DIY vs. Contractor: Who will finish my project list?

Let’s face it; everyone with a home has a home-improvement wish list. Whether it’s to fix what’s broken, finish what’s already been started or create their dream home.
With enough time, energy and know-how most people can do their own home improvements.
If you are in the DIY camp, you should read “Doing it Yourself” for some great tips. If that’s not your idea of fun you’ll need to hire out the work. You have two choices:
Hire Subcontractors

Subcontractors provide specialized skills and generally provide one service such as electrical
work, plumbing, painting, framing or tiling. You can hire subcontractors directly and
coordinate the details of your home improvement yourself.
Ready to Remodel…Now What?
• You save money if you have home-improvement knowledge
• You control the pace of the job to your timeline
• You control who is in your home
• You control the details of the project

• You need to be familiar with the logical flow of the job so you don’t contract work out of order
• You need to get bids from and schedule each subcontractor

• You manage multiple contractors throughout the project
• It’s time-consuming
Hire a General Contractor

A general contractor, or GC, is a person you hire to oversee the entire job and manage
the subcontractors.
• You benefit from their industry expertise, contacts and discounts
• You save money in the long run if your knowledge base is low
• You write checks to one person
• You have one point of contact throughout the job
• It can be expensive
• It can be difficult to find someone you trust
• The project is out of your hands
• The bid process takes longer
• Communication is critical since you only have one point of contact
No matter which route you take, you should ask friends and neighbors for recommendations,
get several quotes, interview all of them, call references, verify insurance coverage and view
their work if possible. There are multiple sources of information online about how to hire a
You may still fight with your spouse in the driveway over paint choices, deadlines and money,
but at least you won’t have to do the work yourself.