The Difference between a Renovation Coach, Project Manager and General Contractor

When you decide to start a project whether its a large scale home renovation that involves removing walls, adding a bathroom or flipping a fixer upper. Cost and quality are always considerations. But where do you start? I’m here to help you navigate and choose the right direction for you with a comprehensive explanation of what each home renovation construction professional does.

Let’s begin:

General Contractors: A general contractor has a book of sub trades or sub contractors that they know, like and trust to complete your project, they also “usually” have years of experience in completing your type of renovation project. Typically general contractors have a design team that can layout a plan including the design of what you have now and what you want the finish project to look like. They meet with you at the property take measurements and ask a series of questions, they then go back to their office and send the work out to bid to their sub trades and suppliers . It’s not unusual for a General Contractor to be able to tell you how much per square foot it will cost to complete your project. When working with a general contractor be prepared to use the finishes they select or to invest a lot of time shopping to find finishes on your own that meet the measurements that he/she laid out in the 1st design plan. Normally a General Contractor makes their money by marking up the work on the sub trades (subcontractors) and materials.

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Home and Renovation Project Manager: Work with you before the design begins starting with a consultation to establish a budget, they identify the pros and cons of the renovation. They don’t mark up the prices for the sub trades (subcontractors) they charge a set fee to ensure the sub trades (sub contractors) are provided a detailed scope of work, assist you in consulting with the designers, architechs, and structural engineers, plumbers, electricians, framers, roofers, drywallers, finish carpenters, tile and floor installers - conduct regular site visits, discuss and document change orders with you before they are performed. They don’t usually go shopping with with you either but they ensure permits, inspections and milestones are met before you pay a sub trade for the work completed. YOU ARE the General Contractor.

Renovation Coach: is someone that has the experience of a general contractor and management skills of a project manager however like the general contractor they have a list of trusted sub trades (subcontractors) they know,like and trust they usually refer you too, - so you save on the mark up, they also work with the designers and trades to ensure the project is built to code. The difference is that they help you select finishes for example flooring, staircases, moulding, appliances, paint, vanities, cabinets, countertops etc…they know where to shop to get the best prices and quality. This option is great if you want to be hands on or if you’re absent because they are basically a Mini You.

Each of the descriptions above have links to outside sources for you to explore. Selecting if you work with a general contractor, home and renovation project manager or renovation coach boil down to how involved you want to be in the process. Each has professional has value and will save you both time, money and stress over working with one-all-in-one tradespersons that commonly under bid projects, cut corners, don’t have written contracts or pull required permits.

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