We work with a lot of homeowners who are general contracting or project managing their own remodel. In many cases, I think that’s great. I wouldn’t recommend it for all projects (or homeowners) but I think it works in many cases. Right owners, right project, right house.
I also think it’s great because it gives property owners a much better understanding of the trades, their own home and typically a good dose of reality. Despite how empowered one can feel from watching HGTV and you tube – quality home improvement takes planning, research, and time.
Side note: Be wary of inspirational TV commercials for big box home centers showing young couples destroying a dated kitchen with sledge hammers and high-fiving each other – Demo really doesn’t count as home improvement, just home destruction.
One of the most common pitfalls of the homeowner/GC seems to be just getting the order of tasks/trades correct. Even in a relatively small project, the order of things is still important, sometimes even more so. Getting a feel for how a project should be executed can be a steep (and expensive) part of the learning curve. But hey, think of all the money you are saving by acting as your own GC!
Since we provide interior finish carpentry such as doors, millwork & stairs as well as custom cabinetry & built-ins our work almost always comes after sheetrock but definitely before paint. After hardwood floors but before carpet. Usually after tile but not always and always before painting. Yes, I mentioned painting twice…it seems to be a common point of confusion.
All projects are different and while there are some tried and true approaches, each individual project will have a clear prescribed path. Your job as the homeowner/GC is to assume little, consult and coordinate with your subcontractors by asking questions, plan ahead and find a consensus that works for all involved.
Having an order of tasks and trades that everyone is on board with will make not only produce better results, but will likely save you money and headaches in the long run.
Good luck, have fun, get dirty and above all, please be safe.