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Does being my own general make sense?

10 years ago

Hi all,

My questions never end and your patience with them is incredible.

We're now to the point of deciding between using a general or subbing our house ourselves. I've encountered a number of subs who insist this is a good way to go, that they would give me their discounts, etc. (Biased sources, I know.) But I'm also friends with the manager of a contractor desk at a big box store w/ an outdoor lumberyard who works with owner-builders routinely, and who thinks this subbing out one's own home would work pretty well.

I'm no construction professional, but I've done just about every part of a construction, from framing, plumbing, wiring, flooring, etc. My parents built most of their own house and were their own generals on another house a couple years ago.

If I were to sub, I know that we would loose out on some efficiency and a general's discount with subs and suppliers, but of course I would save on the general's cut. I was also planning on doing some of the work myself--I can do a good job roofing, siding, painting, installing the laminate and vinyl flooring, hanging cabinets, etc., and I have a decent number of family and friends who would work for short periods for pizza and beer. I wouldn't want to do much else, such as framing or drywall, because I think I don't think I could do a professional job.

For background, this is going to be a relatively inexpensive house with lower-grade finishes--for my very simple 2,200 square feet two story house, I've received quotes between $175k and $190k from generals. The materials, if I bought everything I could at the above-mentioned big box store, would come out to about $75k, not including labor, foundation and flatwork, and hvac. Of course, without knowing my market, this probably doesn't tell you much.

Maybe this is an unanswerable question, but I'd love to hear any thoughts on whether I should get a GC or do it myself.

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