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The Home Depot

Pros and Cons of a Custom Builder

Pro Referral > Home Guides > General Contracting > Pros and Cons of a Custom Builder
Pros and Cons of a Custom Builder

If he or she is experienced in the craft, hiring a custom builder is almost always going to yield better results than purchasing stock or assembly line components. However, this expert craftsmanship will come at a price; one that will almost certainly include a more formidable monetary investment, but may include a few other drawbacks as well.

  1. 1.Benefits of Hiring a Custom Builder

    Always make sure that the craftsman you hire has shown the skill and inclinations necessary to create what you're envisioning by checking his or her portfolio for work that is somewhat similar.

    Whether you are designing a home from the ground up or simply looking for a single component that contains elements you cannot find anywhere else, a custom builder is out there who can handle the job. Custom work offers homeowners style, quality, and freedom that cannot be found from any other option, and whatever the job, you can be sure that you're getting something that is designed specifically with your particular needs in mind.


    In many cases, having work done by an independent craftsman is also an environmentally-friendly choice, too. Rather than using cheap materials that may have been manufactured in large, energy-consuming factories and then shipped thousands of miles, many custom builders prefer to practice their craft using high-quality materials--many of which can be gathered from local sources. Instead of a finished product that is the result of big business and elaborate machinery, you receive fine, high-quality work created by a small number of skilled people. Even if the person you hire generally uses materials that have been shipped from far away (significantly increasing the entire project's carbon footprint), because it is custom work, you actually have a say in where you want the materials for your specific project to be sourced.

  2. 2.Drawbacks of Custom Work

    The single biggest reason stock work is purchased more often than custom work is price. Depending on the project, the difference in price can go from a little higher to multiple times the price of stock to have the many benefits of custom work. Custom builders must take more time to create the products they offer, and more hours means more money is needed in compensation. Additionally, the materials custom builders use are going to be purchased in smaller amounts, making the cost to the builder higher and the price he or she must charge higher, as well. Those who have had custom work done before will often decide to do it again and feel that the superior craftsmanship is well worth the additional cost. However, since the initial cost can be extremely cost-prohibitive, many homeowners never make the leap to custom work.


    Cost is certainly the most widely cited reason to go stock, but it's not the only one. Dealing with a single person or a small group of people can sometimes be difficult if you do not communicate well with that person or group. Since custom work is done to meet your specific wants, when those wants are not properly conveyed to the craftsman (or conveyed just fine, but not comprehended accurately), the fine piece of work you end up with could be something different than you'd envisioned. This leaves you in one of several awkward positions: Paying a lot of money for something that doesn't meet your needs, refusing to pay for a piece that has been completed or nearly completed, or backtracking and trying to get the results you want from someone you do not communicate with well.

  4. 3.Suggestions for Getting Great Custom Work

    Communication is definitely one of the most important ingredients in a great custom job, but the custom builder's portfolio of previous work may be equally important. Always make sure that the craftsman you hire has shown the skill and inclinations necessary to create what you're envisioning by checking his or her portfolio for work that is somewhat similar. Additionally, it is important to remember that custom workers have some limitations--especially when they are working within your budget. Though they may be able to make a few suggestions that will allow you to get what you want at a lower price, keep in mind that premium prices are often a necessity to get premium work in return.

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