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Do I need a
General Contractor?

If you’re thinking about getting new cabinetry you’re probably wondering if you need a contractor and how to find a great one.

A General Contractor is an experienced professional charged with supervising every aspect of a renovation or remodeling project. Some of their responsibilities include securing work permits, handling supply deliveries, hiring and scheduling subcontractors such as electricians or plumbers, scheduling each aspect of the project, and most importantly, guiding you through your part of the process.

Do I Need a Contractor?

Whether or not you need a contractor can depend on a number of factors such as:

  • What’s the scope of work?
  • Do you, your family, or friends have experience and skills that can apply to the project?
  • Is it something that needs permitted?
  • Will you need to have architectural drawings drawn up?
  • Are you in need of several different trades on the project?
  • Do you have experience facilitating this kind of project?
  • Do you have time to manage all aspects of the project?

If you’re planning to replace your cabinetry and countertops without moving any appliances the following is the minimum that needs to happen:

  1. Shop for and purchase cabinetry, countertops, sinks, faucets, accessories, backsplash, appliances etc.
  2. Schedule deliveries of supplies, schedule appropriate tradespeople
  3. Unhook all plumbing
  4. Unhook/unplug and remove all appliances
  5. Removal of countertops
  6. Removal of cabinetry
  7. Installation of cabinetry – must be plumb, square and level
  8. Installation of pulls/knobs, cabinetry accessories, adjustment of drawers and doors
  9. Installation of countertops
  10. Installation of backsplash
  11. Installation of sink (may be done by countertop fabricator depending on sink and material)
  12. Plumbing
  13. Installation and hookup of all appliances

This is assuming you’re not moving any appliance locations, assuming you don’t need to repair, replace or patch flooring, assuming you don’t find a surprise leak, unsafe electrical, a hole, or other surprise that will require a professional. You might have a top molding that needs scribed to the ceiling, your walls may be really weird and require a lot of shimming and creativity. So long story short, what may seem like a quick remove and replace could go really smoothly or turn into something big. So, is this all something you can facilitate or do you need a professional? Most of our clients choose to hire a contractor.

Benefits of Hiring a Contractor

Save money and time- Although hiring a contractor can feel expensive at times, remember you’re hiring an expert in their field. Their job is to know the ins and outs of remodeling and because of that they can avoid costly mistakes that oftentimes happen when you try to go it alone. You don’t know what you don’t know but you’ll definitely learn if you’re fined by your local jurisdiction, if you’ve timed installations incorrectly and they have to be repeated, or if there is an accident.

They are Project Management Pros! – They understand that LVT flooring typically gets installed after cabinets and whether or not panels and toe kick will be installed before the flooring and a shoe molding will be applied or those items will be installed after flooring. They are used to juggling subs, scheduling inspections weeks in advance and other time sensitive items.

Benefit from established relationships- Contractors typically have established working relationships with subcontractors and suppliers. They know which are good quality and reliable and they know which ones to stay away from. Additionally, because of these relationships contractors often benefit from better pricing or preferred scheduling which can save you money and time.

Peace of Mind- Hiring a contractor gives you peace of mind. Contractors take on a lot of responsibility and liability with each project. An experienced, licensed, and insured contractor will ensure that rules, regulations, building codes, and safety requirements are all being followed. They will ensure any subcontractors or employees are licensed and bonded and/or covered by workers compensation. Your contractor will understand local codes so your home will be safe, and inspections will be easily passed.

One and Done- Finally, it will be done once, and it will be done correctly. Hiring a licensed, bonded, and experienced contractor will result in a completed project whereas doing it yourself or hiring someone who isn’t licensed bonded, or experienced may result in you having to hire someone to redo everything and you don’t want to pay for something twice.

How to Find a General Contractor

Now that you know you might need a general contractor for your project how do you find a good one?

Referrals- Did a neighbor just complete a renovation? Ask them how it went and for a referral if it went smoothly. We have a list of General Contractors that we’ve worked with for years and would trust in our own homes, we often share those names with our clients. Important! Only get referrals from people who have experience working with that contractor, just because someone knows a contractor doesn’t mean they have experienced their craftsmanship, quality of work, integrity, etc. If you don’t know anyone to ask, check out your local Master Builders website. Olympia Master Builders has a database of general contractors and suppliers, you can find it at their website at Olympia Master Builders | Building Strong Communities (omb.org) or swing by our store for a Hire a Pro guide.

Meet with multiple– Request bids from at least 3 contractors. Have them come to your home to checkout the project, meet you face to face and have a conversation. Ask for references if you haven’t referred directly to them. Ask for their contractor’s license number and request a bid in writing. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the contractor, not all personalities mesh well together.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions- It’s is vital that you are able to have good communication with your contractor so why not start that in the interview phase? It’s important to ask any question you have about the project but also about their experience. Are they local? How long have they been in business? What are they licensed to do? Do they belong to any trade associations? Have they completed projects like this before?

Check their license and insurance- Use their license number to look up their license and insurance on WA State Labor and Industries website www.lni.wa.gov or by calling them at (800) 647-0982. You can find out of their license is in good standing, if their bonded and insured. You can find out if they have a history of safety violations or not.

Examine bids and contracts carefully- If you receive a bid that’s significantly lower than others you should question that. Either they are missing things that will come up later or their quality of their products and subs are significantly lower than the other bids.

Utilize local resources- Utilizing local trade organizations and government agencies can be very beneficial to homeowners who are new to remodeling or building. Olympia Master Builders actually encompasses several counties in Washington including Pierce, Mason, Grays Harbor, Lewis, as well as Thurston County. The Building Industry Association of WA, local Chambers of Commerce and the WA State Department of Labor and Industries are all great resources for you. Of course, established suppliers such as Cabinets by Trivonna can provide great referrals.

Deciding to remodel your home is a big step so finding a contractor should be taken as seriously. Like every industry there are individuals with limited to know experience who sometimes get in over their heads, you don’t want to be a part of that experience. Feel free to reach out to our team if we can assist with referrals or check out the resources we’ve listed here. We can’t wait to hear how it goes!