If you’re about to embark upon a fairly large scale home renovation, whether it be a complete bathroom remodeling or a basement renovation, one thing you’re probably debating is whether to hire a general contractor or not. Of the homeowners that opt not to, many unfortunately make this decision based on very little knowledge of what a general contractor is actually capable of and a poor understanding of how hiring one would will benefit their project in a big way.
In fact, we would be willing to bet that if you did a survey amongst many homeowners in the Toronto area relating to the role and duties of a general contractor, many would reply stating that a general contractor is little more than a handyman and a jack-of-all-trades. But they can offer so much more than just all-round knowledge of various trades, overseeing the whole process, enlisting the help of the best and most trusted tradesmen around, and troubleshooting problems quickly as soon as they arise. To hire a general contractor or not isn’t really the question. Which general contractor you should hire is the real question here.
The Value of a General Contractor is Commonly Misunderstood: Here’s Why You Need One
As you’ve probably gathered by now, a general contractor doesn’t just have extensive knowledge of a number of different trades – plumbing, plastering, electrics, construction – they also play a key role in the organization and management of home remodeling projects, possessing the following attributes:
- Great Time Management Skills – A general contractor can speed up a bathroom or kitchen renovation simply by ensuring that each part of the process is carried out as efficiently as possible. Before a tool is ever picked up, your general contractor will plan out the entire project, outlining exactly what needs to be done and in what order, ensuring absolutely no time is wasted. When trying to project manage yourself, it’s very easy to either have tasks completed in the wrong order or just lose track of what needs doing altogether, meaning the project takes longer to complete and causes a great deal of inconvenience to you and the rest of your family. Not only that, but if things are done before they need to be, it may affect other parts of the project and they may need to be re-done at additional cost later on.
- Delivery On or Under Budget – Time is not the only currency that a general contractor can help you to save; their experience can be extremely useful in terms of saving you money too. Budget is one of the most important considerations for any home improvement project, yet inexperience will almost always result in higher than expected costs, as you don’t have the foresight to be able to avoid potential problems and you aren’t aware of how to achieve the end result you desire even when spending a lesser amount of money. A general contractor can do that. They’ve completed hundreds, if not thousands of renovations before and know every trick in the book in terms of getting great value for any money spent.
- All Hiring & No Firing – If your project requires the skills and experience of several different types of tradesmen, you’re going to have to invest a considerable amount of time to select the tradesmen you want to work with on your project. The trouble is, no matter how much research you do and how many candidates you interview, you don’t know for sure that they are going to be able carry out the work to the standards you demand, nor do you know how their style of communication and personality will fit with your own, meaning it’s highly likely that you might have to fire a tradesman or two during the project or alternatively put up with tradesmen that are less than perfect. When working with a general contractor, this simply isn’t an issue. With years of experience, they have built up their own trusted network of tradesmen that they have collaborated with on numerous occasions and can personally vouch for their credentials.
- Stopping Problems in Their Tracks – Problems are inevitable; it’s very rare that a home renovation will be all “plain sailing,” even if it is well planned out. Sometimes situations arise that simply couldn’t have been predicted, maybe due to the weather or a third party that didn’t come through on a promise, and at times like these it’s great to have a general contractor in your corner. They are great problem solvers and can think very clearly and concisely on their feet. Whereas you might only see problems, they see solutions! Not only does this to help avoid added costs, but this ability often helps to prevent lengthy delays too (extremely handy if you’re having to use your neighbour’s bathroom while yours is being remodeled).
- Acting as a Mediator – A large project can involve multiple different contractors, each with their personality, and it’s not uncommon for some of the parties involved to clash, particularly if a problem arises and one feels that the other’s work has led to the situation. This kind of tension could de-rail your project if not quickly resolved and that’s another role of a general contractor – mediator. They are known as the leader or “the boss” and should a conflict arise, a general contractor will typically get everything smoothed over very quickly and attention will be re-directed back to the tasks that need to be done.
- Taking Care of the Paperwork – Even though your house is your own, that doesn’t mean you have the right to do whatever you want to it. Certain types of work first has to be approved by local building authorities; permits must be acquired and inspections must be organized. If you don’t know what you’re doing this process can take a lot longer than it really ought to, but a general contractor can get all of this “boring” (but necessary) stuff sorted out very quickly. They have extensive knowledge of local building codes and know exactly what can and can’t be done.
If you would like to speak to a general contractor in Toronto about your remodeling project, don’t hesitate to contact Karen Homes on 416-661-6006.