Home Building Contractor
“We just have zero experience in building a home, ” Elizabeth Mack says. “We just needed somebody who knew what they were doing and was capable.”
Whether it’s a large custom build or a small remodeling project, a general contractor can manage all aspects of the job — from hiring and paying subcontractors for the various aspects of the construction, to securing all building permits and code inspections. A general contractor typically will charge a flat fee or the percentage of the cost of labor and materials for a job, which can range between 10 and 25 percent, depending on the scope of the job.
“People want somebody that can take care of it, ” says Mark Rowe, of Rowe & Campbell, a general construction company in Indianapolis. “Either they’re working, they don’t have the time or the effort they want to put into it. They just want to come home and know it’s moving along and is being done correctly.”
Most GCs have specific subcontractors they work with on a regular basis.
“With our subcontractors, basically we’re their repeat clients year after year, so we get some preferences from them in pricing and timely scheduling, ” Rowe says. “A general contractor has been through a lot of different projects, so that reinforces the experience that they’ve gained. And having worked with many suppliers and subcontractors, we’ve also weeded out any of those that haven’t performed because a good general contractor is sometimes as good as his subs and suppliers.”
Rowe says his company works within a client’s budget and provides estimates at each phase of a project so there are no surprises along the way, but it’s really up to the homeowners as to just how involved they want to be in a project.
“It depends on how hands on they want to be; how much of the process they’ve gone through before and how much time they have to spend on it, ” Rowe says. “If somebody wants to select their faucets, plumbing fixtures and lighting, we’ll have an allowance for that work, they can pick it out and it just goes against the allowance. Or they may have subcontractors they prefer. With that, we would typically prequalify them, even if they’ve worked with them, to make sure they have the ability to do the work when we need it done and they have the proper insurance.”