11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Playing general contractor to save money

Playing general contractor to save money

It’s tempting to act as your own construction manager and general contractor on a remodeling project and to choose individual contractors for each trade.

But while you could save 10% of the project cost up front, the work might be poorly coordinated, take longer and have cost overruns, says John Salat, a licensed architect in Orange County, California.

You also have to factor in the cost of your own time and energy.

A better strategy is to first hire an architect, then hire a general contractor who subcontracts work out to specialists. Subcontractors have a greater incentive to do their best work under a general contractor because it means getting repeat business, Salat says.

The architect’s designs will incur an extra cost up front, but they will help you get competing bids from different contractors who will each base their estimates on the same scope of work.

That makes it easier to compare bids and potentially lowers construction costs and the overall project cost.

The architect can also serve as an extra pair of expert eyes to notice issues that may arise during construction.