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Old 03-22-2017, 09:20 AM   #1
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Am I self-contracting?


After receiving 6 or 7 quotes from "contractors," in the $30k to $40k price range and STILL wanting 6+ weeks of no kitchen to do it, I'm thinking of just calling up individual companies to do my kitchen remodel.

I already know exactly what needs done; and have good relations with an electrician and plumber. They are pricey, but nowhere near the price the contractors are quoting, AND if I get into a jam I can call any plumber or electric and get it done same day. I'm seriously ready to order cabinets and start tearing down some cabinets tonight!

So my main questions are
1. Am I doing this right or am I missing something?
2. Do I need to pull any extra permits, or can't my electrician and plumber just do it for each job?

Summary of plan / companies I need to call w/ ballpark budget
Demolition - cabinets & tile / haul away ~$1000
Plumbing - re-locating frig & dishwasher, new valves, drain, sink ~$1000
Electric - re-locating frig & dishwasher, outlets, maybe recessed lights ~$1000
Drywall / Framer - patching ceiling and walls, MAYBE cut a wall ~$1000
Tile - new tile on concrete slab ~$2000
Cabinets & counter top - new cabinets & counter, can order before demo ~$10 to $15k

Tampa, FL
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:29 AM   #2
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


Do you have actual bids from subcontractors (i.e. electric, plumbing, counter) to do the work, or are the figures you quoted guesses on your part? Certainly if you are capable of supervising the project, and have access to qualified contractors, you can GC (general contract) the project yourself. You may also be able to pull your own permits, talk to the building inspector about the process.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


General Contractors have to earn their profit, too. They usually do it by marking up the subcontractors' charges by 10 or 20% or more.

If you are experienced and knowledgeable, and you have the time to supervise and coordinate the ongoing work, sure, be your own GC.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:27 PM   #4
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


Are you going to be able to be at the house all day, each day people are working there, to make sure everything is coordinated properly.
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


Thanks that helps me understand the terminology better - subcontractor vs general contractor. I don't think I mind a 10% but some of these quotes come to 100% and the first thing they suggest to save money is lower cabinet and countertop quality.

I work 15 mins from home and can also work from home. I do realize the permits and inspection doubles the time I need to take off work.
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:12 PM   #6
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


There's no reason you can't contract it yourself. Keep in mind if there's a mistake you have to eat the cost. Subcontractors generally will give a contractor a better price then the homeowner. I've seen jobs done that cost the homeowner more since he subbed it himself then it would if he let contractor do it. Get estimates first, pay when they are finished, not before. Your figures of $1000 each make me think that you haven't gotten your estimates yet from your subs. Just have your ducks in a row, expect to pay more if you change things in the middle of the job. It's not unreasonable to pay a portion on delivery of materials for let's say your tile work. If it's something special order you will most likely have to pay in advance. Good luck!


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Old 03-23-2017, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


Well, it can be done, but a lot can also go wrong. A sub leaves a job half done because he has to do work for his regular contractor and your job stops. All other work slips and the subs you had go to other paying jobs. And note, a second sub doesn't like picking up a job half way through as he ends up guaranteeing what the other guy did.

Not sure where you are but in cold country work might be slow right now. Try to find a sub in the middle of the busy season and they are all booked.

My advice would be to look for a one man army, a small contractor who can do all of the work with the exception of work that requires a separate license. He would be onsite and familiar with everything that has to be done. Building a house requires a crew at each stage to keep the job moving. With a kitchen remodel, one or two workers is all that is needed.

IMO, your estimates are wild guesses. Electrical codes may require upgrades you haven't planned. You mentioned plumbing and a slab. that work can get expensive. Last plumber I hired (over 10 years ago) charged $90 per hour.

Stick with plan A, search for a contractor, but don't generalize. You need to get the specifics outlined so his bid doesn't need to be inflated to cover what he doesn't know. Do you have a set of plans? Many kitchen design places or box stores can draw up what you need. Talk to your local code officials to get their input and requirements. Check with your insurance company to see what coverage you will need and what coverage the contractor and his subs will need. In my state everyone needs workers comp or needs to sign a waiver.

If a large deposit is required arrange for it to be held by an attorney and dispersed in stages only after the work is done. Even paying for cabintes that get delivered doesn't insure they will get installed so always be sure there is money available on the table if and when he returns to the job. If he receives the money and spends it he needs to work some place else that will be paying.

Enough, get many more bids but be specific so they can fine tune those numbers.

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Old 03-23-2017, 07:37 PM   #8
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


If you have to ask, you're probably not ready for it. I seriously suggest you get a copy of my book, "Psychotic Remodeling: A How-Not-Guide" and read it BEFORE you start a job. You can buy a copy on Amazon. It will save everyone on the job time, money, and hassles. The list of what a GC has to do for a job to turn out correct is endless. Also, most subs charge more if the homeowner is their own GC, mainly because they know things will not be ready for when they show up to do their work. Contractors pay for licenses, insurance, overhead and other burdens, and babysitting workers. Contractors know code issues. Do you? What they charge is well worth the cost. I've only been doing this 45 years. Also, next time you get a quote, don't tell the contractor you have already gotten 5 or 6 bids, they will walk out the door when they hear that. Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


This can be a difficult question for a us to answer because it involves how quickly you can make decisions. Some homeowners are really good at making selection and design decisions quickly. Some homeowners need time to think about these things. If you are just beginning this process, it may be many months before the plans and permits are ready. Remember two things: 1) a good home remodeling contractor should be in demand and typically carry a backlog of work and 2) rushing through the design process can ruin a project. So take your time.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:16 AM   #10
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post

IMO, your estimates are wild guesses. Electrical codes may require upgrades you haven't planned. You mentioned plumbing and a slab. that work can get expensive. Last plumber I hired (over 10 years ago) charged $90 per hour.



Bud
He can expect to pay a minimum $150/hr today. Better to budget $200. Of course I don't know his location so I could be wrong. I'd imagine plumbers are cheaper than that in Syria. He can hire a concrete cutter separately to save on that.


I see Tampa Fl, sorry, you can probably find a plumber in the $100-$150 range there. Maybe. I'd budget $2000 minimum for plumbing labor.

$2000 for electric

$2000 for drywall. But that's all without seeing it so I don't really know what I'm talking about just saying those are minimums

Paint, trim, fixtures, windows, crown molding, cabinet installs and modifications

Cabinets and counters could be $1000 or $100,000
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Last edited by BIG Johnson; 05-02-2017 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:27 AM   #11
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Re: Am I self-contracting?


GC's in my area tack on 15%. But I've known some to almost double framing costs. Example: charge customer $20K to frame the house, then find a crew to do it for $12K. Another way GC's pad profit is to charge "full price" for lumber/etc. then get 10-20% kick-back after the bills paid on time. Law says they have to tell you what they pay but there's no obligation to inform you of incentives they receive from their suppliers. If you GC yourself, shop around and you should come in close to what your GC would pay for materials.

All that being said: finding a good GC to complete your reno is money well spent. There is a lot of profit baked into their initial quote so it's all negotiable. As they say: You can always lower your price, but once you give a customer a lowball quote and they jump at it, you can't then say oh wait, how about a little higher price.

I'm a GC. It's stressful if you care about doing a great job for your customers. You have to fix stuff from every sub you hire. So it's not just making phone calls and writing checks. It's all on you. Ive heard of GC's who never touch a tool but I've never met any.
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