Are you in the planning stage of building your first house?

If so, you need to be prepared for a lot of work. That’s because building a home from scratch is a complicated process. It requires focus, determination, and an experienced team of construction professionals. 

For example, you need to hire a skilled general contractor as well as many subcontractors who understand how to guide building projects from blueprints to the completed home. But what’s the difference between these different jobs?

Here we take a look at a general contractor vs. subcontractor so you can hire the right people for the job. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Types of Contractors

Let’s start by explaining the 4 types of contractors in the construction industry. 

A general contractor works for the client, employs the various subcontractors and vendors, and manages the project.

A subcontractor works for the contractor, typically employs a small crew, and has a skill in a specific area of the construction process.

An independent contractor works directly for the client and is self-employed.

A prime contractor works for a large client, hires general contractors, and manages massive projects.

2. Defining a General Contractor

What is a general contractor? This is a person who supervises a small project, typically the building or remodeling of a home or small commercial building.

Think of a general contractor as the project manager. They put all the pieces together. This includes hiring all the necessary subs and ordering the materials. A general contractor communicates directly with the client.

3. Defining a Subcontractor

What is a subcontractor? This is a contractor with training in a specific area of construction, such as plumbing, electrical, or heating/cooling. A sub works for the general contractor and typically has very little contact with the homeowner.

Here’s a tremendous resource where you can learn more about hiring experienced general contractors.

4. Defining a Prime Contractor

Prime contractors work for big clients, such as a major corporation on the construction of huge office buildings. They are responsible for hiring smaller contractors to oversee specific parts of the construction process.

5. Defining an Independent Contractor

An independent contractor doesn’t hire subs. This is a person who is self-employed and works directly for the client. 

For example, when you hire an independent contractor to build or remodel your house, they will employ a full-time crew that includes an electrician and plumber to complete the project rather than subcontracting those tasks.

A Guide to Understanding General Contractor vs. Subcontractor

When you’re ready to build a house, it’s crucial to hire someone who understands every aspect of the construction process. That’s why this guide to understanding the difference between a general contractor vs. subcontractor is such a valuable resource.

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