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What is a General Contractor and what should I expect from them once I hire one?
A General Contractor manages the entire remodeling project for you, large or small. They oversee the sub-contractor hiring process. The subcontractors specialize in the trade work that necessary to complete the renovation project.
The General Contractor will create a written quote for your project. The quote is a price estimate of the project. They may offer you:
- A fixed price proposal, which is a set price for the entire project
- A cost plus price, which guarantees the fees for the contractor's services, but not the cost of materials or finishes
- An estimate, which is an idea of the cost for completing the project, but the final cost is not set in stone
After deliberation, the homeowner should sign a detailed contract with the General Contractor. Onwards, the General Contractor can share blueprints with the homeowner. Homeowners are allowed to sign off on the blueprints, or ask for changes before anything is finalized. The General Contractor will need to issue permits if necessary.
How much does a General Contractor charge?
General contractors will add a fee in addition to the project price, additional to the sub-contractor fees. Some contractors charge a flat fee, some charge a percent fee. It's difficult to estimate a general flat fee, since this is project contingent. Homeowners should expect an additional fee between 5% - 18%. One contractor may only charge this percent fee on labour and time. Another may include the cost of materials. Make sure that you are aware of what is included in the GC fee.
Is this a DIY project?
A homeowner could be their own General Contractor for a renovation. This could reduce the price of the renovation. However, this job is not an easy one. If a homeowner is willing to take it on, then they are to find each individual sub-contractor on their own. They will have to take on the responsibilities of project management, workflow, permits, scheduling, and communication.
Your contract should outline communication updates and milestone dates. Included in this should be payment dates related to project progress. Always make sure that payments are tied to progress on your project.
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