Pros and Cons of Being Your Own General Contractor

When you want to make home improvements or start a renovation or remodeling project on your house, you don’t have to hire a general contractor. If you have the tools and the determination, there’s nothing stopping you from going the DIY route.

However, if this is your first time spearheading a remodeling project on your own, you need to know the downsides as well as the upsides of taking on the contractor role.

This article will cover both the pros and the cons of being your own general contractor, so that you can make an informed decision about how you want your remodel to go.


Pros

It’s always good to start off on a positive note, so let’s get to the pros!

– Saves you from choosing a contractor

We have a whole article about how to choose the right contractor, but let’s be honest: it would be nice to avoid that whole process to begin with. When you become your own contractor, you don’t have to agonize over hiring someone you’ve never met to work in your home. You trust you, so why not just hire yourself?

– Saves you from paying general contractor fees

There’s no doubt that going DIY can save you money, especially when it comes to general contractor fees. Instead of giving that money to someone else, you can take it and reinvest it into your remodel.

Cons

Now, on to the pitfalls of not hiring a general contractor.

– You must assume all risk and responsibility

When you’re the one in charge of your remodel, you automatically assume all risk and responsibility. That means that if anything goes wrong or you make a mistake, it’s all on you.

– You must be familiar with ICC codes

When a general contractor works on a remodel, whatever they do has to adhere to the International Code Council (ICC) coding regulations. These regulations apply just as equally when you’re working on the same project by yourself. They’re designed to ensure that your home adheres to building standards and remains safe for people to dwell in. And you have to know every single one.

The difference is you may have never had training or experience with ICC codes. A licensed general contractor has, meaning they’ll know how to stay in compliance.

– You must build good relationships with suppliers and subcontractors

Lastly, general contractors (especially the ones with years of experience) already have good relationships with suppliers and subcontractors. As a first time DIY contractor, you’ll have to create these connections on your own from scratch, which can be time consuming and even confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing.


Good First-Time DIY Projects vs Projects Where You Should Hire a Professional

If you decide that you want to try being your own contractor, these are the best first-time DIY projects for you to tackle first.

  • Painting walls
  • Refinishing or painting cabinets
  • Replacing fixtures and appliances
  • Refinishing flooring

Now, here are some projects where you’d be wise to hire a general contractor, especially when you’re still in the learning stages.

  • Installing new flooring
  • Knocking down old walls/building new walls
  • Rewiring electrical outlets or light fixtures
  • Repairing the foundation

Conclusion

Being your own general contractor can be rewarding and even fun. But it’s also challenging, especially when you’re first starting out. If at any point in your DIY journey, you feel overwhelmed or in over your head, hiring an expert general contractor can lift that weight off your shoulders.

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Clay Lester, Owner

Licensed and insured as a general contractor in both Washington and Idaho and with over 20 years of skill and expertise, Clay and his team are absolutely committed to quality, reliability, and excellent work.
Beth Cree
Beth Cree
April 29, 2024
Clay and crew did an excellent job with the remodeling of my refrigerator space to make room for a new one. I'm very satisfied with the end result.
John Burns
John Burns
April 17, 2024
Palouse Remodeling and Handyman is a company you can trust. I have been in the apartment business 40 years and have never had such great honest service. They stuck with there bid, did more work than contracted, and did quality work. What more could one ask. 5 ***** Star. John E. Burns
A Kelleher
A Kelleher
December 18, 2023
Clay and his team did a phenomenal job on our kitchen remodel! We have an old double wide, and most want nothing to do with working on it! But Clay apparently likes a challenge! He was responsive, professional, diligent, and is attentive to even the smallest details! I highly recommend him and his crew!!
Minh Elan
Minh Elan
November 30, 2023
It was such a relief to work with Clay and his team after we had not been receiving callbacks from other contractors for so long. They did an array of projects for us so we no longer have to look at half-finished issues all over the house. Tiled up a hole in the shower left by a plumber, poured concrete to fill a hole in our basement, patched carpet/trim/wall where we had removed a built-in, etc. And gave us some quotes for future projects, which is really helpful. They run a tight ship and we would recommend them (and already have!). Extra props to Lewis who did most of our house and was very sweet with our large-ish dogs.
Tia Hain
Tia Hain
November 26, 2023
We have been working with Clay for years. He helped us so much with a fixer upper we bought. Helped to make it absolutely beautiful (and functional). From gutting and rebuilding 2 bathrooms, new siding, new back deck, putting in a sump pump, stabilizing and ancient garage, adding attic storage space, etc. The list goes on. He always gets back to us right away. Never leaves us hanging. On time and attentive. I cannot recommend Clay and Palouse Handyman enough.
omfsholtzen
omfsholtzen
November 25, 2023
Needed help in a difficult situation, and Palouse 100% went above and beyond to solve my problem. And for the work they couldn’t do, they facilitated relationships with other professionals I could trust. Highly recommend!
Ryan Fereday
Ryan Fereday
November 24, 2023
Clay and his crew were knowledgeable about code requirements and recommended necessary rebuild of outdoor decking . Work was done in a timely manner and did a great job. Site was clean after project.
Sheryl Nelson
Sheryl Nelson
November 24, 2023
It took a long time to schedule but the work was excellent. The staff and the workers were professional and courteous.
Erick Kayioni
Erick Kayioni
November 23, 2023
There really good art what they do they remodeled my all house and they did a good job will recommend
Pat Carter
Pat Carter
November 21, 2023
Palouse Handyman did a great job fixing our back steps and repairing our front porch. Their workmanship is excellent, they kept to the estimated timeline, their actual costs were as estimated, and they were easy to work with. I highly recommend them and would not hesitate for a second to hire them again for house repairs.