The Pros and Cons of Self-Performing Contractors in Chicago, IL


In the bustling city of Chicago, Illinois, where construction projects are constantly underway, the choice between self-performing contractors and subcontractors is a crucial decision for project managers and property owners. Self-performing contractors, also known as turnkey general contractors, handle various aspects of a project with their in-house teams rather than relying solely on subcontractors. While this approach offers several advantages, it also comes with its own set of challenges.


1. Control Over Quality: One of the primary benefits of self-performing contractors is the assurance of quality control. With an in-house team, the contractor has direct oversight of every aspect of the project, ensuring that work meets high standards at every stage. From initial planning to final execution, this control allows for greater attention to detail and adherence to project specifications.

2. Streamlined Communication: By minimizing the number of parties involved, self-performing contractors can streamline communication channels. This simplification reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or miscommunications between different subcontractors, leading to smoother project coordination and faster decision-making processes.

3. Enhanced Accountability: With self-performing contractors, accountability is more straightforward. Since all work is done by the contractor’s own team, there is no finger-pointing between different subcontractors in case of delays or errors. This accountability fosters a culture of responsibility and ensures that issues are promptly addressed without passing the blame.

4. Faster Project Completion: In many cases, self-performing contractors can expedite project timelines. With greater control over scheduling and resource allocation, these contractors can efficiently coordinate tasks and minimize delays. Additionally, the absence of reliance on external subcontractors reduces the risk of scheduling conflicts or availability issues.

5. Cost Savings: While the upfront costs of hiring a self-performing contractor may seem higher than outsourcing tasks to subcontractors, the long-term savings can be significant. By eliminating the need to pay markup fees to multiple subcontractors, property owners can reduce overall project costs. Moreover, the efficiency and quality provided by self-performing contractors can lead to fewer costly errors and rework.


1. Limited Specialization: One of the drawbacks of self-performing contractors is their limited specialization in certain areas. While they may excel in general contracting and maintenance tasks, they may lack the expertise required for highly specialized tasks. In such cases, subcontracting may be necessary, leading to additional coordination efforts.

2. Resource Constraints: Depending solely on an in-house team can pose challenges in terms of resource availability. Self-performing contractors may struggle to scale up their workforce quickly to meet the demands of larger projects or unexpected surges in workload. This limitation can result in delays or compromises in project quality.

3. Risk of Workforce Shortages: In industries where skilled labor is in high demand, self-performing contractors may face difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel. Competition for talent can lead to workforce shortages, affecting project timelines and potentially jeopardizing the quality of work delivered.

4. Dependency on Internal Processes: While streamlined communication is a benefit of self-performing contractors, it can also be a limitation. Relying solely on internal processes and resources may result in a lack of flexibility when responding to changing project requirements or external factors. Adapting to unforeseen challenges may require additional time and effort.

5. Overhead Costs: Maintaining an in-house team of skilled professionals entails overhead costs such as salaries, benefits, training, and equipment. While these costs may be justified by the benefits of quality control and efficiency, they can still contribute to the overall project expenses. Property owners must weigh these overhead costs against the potential savings and benefits offered by self-performing contractors.


The decision to hire self-performing contractors in Chicago, IL, requires careful consideration of the pros and cons outlined above. While these contractors offer advantages such as quality control, streamlined communication, and cost savings, they also present challenges such as limited specialization, resource constraints, and overhead costs. By evaluating these factors in the context of specific project requirements and objectives, property owners can make informed decisions that align with their goals for successful project outcomes.

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