Divide and conquer among contractors?

3 Replies

I'm closing on a multifamily that I plan to househack- I'm about to interview contractors and was wondering if I should offer them the whole job or divide it among different contractors..the job can be broken down in 5 sub-areas

1 redo my unit

2 freshen up the 2 units I would rent

3 retouch common areas

4 retouch facade 

5 add a sunroom on the back of my unit

What are your thoughts? Better to divide and spread my risk (and possibly avoid GC overhead charges) or hope in economies of scale through assigning everything to one contractor?

@Alessandro Cardito

Nearly always, split it up.  Split it up further than what you did.  I like to have no single payment larger than $500 if at all possible.  

Don't load someone up, make them aware of what's coming up and negotiate in advance, but don't commit work to someone until they finish the project they are on.

If you browse BP posts, note that most contractor problems with someone new is locked in with a single contractor on the entire scope of work for a project.

@Alessandro Cardito i would think handling 5 different contractors would be difficult.  If you intend to do that, I would only use 2-3 tops.  

Another potential issue I see, is inconsistency of work.  Each contractor might have different standards of work.  If you go that route, just keep a close eye on all involved 

I believe they are both right @Bill Plymouth and @Jim Goebel

Break it into the most immediate smaller single type project and try out your first contractor of choice.  If they work out well then you can continue to use them for the "next" small single project - until you trust them to take on a larger project or you move on to a different contractor.  If you have the timeline - this would work for the first two/three small projects.  Hopefully you find a great contractor and can work with them on the larger addition project.

If you have the time and are good with project management - you can definitely save some money by hiring the subs yourself and coordinating.  i.e. find a decent "handyman" small project guy, a plumber and an electrician and manage all three - maybe your handyman can do the painting, maybe you need to hire that sub also.  What you pay a larger general contractor for is the amount of time it takes to manage schedules, purchase materials and do quality checks.