether a price of materials or a subcontractor is reasonable or not, without having to speak to numerous other professionals. If you have no industry knowledge, you won’t know if you’re getting a good deal or not. If you don’t have experience managing a budget for a big project like yours, it can be easy to go over budget.

Related: The Typical Cost of a Bathroom Remodel and The Average Cost of a Kitchen Renovation

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3. General contractors will save you some wrinkles and grey hairs

Home remodels can be stressful! You will be living with construction in your home (or maybe vacating your home and trying to live with family or elsewhere). If you choose to be your own general contractor, you’re also communicating with professionals and fixing problems, and you are everyone’s first port of call when they need something. Do you really want that?

Your general contractor will save you from the emotional rollercoaster of planning and managing your project. They’ll keep control of all the stressful minutia while keeping you abreast of progress and anything that needs your attention.

4. General contractors save you time

Whenever you’re thinking about doing something yourself versus paying a professional to do it for you, consider how much your time is worth. You can think of this literally, in terms of how much the time you’ll put into it would make you in your job. Also, you can consider that any time you put into being a general contractor will be time you would otherwise have for downtime and taking care of other responsibilities.

Even if you do a similar position for your career, do you really want to have to manage a project in your downtime? When you look at what you’ll be giving up or what your time is worth, many people conclude that working with general contractors in Buffalo NY is the right move.

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5. General contractors have skills you don’t

General contractors in Buffalo NY aren’t just project managers – they know the right (and wrong) ways to remodel a home. They understand what each trade contractor does, what they need, and the order things need to be done in.

When you are managing your own home remodel projects, what you don’t know can hurt you. Install the wrong type of drywall behind your bathroom tile, and you will be dealing with a nasty mold nightmare down the road. Don’t fix a slight lean in the wall, and your expensive new cabinets will be hanging lopsided. A great remodel can turn into a nightmare.

Even little scheduling mistakes can cost you money and increase the overall cost of the project. The last thing you want to do is book your electrician, only to realize they can’t start until something else is done.

Another skill a general contractor has that you may not? Project estimating! You may estimate that you can get the project done within budget without general contractors. But if several general contractors in Buffalo NY are quoting you well above your budget, it may be for good reason.

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6. General contractors mitigate some risk

Legal Risk

You should know that in many areas, including Buffalo NY, certain home remodels are required to be done by a contractor with a license. You may also be legally required to take out building permits, or you could face fines. If you are renovating a home that has been vacant for a while, you are more likely to be noticed by law enforcement and penalized for this if everything is not done legally. 

The increase in value for your home after a remodel – even the addition of new rooms or sq ft – may not be recognized if the home remodel was not completed legally. Your general contractor’s job is to make sure this is done properly.

Subcontracting Risk

Hiring subcontractors instead of general contractors in Buffalo NY can significantly increase the risk of your home remodel. If you make a mistake while managing your own project, there’s no one to blame but you. If it’s a serious mistake, you may be out of pocket.

For one thing, it is a general contractor’s job to prequalify their subcontractors. A subcontractor’s financial instability, undependability, or lack of skills could cause an entire project to go awry. Your general contractor takes it upon himself to screen and do quality control. Good general contractors in Buffalo NY will often eat the costs of mistakes. 

Risk of Construction Problems

If you encounter any serious problems during your renovation, remodel, or build, who would you prefer to have fix that problem? You, or your general contractor?

Financial Risk

Also keep in mind that it may be harder to get a construction loan if you are acting as your own general contractor. This is because banks are aware that acting as your own general contractor increases the risk of your project.

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7. Your home remodel will likely reach completion faster

Think of a general contractor team like a fluidly moving system, where all the parts are designed to work together.

Acting as your own general contractor is more like gluing together a handful of unrelated subcontractors, materials, and designs. And the moving parts may not work together well. If your contractors are unfamiliar with the kinds of work you want done, or if they don’t work together well, it will take them a long time to adjust, and those labor hours add up.

General contractors in Buffalo NY know how to complete a renovation, remodel, or new build in the most efficient way possible. When you’re managing it yourself, there will be pauses in the build as you solve problems or move on to the next phase.

This is important, because not having materials at the right time for when you have hired a subcontractor creates additional expenses and scheduling challenges. Home remodels tend to get more and more expensive the longer that they take.

A general contractor can anticipate the next step for your home renovation and put each into motion at just the right time.

Should I Hire General Contractors in Buffalo NY?

The above considerations can lead a homeowner to hire general contractors in Buffalo NY to complete home renovations. If you do need general contractors in Buffalo NY, we hope you will consider contacting TBrothers.

The next blog will examine situations in which you might opt to manage a home improvement project on your own.