The Pitfalls of Being Your Own General Contractor

The Pitfalls of Being Your Own General Contractor: Why It’s Best to Leave It to the Professionals

Introduction: The pitfalls of being your own general contractor

When undertaking a major construction or renovation project, such as building your dream home or remodeling an existing home, the idea of becoming your own general contractor may seem appealing. The prospect of saving money and having complete control over every aspect of the project can be enticing. However, as seasoned experts in the construction industry will tell you, the role of a general contractor is a complex and demanding one that requires experience, skill, and a vast network of resources. In this article, we explore the pitfalls of acting as your own general contractor and the benefits of entrusting this critical role to a professional.

1. Lack of Experience:

One of the most significant drawbacks of trying to act as your own general contractor is the lack of experience in the construction industry. General contractors typically have years of experience, dealing with a wide range of projects, managing subcontractors, and navigating various challenges that may arise during construction. Without this experience, you may find yourself overwhelmed, leading to costly mistakes, project delays, and a diminished quality of work.

2. Time Management Challenges:

Successfully managing a construction project requires exceptional time management skills. A general contractor must coordinate and schedule various tasks, arrange for the timely delivery of materials, and ensure that subcontractors work in harmony. If you lack the necessary experience and skills, it is easy to underestimate the time needed for each task, leading to significant delays and frustration.

3. Cost Overruns:

One of the primary reasons people consider becoming their own general contractor is the belief that it will save money. However, in reality, the lack of industry knowledge may lead to budget miscalculations, overspending on materials, and unforeseen expenses arising from mistakes or delays. A professional general contractor’s expertise lies in accurately estimating costs and efficiently managing the project to keep expenses under control.

4. Subcontractor Management:

Coordinating various subcontractors, such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and painters, is a crucial aspect of any construction project. A general contractor has established relationships with reliable subcontractors, which helps ensure the work is completed on time and up to the required standards. Attempting to manage subcontractors yourself may result in unqualified or unreliable workers, leading to shoddy workmanship and the need for costly rework.

5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

The construction industry is heavily regulated, with various permits, licenses, and building codes to adhere to. A professional general contractor is well-versed in these legal requirements and knows how to navigate the complexities, securing the necessary permits and ensuring the project complies with all regulations. Failure to comply with the law can lead to serious consequences, including fines, work stoppage, or even legal action.

6. Stress and Burnout:

Acting as your own general contractor is a daunting responsibility that demands your time, energy, and focus. The stress of managing a construction project, especially if it’s your first time, can quickly lead to burnout. This could negatively impact your health, relationships, and overall well-being.


While the idea of being your own general contractor might be tempting, the risks and challenges involved should not be underestimated. A construction project is a significant investment, and entrusting it to a professional general contractor with expertise and experience is crucial for its success. By doing so, you not only ensure a smooth and efficient project but also gain peace of mind knowing that your dream home or renovation project is in the hands of skilled professionals.