You don’t want this job.
This work is not for the faint of heart.
As a matter of fact, I’m not really sure how many of them are able to stay in business or keep from losing their mind.
I think general contractors get such a bad rap.
Everyone thinks these guys make lots of money for doing almost nothing and that they are always out to cheat the homeowner in some way.
That is terribly unfair even though I know there are some bad ones out there. Yes, of course, there are some bad ones. I’m not talking about them here. And, of course, everyone makes mistakes. Even great ones.
I mean— I’ve heard it all:
Everyone thinks they can do this job and do it better than their contractor. I've even thought that.
They think they can just pick up the phone, snap their fingers, and get their job done more efficiently and cheaper than the guy they’re paying. If they only had the phone numbers of all his subs! Yeah, if only they had the subs. (And THAT is why you hire a general contractor).
I say... Just do it then! Do it and see. Do it 10 or 12 times and just see how much profit you make and how much hair you have left.
Just see how high those sub-contractors jump every time you call. Just see how difficult it is to please a client wanting perfection. Just see how impossible it is not to drain the bank account just to get something finished on a job. And just see how one small mistake by one sub can impact the three other subs that come after him, and how that can blow a budget and schedule all to heck.
I’m telling you this because you really should give your contractor some respect.
A general contractor needs to be a mediator, a psychologist, a handyman, an accountant, a salesman, a negotiator, an engineer, a problem-solver, he needs to be able to read and understand a set of drawings, know the codes and build a house! And I know we could add to this list.
Above all, he needs to be a man. And I don’t mean a contractor can’t be a woman. I mean, he or she needs to have the guts to stand up to a homeowner and not let them push him around.
Again, trust me...
If you think you’ve got a good contractor because he lets you manipulate him and you can kind of boss him around and get him to redo everything or eat a bunch of work or come down on his prices, then you’re wrong.
Because if he’ll let you walk all over him, it’s likely his subs will walk all over him too. And if there needs to be one person in charge, running your job, getting some respect, being the boss...it needs to be him. Or her.
If you think those subs really care about you personally or your project, well again, you're probably wrong. After your job is done, they will likely never see you again.
They care about their relationship with their general contractor and they care if they’ll get more work from him the next time or the next. That’s who they need to please.
And if they think they can slip some shoddy work by a weak contractor, they will. Because really, THEY want to be the man. So, if you have the man (or woman), the boss, working for you, you don't have to worry. He'll call them out and make them redo. Or they'll do it right the first time because they know what the boss expects.
So, the next time you want to negotiate $100 off some price of his, ask yourself this.
“Is it really necessary for me to take that $100 profit out of his pocket? Is it really necessary in the whole scheme of things for me to keep $100 to spend at Starbucks when just the act of negotiating this screams to my contractor, I don’t trust you. You’re trying to cheat me. That $100 is more important to me than your business, your work, your profit that you’ve factored into my job that you need to do business."
It also says—loudly, btw—”If I can get $100 out of you now, I’m going to try for $1000 next week.”
After seeing what these guys go through first hand and having hired painters and carpenters and flooring guys, etc. over the years myself, I’m telling you, this is not an easy job.
It's a good idea to show them a little respect. And trust them just a little bit.
(Just my humble opinion.)