We are in the process of renovating one of our two bathrooms with a general contractor. I'm learning a lot through this experience, and am thinking about acting as my own general contractor for the second bathroom.

Seems like it would involve hiring and coordinating a plumber to demo and install a new tub, an electrician to put in new lights etc., and a tiler/handyman to finish up the floor, walls, and fixtures.

I'm wondering if anyone has done this, and has words of wisdom to share? Will I be biting off more than I can chew?

The main reason I'm thinking about this is that I realized the general contractor is charging a huge markup. The plumber told me that he was charging $1000 for demo and new tub installation, which is not even 10% of our quote. Are there some costs that I am missing?

  • Welcome. Unfortunately you're asking some pretty broad questions here, which don't fit our format well. We're not a discussion forum. Learn more
    – isherwood
    Jan 24 '19 at 19:23
  • I suggest searching for existing resources online, such as DIY guides and blogs from folks who have done this type of thing. Many members here have, but the question requires lengthy and involved answers, which is expressly discouraged.
    – isherwood
    Jan 24 '19 at 19:25
  • A GC might upcharge 30-50% for a small project like that. It's not worth doing the job otherwise, since any complications can quickly wipe out profits. Once you add up your plumber, electrician, drywaller, flooring installer, carpenter, etc. you'll see that the margin isn't that big. The plumber's role is actually a fairly small one.
    – isherwood
    Jan 24 '19 at 19:27
  • Lotsa resources
    – isherwood
    Jan 24 '19 at 19:30

I'm not a professional in the line of work so there may be some I'm missing and others may have better advice. I've been my own general contractor before and subcontracted work before. It takes patience and lots of planning. Know your stuff of what needs to be done and the order that they need to be in. Be sure you plan stuff accordingly so that the day the drywallers arrive isn't also the day the plumber/electrician are doing their bit. Plumber/electrican can generally work almost at the same time if there is ample room.

If you want to save, you do all the demo and pull the permits. If the contractors can just come in to do their work immediately then things are generally cheaper and faster.

Just get your plans inline so that when you speak with the other contractors you can tell them what you want and answer any questions they may have. Also be open to ideas and advice from them and don't be afraid to fire them and/or stop work if you need to. Best to get it right the first time and have a good working relationship. Speak with all the subcontractors before the work starts to find those you want to hire. Ask when they can come and how long they expect it take. Be flexible with the schedule. They generally are working multiple jobs at the same time so you need to be able to adjust.

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