Difference Between a Contractor and Subcontractor for Your Renovation
October 24, 2022 at 7:00 AM
Difference Between a Contractor and Subcontractor for Your Renovation

Deciding who to hire for your renovation project can be daunting — especially when determining whether to hire a general contractor or subcontractor. Both types of contractors bring different skill sets and benefits to renovation projects. And determining which kind of contractor you need will depend almost entirely on the renovation at hand.

This article will serve as a guide to the differences between general contractors and subcontractors so you can make an educated decision about who to hire for your renovation project.

What Is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is an individual or company responsible for the entire construction project — from initial project plan assessment to hiring and managing the labor required. They are commonly hired for residential and commercial projects.

The responsibilities of general contractors can vary by project. But some everyday tasks they perform include:

  • Maintaining accurate records of all project details
  • Overseeing all work to ensure safety and quality
  • Monitoring administrative details, like scheduling, cash flow, and payments
  • Supplying all labor and materials needed for a project
  • Providing vehicles, tools, and other equipment
  • Working directly with a client to negotiate deals and hire subcontractors

What Is a Subcontractor?

General contractors hire subcontractors on a contractual basis to work on a specific niche of a construction project. Like general contractors, they can either be a person or a company. Subcontractors generally focus on individual specialty projects that may fall into a scope such as:

  • Appliance installation
  • Carpentry and woodwork
  • Drywall
  • Foundations and flatwork
  • Flooring
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Insulation
  • Masonry
  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing

What are the main differences between general contractors and subcontractors?

The glaring difference between general contractors and subcontractors is that a general contractor oversees the construction project as a manager and is expected to handle any and all issues that arise. On the other hand, subcontractors are hired to focus on a specific aspect of the same project. They follow instructions given by the contractor overseeing the renovation or construction process. Because of this, subcontractors rarely work directly with the client on the project, and all correspondence is handled by the general contractor.

How to hire a general contractor for your project

If you are handling an extensive home renovation, you will likely want to hire a general contractor. The first step is to research companies in your areas with relevant experience to the project you’re planning. Some contractors specialize in multiple areas, while others may offer an area of generalized skills.

Once you’ve identified contractors with the experience you’re looking for, compare customer reviews. Use consumer review websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which provides an online search engine that compiles a list of reviews for your location. You can also ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations.

In addition to considering companies, you can also look into individual contractors with relevant experience. Compare the contracting companies you find versus individual contractors as you work to narrow down your list. Consider services, rates, knowledge, and expertise.

Before you hire a contractor, you’ll want to ensure that they are licensed to do the kind of tasks you need and that they have insurance for personal liability, workers’ compensation, and property damage.

Elite Construction & Renovations: Atlanta, GA General Contractors Ready to Make Your Project a Success

From bathroom remodels to kitchen renovations, Elite Construction and Renovations can help ensure your project is completed within budget and on time. Give us a call at 770-624-9216 or contact us online to learn more.