Building Tips

Self-Contracting vs Hiring a Contractor

Henry and I have always self-contracted our builds and projects up to this point. We love being hands on and enjoy doing lots of the work ourselves. Throughout the past eighteen years of several builds and re-models, this is the first time we have hired a contractor.

In the past, we were always very fortunate to have my father around who has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to building. As he has gotten older, we have encouraged him to back off and enjoy retired life. Having him involved was always a huge help and Henry has leaned a ton from him. But on this one, it was time for him to take it easy.

Self Contracting

Self contracting means you are the one overseeing the project. You are in charge of everything including budgeting, getting permits, hiring the workers, getting inspections, and keeping everything organized and clean. It does seem a little overwhelming if you think about it, but we are proof it can be accomplished.

Over the years, being our own self contractor forced us to quickly learn lots about the building process. With Henry owning his own business and having a flexible schedule, we were able to devote the time and energy into each project. We learned what permits were needed, what was expected at each inspection, and even became familiar with lots of great sub contractors for each part of the build.

Henry and I also put lots of time into being hands on and doing some of the work ourselves. Not only were we saving from the overhead cost of not using a contractor, but were saving some on the actually labor cost along the way. At that point in our lives it was a way to get ahead and create instant equity.

I have to say that we have lots of memories over the years building houses, some good and some bad. While I do feel that we saved some money and learned lots about hard work, we will never get back those hours and years we were working instead of being with our family.

That is the major thing I always go back to. Was it worth the savings? I truly think this is a personal decision. I do believe with all the experience and savings, it has allowed us to have the platform and business we have today.

Using a Contractor

This time around we decided to hire a contractor. When using a contractor, he or she does everything from budget to making sure you are happy to all the in-betweens. The only thing you will be doing is picking everything out and showing your contractor your vision. Sounds a bit easier than the self contracting doesn’t it?

At this point of our lives, Henry and I felt that hiring a contractor was the best decision for us. We wanted to be able to devote our time to running our businesses and still have some family time. With our kids being older now, it seems like the years are going faster and we realize more than ever, you can’t get back that time.

We are also in a much better financial place this go around. This allowed us to spend the extra on hiring a contractor. A contractor can range from an added 15 to 25 percent of the total cost. Some say it’s worth every penny, and I can say we are quickly seeing it has been a much easier road than self contracting. There is still stress, but the process has been much more enjoyable!

So, with our current build we chose to hire my brother-in-law. This was a combination of us knowing he does amazing work, and we know we can trust him. Making sure to choose the right contractor for you will be the most important step if you go this route. Make sure to do your research so you feel comfortable with who you hire.

Which Route Should you Choose?

Which route is best for you? I personally think it depends on several different factors. If you have the extra money to spend on a contractor and feel that time is more than money, hands down, it is probably the easiest way to go. But, if you are willing to spend the extra time, some hard work, and want to save some money, I would say try your hand at self contracting. While it can be an added stress, it truly is rewarding in the end!

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