general contractor vs specialist

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maverick23xy
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general contractor vs specialist

Post by maverick23xy »

i am thinking about interior painting and refinishing floors. how much would the quality differ between hiring a general contractor to do to work versus a dedicated painter and floor specialist?
pshonore
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by pshonore »

maverick23xy wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:56 am i am thinking about interior painting and refinishing floors. how much would the quality differ between hiring a general contractor to do to work versus a dedicated painter and floor specialist?
Probably zero and the cost may increase by 20% (which is the typical GC markup)
humblecoder
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by humblecoder »

maverick23xy wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:56 am i am thinking about interior painting and refinishing floors. how much would the quality differ between hiring a general contractor to do to work versus a dedicated painter and floor specialist?
Why do you need a general contractor for such a straightforward job? What is your thinking?

A GC usually helps coordinate the work when you have a complicated remodel or construction job. If you are just having painting and floors done, having a GC coordinating that would be overkill of the highest order. All they would do is call up their painter subcontractor and their flooring subcontractor and tell them, "show up on Tuesday". And they'll charge you an extra 20% for making that phone call, pocket the money, and laugh at getting paid for such a simple job.

I'm sure with a little legwork you can find a good painter and flooring person and coordinate the work yourself without paying somebody to do that for you.
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Sandtrap
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by Sandtrap »

maverick23xy wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:56 am i am thinking about interior painting and refinishing floors. how much would the quality differ between hiring a general contractor to do to work versus a dedicated painter and floor specialist?
Licensed *****Reputable doing high level quality work****
Flooring contractor doing outstanding work
Painting contractor doing outstanding work

Or pay more for a general contractor
Hiring subs
Flooring contractor
Painting contractor

Or using his own crew who can do those trades “ok”

You don’t need a GC
Imho: get 3 estimates from licensed flooring contractors
Get 3 estimates from licensed painting contractors

For example:
We recently had a plumber repair a shower leak in the wall them called an excellent tile contractor to rip out and redo the shower.
Also had an excellent stucco contractor to redo the home in synthetic then an excellent painting contractor to do the painted portions.

Retired Commercial G.C. R/E Developer: Licensed 2 states.
J🌺
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
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stan1
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by stan1 »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 am
Licensed
Flooring contractor doing outstanding work
Painting contractor doing outstanding work
I know you know this, but a license is a minimal requirement and in no way ensures outstanding work.

Just like with a driver's license: there are millions of very bad drivers who keep their license because they haven't killed anyone (yet).

I'd get references from friends whose work I can see (in addition to hiring someone who is licensed).
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Sandtrap
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by Sandtrap »

stan1 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:08 am
Sandtrap wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 am
Licensed
Flooring contractor doing outstanding work
Painting contractor doing outstanding work
I know you know this, but a license is a minimal requirement and in no way ensures outstanding work.

Just like with a driver's license: there are millions of very bad drivers who keep their license because they haven't killed anyone (yet).

I'd get references from friends whose work I can see (in addition to hiring someone who is licensed).
Of course.
Good point,
Thanks :D

Licensed does not assume an outstanding contractor.

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Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HomeStretch
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by HomeStretch »

By “general contractor” do you mean someone who will sub out and coordinate the work for a fee or do you mean a contractor/handyman that does all types of work and will give you a quote on this?
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Sandtrap
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by Sandtrap »

HomeStretch wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:11 am By “general contractor” do you mean someone who will sub out and coordinate the work for a fee or do you mean a contractor/handyman that does all types of work and will give you a quote on this?
A licensed GC is able to oversee multiple sub licensed trades such as electric plumbing HVAC etc. Insurance is a must for a current license and it can be very high. He is liable for everything and everyone on site.
The requirements for a GC license can vary per state usually very high in highly unionized and regulated states such as California and Hawaii. But very very low in Arizona. Like that.
There can also be project valuation levels for various GC s depending on area. IE a commercial GC encompasses residential but not vs. or a General Engineering Contractor with an ABC status does high rises and structural like bridges.
A specific sub licensed contractor is for one trade IE HVAC and is not licensed to oversee multiple licensed trades. Insurance is a must to keep a current license. He is only liable for his part of a project.
A handyman jack of all trade is unlicensed and can only do certain work up to a specific valuation and must advertise this on his signage. Liability and insurance is a maybe.

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Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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chemocean
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by chemocean »

You will be paying the general contractor his markup to manage the specialist he/she usually works with, no matter how good they are.
Be you own general contractor. Get bids and references for each job have more control over the process and save money.

BTW: we will be in the same situation as the OP in the next year.
Didn't say if molding is finished or painted (same color as walls?)
If the painting and floors are in the same room, the sequence should probably be the following: 1) take off the molding, 2) paint, 2a) paint or refinish molding of the wall, 3) refinish floors, 4) replace molding. The refinisher should probably be the one to remove and replace the molding. But your are going to have to pay extra for travel time to remove the molding for the painting. For the molding, I was told to pull the nails through and then use a nail one size bigger when replacing. The nail holes will need to be puttied or painted.

