Pros and Cons of Hiring a Basement Contractor Vs. DIY Basement Remodeling
Let’s say your daughter is getting married in the coming year. Among the many decisions to be made and expenses to budget is the wedding cake. After some thought, you decide to make it yourself. “I make delicious homemade cakes, I enjoy the creative aspect of the challenge, and we can save hundreds of dollars if I do it myself!” As the day looms ever closer, however, you begin to consider the scope of the project you’ve undertaken. Do you have the right equipment–large enough pans, cooling racks, and cake plates? How many recipes will you have to make to accommodate all of the wedding guests, and how will you transport such a large cake to the venue?…. Suddenly, the money you are saving by taking on the responsibility of making the wedding cake begins to feel like less of a bonus and more of a burden.
Such may also be the case with many DIY projects in your home. It’s energizing to be inspired by all those Instagram Influencers with their glossy fix-and-flips. Before you strap on the tool belt and don safety goggles, however, make sure that you’re up for the challenges of being your own general contractor.
Advantages of DIY Basement Remodeling
Topping the list of advantages of serving as your own general contractor (GC) is the money you may save in doing so. Typically, a general contractor’s fee range from 20% – 25% of the overall job cost. The GC manages the various trades required to complete a construction project, from start to finish. This includes everything from initially communicating the scope of work, to creating, communicating, and adjusting (when necessary) the work schedule, the management and payment of invoices, and the possible ordering and administration of job supplies and equipment. The role of GC is not one to be taken lightly, and–while it may also afford you more control over the job–it also lays more responsibility at your feet, as both tradespeople and municipal inspectors will look to you to make important decisions and answer questions relating to the project.
Disadvantages of DIY Basement Remodeling
As in the wedding cake scenario above, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of taking on a DIY basement finish–preferably before you’re in over your head. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have enough experience to capably take on a basement finish project–will I be able to effectively communicate with all trades involved, and ask and answer questions with confidence?
- Do I have a network of trades, or associates who can put me in touch with reputable trades? Do I know I can trust these vendors to be reliable, bonded and insured, and well qualified–and am I comfortable having them in my home?
- Do I have the time necessary to manage the project? Do I have a realistic expectation of how much of my time will be required each day to oversee the job and keep it on schedule?
- Do I have at least a rudimentary knowledge and/or familiarity with local building codes and requirements? Do I know what’s involved in pulling a building permit, or calling for the various inspections that are required throughout the course of the project?
- How much do I know about the various types of materials that will be used in my basement; not just flooring and finishes–but drywall, insulation, and plumbing pipes? Will I be able to recognize and distinguish quality materials and workmanship from shoddy?
- Depending on how much of the job I plan on doing myself, do I have the required tools, or will I have to purchase or rent equipment?