One of the most important services we provide is assisting clients to choose their contractor for their project. I always recommend a general contractor – one who will coordinate all the tradespeople needed for your project. Choosing the right general contractor for you and your budget are key to a successful project.
So what is out there? After years of experience I have boiled it down to three basic types.
The Guy in a Truck
This is one person who does it all. They likely have relationships with specialty trades (electricians and plumbers) but may take on light specialty trade tasks and do all other work themselves. This can be the most economical type and there are certainly wonderful people like this out there, but they are hard to find. These are best used when your project is small, and when they have come highly recommended by someone you trust that has completed a similar project as yours. Make sure and verify insurance as well. Pros – can be the least expensive and willing to work without detailed drawings. Cons – we have seen this type of job go badly, including contractors disappearing with no word for lengths of time or forever! Their bids can also be less predictable as they can vary based on how busy they are.
The Smaller, Well-established Firm
This type of firm still has the company owner likely completing a lot of the work, but they will leave the specialty trades to the experts and have well-established relationships –with the electricians, plumber, etc. They may also have a dedicated finish carpenter (the one who installs the cabinets and all the fine trim and details) who is talented and skilled. They do not have a large office staff behind them or a separate foreman but can achieve a wonderful result at a lower price. Pros – less expensive and personal hands-on service. Cons – can be difficult to get on their schedule and they can be pulled to other jobs resulting in longer timelines. They also rarely provide services like purchasing.
The Larger Full-service Firm
This type of firm provides a higher level of service due to their larger staff and established procedures. The owner won’t be picking up a hammer but will have brought together a team of project managers and tradespeople to ensure a smooth project. They offer purchasing services, quality control, and more thorough onsite management. They often have well-established vendor relationships. Their larger staff allows them to do many projects at once making it easier to get on their schedules. Pros – high level of service and less involvement by you, breadth of services, ease of scheduling. Cons – higher priced.
Now that you understand the basic types of general contracting firms available, we can assist you in evaluating who is the best fit for you.
The second important piece of information for a well-chosen contractor is to give clear direction to your bidders by providing them with professional drawings of your design to help ensure you are comparing apples to apples. That’s where we come in! We look forward to designing your luxury room, assisting you with choosing your contractor, and bringing you the home of your dreams!
Amber Golob Interiors harnesses timeless aesthetics, structure and beauty amid elegance as one of Chicago's premier luxury interior designers. An expert on kitchens and bathrooms, her work embodies modern trends, allowing your life to be rediscovered through intimate definitions of your style.
Live in Chicago or the North Shore?
Schedule a consultation with luxury interior designer, Amber Golob, by contacting her at Amber@AmberGolob.com or calling 773-960-0498.
Live your luxury! Written by Amber Golob and Edited by Kyle Thomas.