Act as own GC or hire one?

14 years ago

After swearing we'd never do this again, here we are with another house that needs a lot of work. (Blame the Seattle real estate market.) My husband is a good DIYer, but he needs a break.

We have a large number of small-to-medium jobs that need to be done. For example, all the bathtubs and bathroom sinks need to be replaced (along with the tile, vanities, and flooring), everything in the kitchen needs replacing, we need a number of overhead lights installed in rooms that have none, all the windows, interior/exterior doors, and millwork need to be replaced, we need to build a small divider wall and replace a sliding glass door with a wall and window in the family room, and we need to swap a powder room and laundry room that are illogically laid out.

I have leads on a reliable plumber, electrician, and window company, so we could have those specialty jobs done and manage the work ourselves. But I'm beginning to wonder whether it's any cheaper to do that, since I suspect that the contractors dislike these small jobs and jack up their prices to homeowners compared to what they'd charge a GC. Plus we'll still have to hire a small-scale remodeling or handyman company to build the wall and take out the sliding-glass door, and I don't know any carpenters or tile installers.

I'm interviewing a remodeling firm next week. Should I ask them just to bid on the family room? Should I ask them to also bid on the windows, doors, and millwork, which are in other rooms? Should I have the bathrooms and kitchens done as a package by a remodeling firm, or just hire a plumber, cabinet installer, etc.? I'd be interested in your impressions and experience regarding the cost and convenience tradeoffs of trying to manage all the specialty contractors yourself or just hiring someone to do an entire room at once.

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