Three construction workers in a framed house in Vancouver house.

Hiring a Contractor vs Being Your Own Contractor

Thinking of being your own contractor?

Ask yourself do I want a complete turn-key finished project or do I want to organize the project, hiring subcontractors to do the work. If you are thinking of managing the subcontractors keep a couple of things in mind.

Doing it yourself.

Some subcontractors are reluctant to work for homeowners and even smaller contractors. In the business Vancouver area, many subcontractors have the luxury of picking and choosing jobs. They tend to pick contractors who can give them repeat work. Also, many sub-contractors and suppliers will need appointments during regular business hours so you may need to take time off from work. In addition, you will need to meet with the city officials, engineers, architects, suppliers and sub trades, and more than once.

Contractors usually get price breaks with suppliers, professional consultants and subcontractors which can offset much of the cost of a contractor. And most importantly, a good contractor will only use good, reliable subcontractors who will do a quality job at a fair price and help to keep the job on budget and schedule.

Hiring a contractor.

A good contractor works hard. Here is a list of their jobs and responsibilities:

  • Set initial budgets.
  • Provide a clear and concise contract.
  • Set and agree a payment schedule based on work progress and completed.
  • Liaise with design professionals and attend meetings to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.
  • Provide input on alternative solutions for a better or more cost effective way.
  • Obtain the necessary permits.
  • Schedule and meet with city officials for inspections.
  • Understand and be able to interpret the plans and specifications.
  • Obtain comprehensive estimates from suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Take the time to go through these with you and explain any areas that you do not understand.
  • They will point out potential problems and ways to mitigate them.
  • Provide copies of their own insurance policies.
  • Verify sub trade insurance coverage.
  • Organize and negotiate contracts with the subcontractors.
  • Quantify and order materials.
  • Schedule deliveries.
  • Schedule sub trades.
  • Provide workable solutions when conflicts and discrepancies arise.
  • Disburse money to subs and material suppliers and provide proof of payment.
  • Supervise and coordinate the work flow of employees, sub trades and suppliers.
  • Troubleshoot job-site problems.
  • Liaise and communicate with all concerned parties, Owner, city officials, architects, engineers, sub trades etc.
  • Provide and explain warranties on materials and labour.
  • Be present on the job site or designate a responsible person to supervise at all times.
  • Be transparent in their dealings.

The day to day.

In addition to the above, a good contractor will deal with the day to day events such as bad weather, sickness, material shortage, sub trade schedules and budgets.

Making the right choice for you.

Haven’t made up your mind? We are happy to talk with you about the project. Whether you go with us or go it alone, it never hurts to talk. Call: 604-727-4282