With refinishing, you are going to need movers to empty the rooms. OP didn't mention how extensive the job is (how many room and furniture be moved from one room to the other) or everything out to the garage. For refinishing the floor, I would get references from your friends that had the work done before. You will probably find that a quality refinisher with a reasonable price will emerge.

The painting contractor is a lot iffier. I would stay away from the contractors that advertise widely in local newspapers and mail index card packets. Their bids will probably he higher because of their overhead. Many lower cost painting contractors often hire temporary sub-contractors of varying skills (not employees- think college students and new arrivals to the us). If the molding is off, the only issue requiring painting skill is the lines between different colors (usually at the wall-ceiling line).
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maverick23xy
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by maverick23xy »

thank you for all the replies. amazing stuff.

you know its a tricky situation. its my fathers in laws general contractor/handyman. dont know if that distinction matters or is just semantics. its a sizeable house so im assuming he would need a lot of help to do all the work if we end up using him. im certain one man cant do it all.

honestly if it were me. i would just hire my own dedicated painter. flooring company etc.

many of the ceilings do have moldings. i do risk some family drama if i tell the FIL i want to use my own people.

there are a few odd jobs he can help us with i imagine such as caulking bathrooms and putting up a temporary wall/door in one room. but flooring and painting. im kind of picky and i want to make sure im getting a high quality job done.

tough spot
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maverick23xy
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by maverick23xy »

thank you for all the replies. amazing stuff.

you know its a tricky situation. its my fathers in laws general contractor/handyman. dont know if that distinction matters or is just semantics. its a sizeable house so im assuming he would need a lot of help to do all the work if we end up using him. im certain one man cant do it all.

honestly if it were me. i would just hire my own dedicated painter. flooring company etc.

many of the ceilings do have moldings. i do risk some family drama if i tell the FIL i want to use my own people.

there are a few odd jobs he can help us with i imagine such as caulking bathrooms and putting up a temporary wall/door in one room. but flooring and painting. im kind of picky and i want to make sure im getting a high quality job done.

tough spot
humblecoder
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by humblecoder »

maverick23xy wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:07 pm
....

you know its a tricky situation. its my fathers in laws general contractor/handyman. dont know if that distinction matters or is just semantics. its a sizeable house so im assuming he would need a lot of help to do all the work if we end up using him. im certain one man cant do it all.

....

there are a few odd jobs he can help us with i imagine such as caulking bathrooms and putting up a temporary wall/door in one room. but flooring and painting. im kind of picky and i want to make sure im getting a high quality job done.
I honestly think part of the confusion is your misunderstanding of the terms "general contractor" and "handyman". You seem to be using the terms interchangeable when they mean two different things.

As I mentioned in my post above a general contractor is sort of like a "project manager". When you have a big construction or remodeling project, you will hire a general contractor to coordinate all of the moving parts of the project. They will coordinate the hiring and scheduling of the various subcontractor specialists who are needed to complete a complex job. Such a big job requires somebody to orchestrate all of the moving parts.

A handyman, on the other hand, is somebody who is skilled in a wide range of home improvement areas. They might know how to do some painting, some carpentry, some basic electrical and plumbing. They are the proverbial "jack of all trades", although they might have certain specialties that they know more about than others. Generally, people will hire a handyman for various minor home repairs or odd jobs.

I think where you are running into trouble is that you are using the term "general contractor" to mean "handyman", probably because the former has the work "general" in it. However, a "general contractor" and a "handyman" are two different things. They are not synonymous.

Now it is possible that a general contractor also has handyman skills that they have picked up over the years. But that still doesn't make the terms synonymous,. That's like saying that plumber and carpenter mean the same thing just because your plumber also happens to be able to do some basic carpentry.

I think you can see from the answers, people are taking your term "general contractor" literally and answering based upon the common usage of that term, but I don't think that's what you mean.

What you really mean to ask, I think, is "should I hire a generalist/handyman to do a painting and floor refinishing job vs a specialist". I think if you rephrase your question that way, you will get much better quality answers, assuming that is what you mean. I don't want to put words in your mouth.

My answer is:
- General Contractor - no absolutely not. Complete waste of money in your case.

- Handyman/Generalist - maybe. It, of course, depends upon the complexity of the job and the skill level of the Handyman. For basic painting, I would be inclined to trust a handyman with that job. I've done painting myself and it isn't particularly complicated if you do the proper prep and pay attention to details. For refinishing floors, again, not brain bending work if you pay attention to the details. However, I don't know the complexity of your requirements. If there is something that you think will be particularly tricky about your job, then it might make sense to go with a specialist.
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Re: general contractor vs specialist

Post by Californiastate »

A painting contractor would have more access to painters. We had our place painted some years back. We took bids and went with a local licensed company with workers compensation. He brought in 10 painters the first day to get it done quickly. Some of those painters were independent contractors working for the painting contractor. A handyman might not even be licensed let alone have workers compensation. He also wouldn’t necessarily have access to a lot of painters. Bottom line, it’s your money, time and liability.
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