A general contractor (GC) is a construction professional who manages the entire process of building or remodeling a project from start to finish. This entails hiring, training, supervising and monitoring subcontractors, applying for permits and licenses and keeping the build on schedule to meet budget expectations.
They are also in charge of ordering materials, overseeing construction crews and communicating with vendors and suppliers. They handle the logistics of getting a building or remodeling project up and running, and they can be found at many job sites.
Some general contractors also have a specialty, such as flooring or plumbing. If a client needs work in one of these areas, they might contract with the GC directly to get it done.
General contractors are often employed by construction companies or developers who handle several projects at a time. They usually charge a fee to manage a project, which can range from 10 to 30 percent of the total cost of the project.
In addition to their management and oversight responsibilities, general contractors must follow a strict set of rules regarding safety and construction practices. They are required to be licensed by local and state agencies and must submit proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
They must have a strong commitment to their customers and be able to communicate with them throughout the course of a project. This is an important factor for a successful and happy relationship with a client.
Whether they are a large or small company, a general contractor should be in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. Licensing helps ensure that a contractor follows guidelines in regards to insurance, taxes and safety and is reputable and trustworthy to their clients.
For a general contractor to be licensed in their state, they must first have at least four years of construction experience and must pass trade and law exams. They must also verify their financial stability and submit evidence of liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
The qualifications for a general contractor vary by state, but most require an education in a related field and some construction experience. Some jurisdictions also demand that aspiring general contractors have references from business partners or former employers.
They also must have a passion for the work they do and want to make sure the client’s goals are met. A GC with passion will be willing to make changes to the scope of the project as necessary and strive to complete the build on time.
Some states also require that general contractors be bonded to cover the financial risks associated with their work, which can help protect the owner of the property they are working on. This is important for all construction and remodeling jobs, but particularly for larger ones that might span multiple seasons.
A general contractor is an essential part of any building or remodeling project, especially if it involves many different trades. This includes laying new pipes, wiring or painting. However, if you are simply painting a room or laying down new tiles, you probably don’t need a general contractor and should just hire a tradesperson to do the work for you.