Fraud Blocker
KHB Construction Kitchen and bathroom remodeling logo
KHB Construction Kitchen and bathroom remodeling logo

Is Hiring A General Contractor A Good Idea?

General contractors in Modesto can offer their clients a long list of services and expertise in order to improve a home or business space for them. These talented individuals often bring teams full of industry professionals to the job site to instantly upgrade or redesign a space, but that doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for your project.

Sometimes going with a general contractor might not be the best approach for your renovations. In this article, we will explore when working with a general contractor probably isn’t the best option for your home improvement project.

What is a General Contractor?

A general licensed contractor is an individual who oversees a team of industry professionals that are focused on custom builds for your property. When comparing a handyman vs a general contractor, the contractors manage construction sites, work directly with vendors, manage a payment schedule, and in general, make sure that your home renovations are exactly what you want to see. With industry experience and expertise, your general contractor can make sure that your final renovation is the best that can be offered.

What You Need To Know Before Working With A General Contractor

Every project is different—and the homeowners behind these projects are all different too. When you take the time to determine whether or not you want to work with general licensed contractors, you will want to consider what they really offer and what you have to offer instead.

Let’s explore some of the reasons that you might not need general local contractors at all.

1. You Might Have The Experience

By now, most of us know and understand that the DIY trend is taking the world by storm. While there is a fair bit of controversy surrounding DIY activities, the fact is that sometimes you really can do it yourself if you are willing to learn. If you have the skills that are necessary to tackle a big renovation project, you might just find that you would rather do the entire project yourself.

Contractors and their teams rely on education and experience to bring about those mind-blowing renovations, but we will be the first to remind you that we learned at some point ourselves. We aren’t all born with the knowledge that a contractor carries. We learn to do it, and there are some things that the average person can safely learn how to do as well if they are comfortable.

For some homeowners, DIY work can be a bit of a middle ground. Some people will take on the tasks that they know they can handle, then work with properly licensed contractors to handle some of the more difficult parts like plumbing or electrical work. This can allow you to handle a good portion of the work yourself, then outsource the kind of tasks that might be too difficult or expensive to carry out on your own.

Man using drill on a wood board, DIY project for home renovation

2. You Can Make Your Own Schedule

Time is a huge factor when it comes to remodels, so if you have a lot of it, you might be able to save some money and cut down on estimated costs. It takes a lot of time and effort to manage different teams with different trades. As general contractors in Modesto, we usually keep this kind of work in-house if we can—and it is still a pain to manage the scheduling for different teams. If you choose to take on the role of being your own general contractor, you will be responsible for managing and scheduling these teams to ensure that everything works out.

Before you sign up to start directing your own teams, be sure to determine how much work is actually involved—and how many teams you actually need to do it correctly. For reference, the average kitchen or bathroom remodel can involve upwards of 9 different trades in total. This means that you might be responsible for scheduling and overseeing up to 9 teams for your one project. More importantly, a lot of these teams need to work in a specific order to effectively complete home improvement projects.

3. You Don’t Need A Clear Timeline

Your timeline is one of the biggest factors that will determine whether or not you truly need to work with a general contractor. If you don’t mind how long a project will take, you will find that the needs for a general contractor aren’t truly there as long as you are willing to step up and take on a few roles yourself. A big benefit of working with a general contractor is that you can almost guarantee that the work will be done quickly and by a specific deadline. If you don’t have that need, you might be able to take on the challenge yourself.

An open timeline with no payment schedules allows you to explore what managing the project and vendors will be like. Unfortunately, it generally doesn’t work well for major renovations if you are actually living on the property. Unless you have a spare kitchen or an abundance of bathrooms, you might find yourself getting annoyed when the renovations take longer because you are working with completely different teams.

The good news is that if you do have an open timeline, you really can embrace a wonderful learning opportunity. Some people choose this approach simply to learn more about the process and get the experience, particularly if you are looking to start flipping homes without hiring a contractor and having a signed contract. Of course, if you want a quick and easy renovation, several contractors are always just one phone call away.

Interior of a room being renovated, bare walls, materials, and working tools

4. You can Save More Money

Most of us like saving money and hate to feel like we are overpaying. While it is pretty clear why people work with general contractors, some people just flat-out do not like the pricing that comes with working with a general contractor—and there is a reason for it. With a general contractor, you will always end up paying a markup on everything that you do. Most contractors have liability insurance coverage or a home warranty for the renovation, and homeowners feel comforted by that.

A lot of people hear the term “markup” and assume that it is inherently bad. We look at a markup and think about stores that are overcharging for products and services—and that is frustrating. But, it isn’t the same as the markup that you might expect while working with a general contractor.

The markup that comes with a general contractor is composed of two main focuses: payment and guarantee. A part of the markup goes directly to overhead costs like paying the workers for their services, keeping the office running, and maintaining the tools that allow us to do our work. In fact, a big contributing factor to your costs is actually directly returned to you in the form of the supplies that you choose— and our markup exists outside of this.

Beyond the down payment, that markup also comes with a guarantee. The markup means that we can guarantee our services if something goes wrong. While we always put our best foot forward and provide exceptional service, it is possible that after the work is done, you might find a crack in a piece of tile or a countertop. With our markup, we are able to guarantee that if there is a product failure, we can come back and fix it at no additional cost.

5. You Have More Control Over The Project

Some people love to be in control, and few people know and understand that better than a general contractor. You don’t end up working as a general contractor if you don’t like leadership and being in control of a lot of moving pieces. But, these traits aren’t specific to general contractors. You might have them too, and it might be a good reason to avoid working with a general contractor.

We understand that having a strange team of contractors in your home can feel a bit invasive, and it can even be a little unnerving. Watching someone rip apart a piece of your home and hoping that they put it back together correctly is a fairly significant exercise in trust—and that just isn’t for everyone. If you are the kind of person who constantly needs to be in control, it might be better to take on the task yourself.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in control of a site, but it might not mix well with a general contractor. If your team feels like they are being micromanaged or that you are slowing down their progress, it can create a conflict. Contractors have—and do—walk off job sites all the time because of the behavior of homeowners. Sometimes the best option is just to stay in control of yourself the entire time if you want the right person for your home renovation.


Home renovations are exciting, and there are a lot of ways to see them through. A general contractor can make the process easier and might offer you a more succinct schedule, but you might not need that. Before you make the decision to work with a contractor or manage your site yourself, be sure to consider what really comes with both options.

Plenty of people oversee their own renovations, but the ones that go in unprepared can end up paying more to a contractor when things don’t work out. Whether you can tackle the job on your own or you need a contractor to help you out, feel free to find the solution that feels best for you.