Who Do I Hire for a Home Improvement Project?

So, you’re thinking about re-tiling the guest bathroom and replacing a vanity or removing a wall and completely redesigning your kitchen. You decide to hire the work to be done, but quickly realize how many options you have. Now what? While the potential outcome of remodeling is exciting, finding the right partner can be daunting.

Did you know that the majority of homeowners avoid home improvement projects because they aren’t sure who to call? Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from your dream space; instead, consider who’s available to help.

General Contractor 

A general contractor is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. They are able to pull permits as needed, hire the labor and keep the project on track. While it’s common practice for a contractor to hire subcontractors for additional help, they occasionally have a team of their own.

If you remember from part one of this series, always verify a contractor’s license prior to hiring them.

Pro: A general contractor takes care of the necessary paperwork, tedious details and the physical work.

Con: They do not typically provide design assistance or help with products and fixtures, which would require you to hire those services separately.

[Read More: Can You Spot a Remodeling Scam?


An architect is highly trained and educated in design. While their services may not come cheap, they are creative problem solvers who bring your ideas to life.

Pro: Architects often have expertise in specialized areas, such as energy efficiency and green living and detailed drawings.

Con: An architect may not do a small project, such as a bathroom remodel, and you will need to hire a contractor to implement the designs.


A handyman does everything from changing light bulbs to building decks. While some are self-trained, others have formal training  in specialized trades, such as carpentry and tiling.

Pro: They are a cost-effective solution to fixing odds and ends around your home.

Con: A handyman is limited in their scope of work depending on what they are licensed to do.

Design/Build Firms

Design/build firms are a one-stop shop for your entire project. They work with you from start to finish and not only carry out the construction, but they also provide design services. Working with a design/build firm is typically cost effective because all of your services are provided in one place.

Pro: They are both a contractor and designer, and can complete your project without having to hire additional help.

Con: You will want to have a pretty good idea and level of comfort with the firm early on, as they will be working with you throughout the entire project.

So what’s the bottom line?

Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white. Our best piece of advice would be to consider the complexity and priorities of your job, and decide what type of partner seems to be the best match for your particular project.

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