Anyone bypass General Contractors and have Vendors Install?

11 Replies

With all the GC horror stories here, has anyone bypassed General Contractors altogether and just have Vendors Install?

Are most Vendors who Supply & Install Licensed, Bonded, Insured in the same manner as GC's?

I'm in no rush, so in a Kitchen/Bath remodel what is suggested to have each trade come in first (ie leave floors for last so it won't get dirtied while other trades install their supplies first, or leave bath as last so it can be used while Kitchen trades do their thing?)  Thanks much,.

I am surmising that these are major gut jobs you are about to endeavor. Personally, this is where I would get a GC involved. I say that because GC's tend to have project manager or are their own project manager. The project manager determines which job is to be done 1st, 2nd, 3rd of 4th. I am pretty sure you have seen those flip shows where the electrical was not done and delayed the placing of drywall or the granite countertop was not cut to size but the cabinets and counters were already installed. A PM is suppose to prevent that from happening or troubleshoot. A vendor is only to do one thing while a PM is overlooks everything. Just get a reputable GC, pay the exorbitant amount of money on the front-end but have the peace of mind that everything is done right on the back-end.  

Thanks Brian,

Yes this is for a very small 1 bed apt where the only thing in the bath needed is install of new vanity.. kitchen needs new cabinets, countertops, floor, and appliances.. that's it.  

Again, this isn't a rush job as I'm not planning to flip it or rent it out asap so I have time on my side.  I'd see the need for a GC to reduce carrying costs if I were flipping though.  

Given, I have the time and I'm not moving any electrical/plumbing , I don't see the need to pay the 30% GC premium thanks.

Oh, then in that case, dude do it yourself. LOL. No, just use a vendor. Its all cosmetic.

I woud but i work a fulltime, im nowhere near as handy as id like to think ha, and my building requires licenses to do this kind if work. Thanks

If you have connections with good vendors that  you trust, then you can easily manage it yourself.  If not, you need to consider the time involved with obtaining estimates, reviews, scheduling, providing access, handling issues that come up (like new water heater required  we remove the entire door and frame for access as they are wider now).   We usually handle our own renovations without a general contractor, but we have the time to be there when needed, have good relationships with electrician, HVAC, tile guy, etc. , and do much of the work ourselves, anyway.  

This particular job sounds like something a handyman should take on.  It's a couple hours of work to swap out a bathroom vanity.  

The benefit of using a GC is that the various subcontractors are going to prioritize the GC's work because they feed them a lot of business during the year.  If you subcontract direct, you are much lower on the priority scale of getting the work completed.  It makes a difference in a competitive market with busy subcontractors.

Originally posted by @Lynn M. :

If you have connections with good vendors that  you trust, then you can easily manage it yourself.  If not, you need to consider the time involved with obtaining estimates, reviews, scheduling, providing access, handling issues that come up (like new water heater required  we remove the entire door and frame for access as they are wider now).   We usually handle our own renovations without a general contractor, but we have the time to be there when needed, have good relationships with electrician, HVAC, tile guy, etc. , and do much of the work ourselves, anyway.  

Thank you this is a 1 bed apartment in a high-rise, so we don't need major fixes that are shared in the building such as HVAC, roof, moving electric/plumbing, etc.. just the items listed above.

I have no relationship with vendors though I see many advertised online with reviews which I'd base my choices on.  I don't mind working with estimates, reviews, schedules, as I would have had to do that with my GC anyway.

Do most of your vendors use their own licensed installers or do they contact local contractors to do so?  If the latter, I may as well interview my own GC, thanks.

Originally posted by @Rob Myers :

This particular job sounds like something a handyman should take on.  It's a couple hours of work to swap out a bathroom vanity.  

The benefit of using a GC is that the various subcontractors are going to prioritize the GC's work because they feed them a lot of business during the year.  If you subcontract direct, you are much lower on the priority scale of getting the work completed.  It makes a difference in a competitive market with busy subcontractors.

 Yes regarding the vanity, but most handymen aren't licensed & insured and my building needs proof of insurance before anyone can touch my kitchen.  I assumed the vendors/suppliers would have their own insurance, is this normal?  Thank you.

Vendors, or subcontractors can and will be licensed and insured. Keep in mind those types will cost more than a handyman will. Also I find asking friends and family to recommend people sometimes can lead to great contractors that you can build a relationship with.

Originally posted by @Brian Pulaski :

Vendors, or subcontractors can and will be licensed and insured. Keep in mind those types will cost more than a handyman will. Also I find asking friends and family to recommend people sometimes can lead to great contractors that you can build a relationship with.

Thanks Brian,  yes while they cost more than handyman (who I prefer but my building won't allow because most are unlicensed), it seems they still cost much less than GC's.  Appreciate it.

@Mike Kalob There are GCs that do their own or them + 1. Those are the home depot guys that have license numbers at the side of their truck. Handyman with a license. The myth is, all GCs charge 30%, total myth, totally up to the contractor, if work is slow, they’ll take half, if work is loaded they’ll double. Officially, vendors sell supplies, just like home depot, they never install.

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