You see it all the time on TV – a young strappy couple tackling a remodel project “all on their own”. It looks great and fun and even a bit glamorous – but, as with most cases the real reality is quite different from the “reality tv” reality. Because we work with both DIY clients and clients with a contractor, we have seen first-hand the benefits our clients see when they use a contractor on even the smallest remodel project. That’s not to say one can’t do a remodel project without a contractor - people do it all the time and we have plenty of clients who fit this category. We do, however, encourage all of our “DIY” clients to carefully consider what they’re giving up when they decide not to hire a contractor.
Our Top 3 Reasons to use a Contractor
“I’m going to rip out my kitchen this weekend – it’s going to be great!”
It’s all great to be gung-ho and rip out your entire kitchen on a weekend but not so great if you haven’t already chosen and ordered your cabinets, counters, flooring, appliances, you get the picture. Schedules in any kind of construction are often fluid, especially in renovations. The projects we see running the smoothest are the ones where a contractor has taken the time to pay attention to the timing and has developed a realistic schedule. A good contractor will keep your job running smoothly because he or she knows the correct order in which to do different aspects of the job (when do floors get installed? Finished? When do I tile the backsplash? How do I get the right size countertop? How/when does the stove hood get vented?) and will schedule their subcontractors and crew accordingly. Our advice? Hire a contractor – even for a small remodel – and listen to him or her about the schedule. Take your deadlines seriously and make decisions on orders when they’re needed in order to keep the process moving – you won’t regret it!
#2: WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR #2…
This they do show on Reality TV – the unforeseen issue behind the wall that comes down to create the open floor plan or lying in wait under nasty vinyl flooring or rotting away around the window trim. What they don’t always show is the shock and worry when the homeowner without a contractor uncovers one of these issues. They know it’s bad and potentially going to drastically change both the schedule and budget, but they have no idea who to call to deal with it or how to deal with it. These issues are real and they can be daunting. Having a contractor who can assess the unknown issue (or better yet see the signs early on and predict that there may be an issue lurking) and develop a solid plan with the correct experts in an efficient and cost effective way is priceless.
#1: WHY WON’T ANYONE CALL ME BACK?!?
Time and again we hear from our DIY clients the same refrain: “I can’t get anyone to call me back”. This is our #1 reason to use a contractor. Most contractors have regular subcontractors they work with – everything from countertops to tile to electrical and plumbing. Because they work together regularly it’s easier for a contractor to get all of these key subcontractors to price the job and then put it on their schedule in a timely manner. No matter how handy you are, if you’re not a licensed electrician or plumber, you’ll need these trades for your remodel. Even if you’re replacing the current cabinet layout and re-using your appliances you’ll need to unhook your sink and appliances. If you have a gas stove you’ll have to unhook that safely. You’ll also need to re-plumb and wire and install those new sinks and appliances. Inevitably lighting layout will change with your kitchen remodel, requiring an electrician. You may also want new outlets in different areas. You get the picture… This is all to say that there are areas in a home remodel that require skilled trades and a contractor is usually the best option for getting these trades to a project. The contractor will also know what questions to ask, what issues to foresee, and what changes/costs to plan for. Our experience is that this expertise and these relationships are well worth the cost of the contractor.