Do You Need a Builder or a General Contractor? What is the Difference?
Are you getting ready to grow your business with a building project? Your friends and colleagues have recommended various contractors and builders, but which one should you choose? First, you need to understand what the different types of companies bring to the table. Use the following criteria to help you decide if you need a general contractor or a builder to help make your dreams come true.
A Builder Works within Their Own Capabilities
Whether you are talking about building a house by the lake or developing an abandoned shopping center, a builder will be able to do the job. But they may only handle the actual construction. You may be left to find an electrician, plumber, painter, and landscaper. You will serve as the coordinator that schedules when each trade needs to show up to accomplish the next part of the project. A builder will quote you a lower price, but you will spend that extra money on the various subcontractors needed to finish the job.
A General Contractor Sources Everybody that Your Project Needs
While the general contractor will not have a toolbox in their office, they serve as the networking hub for all the tradespeople and equipment required to complete any size construction project. They may have a crew and heavy trucks needed to accomplish most of the actual work, but they also maintain relationships with support businesses to rapidly finish out their jobs. You pay a single check to the general contractor and they pay each of the trades in turn.
Spending Time Supervising the Site or Getting a Weekly Update
The real difference between working with a builder and a general contractor is the free time left to you. If you hire the builder, all your time will be spent at the job site directing workers, scheduling, inspecting, and applying for permits. When you hire the general contractor, you may make a weekly visit to the project, sit in on construction meetings, and receive updates while you are out at the golf course.
Building One House or an Entire Neighborhood
Finally, you will want to hire a firm based on the size of your project and its capabilities. Your builder may have done a fabulous job on your custom house, but they may not have the ability to scale up to an entire neighborhood or apartment complex. There may be ecological impact studies, extending gas and electric services, and the creation of roads that are just not part of their skill set. When you are looking at an empty lot surrounded by farmland, the expertise of a general contractor may be what you require.
If you’ve got a project coming up, you need to work with the right people. You might come across signs, advertisements, and commercials talking about how developers and builders can help you bring your dreams to fruition. On the other hand, a developer and a builder are not the same. By understanding the differences between them, you can find the perfect person to help you meet your needs. Simply put, a developer develops, and a builder builds. There are several details you need to understand.
A Developer Obtains Permits and Creates Plans
A developer is responsible for putting the guardrails in place for your project. For example, your developer’s job is to help you obtain the permits required to break ground on your project. Your developer will also create the lots you need to hold your project. Then, your developer might also help you coordinate your project with the electric lines, water lines, and sewer system. Your developer can also help you manage the streets and curbs in the area.
A Builder Puts Up the Structure
A builder is responsible for helping you erect the building. For example, he or she will help you pour the foundation. Then, your builder helps you source the raw materials needed for your structure. Your builder can also help you find the right contractors for the various stages of your project. The builder also helps you troubleshoot problems that you might encounter along the way. Your builder also helps you weatherproof your building, lay out the rooms appropriately, and find the right windows and doors.
Find the Right Developer and Builder
Ultimately, there is some overlap between developers and builders. You need to understand the backgrounds of each individual you work with. That way, you can find the right person to help you with the job.
Are you looking for a new home? If so, you might be thinking about building your own home. As you work with builders and contractors, two terms you’ll come across are spec homes and custom homes. What’s the difference between these two homes? Is one of them better than the other? Take a look at some important information below.
An Overview of a Spec Home
A spec home is a home that has been built to match a certain set of specifications. If you have ever been in a neighborhood that has a bunch of homes that look like they’re “cookie-cutter,” there is a good chance you were looking at spec homes. If you purchase a spec home, you will probably not be given the opportunity to make any modifications to the design of a specific building. Usually, this is because the house has already been completed. One benefit of purchasing a spec home is that it might be less expensive than a custom home.
An Overview of a Custom Home
As the name suggests, a custom home provides you with the opportunity to customize various designs and features throughout the home. Sometimes, you even get to customize the house from the ground up. You will have more control over the appliances, the ceilings, the walls, and the dimensions of the room. The downside is that a custom home might be more expensive than a spec home.
Find the Right Home To Meet Your Specific Needs
These are just some differences between spec homes and custom homes to consider. Each option has benefits and drawbacks depending on your preferences. If you have any questions or concerns, you should reach out to a trained professional who can help you.
What Should I Ask a Commercial Contractor?
Before hiring a commercial contractor for a general construction project, it’s important to ask the right questions. Your questions should help you do three key things; learn about the contractor, make sure they’re a good fit, and figure out the logistics of the job.
When you interview commercial contractors, start by asking questions about how long they’ve been in business and if they are licensed, bonded, and insured. You can also ask if you can see claim and job safety records from prior jobs. To make sure they can reliably stick to a schedule, find out if their company has a good record of timely delivery and tenant build-out timelines. To help define what costs will look like, ask how they ensure product costs. And finally, to make sure you’re protected, ask if they offer a warranty or guarantee.
To make sure the commercial contractor is a good fit, find out if they’ve worked on jobs that are similar to yours, and if so, how they turned out. How well did they adhere to guidelines? Can you get references from prior clients?
To sort out logistics – namely timelines and budgets – ask how far out they’re booking, how they handle permits, and what their payment schedule looks like. Also, find out if they use local suppliers or if they source supplies from out of state, as out-of-state sourcing can lead to delays. Before you sign anything, ask if their bid is an estimate or a fixed price and find out how they manage jobs (do they use managers and subcontractors?)
Follow these tips and ask key questions to choose a reputable ideal contractor. Covering all your bases will ensure that you hire the best commercial contractor to support your building goals.
For those looking to expand their business, Bellevue, WA offers a wealth of opportunity in one of the most prosperous metropolitan areas of the country. Located just to the east of Seattle across Lake Washington, this booming city is home to a number of software and technology companies including Google, Microsoft, and eBay. The downtown area underwent rapid expansion in the early 2000s, resulting in a high-rise neighborhood with easy access to both Interstate 405 and Interstate 90. The edges of the city border expansive parklands such as Cougar Mountain and Lake Sammamish State Park.
The Bellevue North shopping district is overflowing with malls, boutique shops, and art galleries. The desirable Wilburton neighborhood surrounds the Glendale Country Club and Kelsey Creek Park. Families that move into the area can take advantage of some of the best elementary schools in the nation including the Interlake and Newport schools. The commute into Seattle is eased by multiple highway bridges over the lake along with the Sound Transit and King County Metro light rail systems. Plans are in motion to improve the Bel-Red corridor, opening access to Redmond to the north, which is a major employer to the city’s residents.