What is having a General Contractor like?

3 Replies

Hi All. 

When it comes to real estate I consider myself a hard nosed investor. Always getting involved with the nitty gritty and just pushing through (never pretty). When renovating this results in myself acting as the general contractor. I'm currently mid-way though a renovation where I'm adding a floor to a brick building. The other day something struck me and made me question my practices. A few buildings down a property was demolished, foundation built, and 3 stories of the brick exterior finished before I was done with the one floor! 

I hire and oversee the demo guys, hvac, plumbing, electrical, drywall, paint, floors, etc. Although this helps significantly lower my costs, the added time and stress is starting to weigh on me. I have a full-time job outside of real estate. 

For my next project I'm thinking about hiring an experienced general contractor.  

What is it like hiring a big time GC for your project? 

Are you on site everyday?

Making good old Home Depot runs regularly?

Meeting and calling different tradesmen? 

Noticeable increase in costs?

Whats the GC experience vs doing it yourself?


Hiring a big time GC makes it so you can be hands off and handle multiple projects at one time.

They'll be able to handle everything for you.

You do not need to go to site everyday. 

You can make the GC do those runs for you or you can do them to help out and save time and costs.

They'll handle all the tradesmen.

Of course for this you'll pay a premium :) 

I love the GC experience. You can now do 10 projects at one time instead of one.

I work for a GC and couldn't recommend hiring a GC you trust enough.

A good GC has a system to make your renovation run smoothly. They know what tradesmen can work together without getting in each others way, they know what items will need to be permitted and the correct ways to make sure everything is up to code.

You wouldn't need to be on site every day.

Other than to make design selections, most GCs would prefer to do the Home Depot runs themselves. We have our customers text/email us their selections and we pick it up.

One of the main benefits of a GC, is that after you've signed a contract with them, they handle the rest. You wouldn't need to be calling or meeting with anyone.

Yes there would be an increase in cost. I think of it as similar to hiring a property manager. Sure maybe right now you are able to handle it on your own, but if you'd like to continue to grow your real estate portfolio, it would be worth it to start looking for a GC you work well with now. The increase in cost is worth their expertise.

Another point, contractors get discounts on lots of things that aren't available to the general public. Discounts on lighting, tile, cabinetry or countertops-even just 5% add up quickly. We also try to save as much as possible from other projects and sometimes end up with really cool pieces another homeowner didn't like, but you might love! 

great post. But something here strikes me. We’re talking about apples and oranges. 3 story home being demolished and built and adding a story to your existing. I would question timing. Zoning approvals etc that takes time. What doesn’t take time once everything is approved is demolition and building do to good architecture planning. But we’re talking about cost, planning, zoning and building bids. 

My advice is to keep hustling and try to use the same tradesmen for comfort. Bottom line if it doesn’t make dollars it doesn’t make cents.  

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