Best of 2005
Photo: Erika Larsen
Gary Geiselman and his crew work on Speedwell Forge, a nearly 250-year-old Lancaster County house that his firm—Olde York Homes in York, PA—is helping convert to a bed-and-breakfast
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Most contractors no longer do everything from framing to finish flooring. For that, they've got a network of subcontractors, or "subs": plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers, and the like. "I'm pretty handy with a paintbrush," says TOH general contractor Tom Silva, "but having an expert who's fast and accurate saves the homeowners a lot of time and money." Subs are paid by the general contractor, who coordinates and signs off on their work.

If you're interested in using the services of a particular sub — a tile setter whose work you love, for example — you can propose it to the GC, but he may be reluctant to hire someone he hasn't worked with before. On a small job, a subcontractor may be all you need. But if you're doing the hiring yourself, be sure to get references and check prospects out thoroughly.

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