How and Why to Hire a General Contractor (GC)

A complete guide to hiring a GC

Do you have a home renovation or construction project in mind, but don’t know where to start?

In this article, we’ll define general contracting and outline the services that general contractors typically provide. We’ll also introduce you to some of the most common terms used in the construction industry.

So, whether you’re considering hiring a contractor or perhaps are interested in becoming a GC yourself, then this article is for you.

What is General Contracting?

General contracting is a type of construction management in which a single firm or single individual handles all aspects of a project from start to finish.

The general contractor is responsible for securing the necessary permits, hiring subcontractors, and overseeing the construction process. In many cases, the general contractor will also be responsible for purchasing materials and ensuring that they are delivered to the job site.

While it can be more expensive to hire a general contractor, it can also save time and hassle in the long run.

By working with a single firm from start to finish, you can avoid the hassle of coordinating multiple contractors and schedule conflicts. In addition, a general contractor can often negotiate better deals with subcontractors and suppliers, saving you money on the overall cost of your project.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

When someone is embarking on a construction project, they will usually need to hire a general contractor. Essentially, a general contractor is the one who ensures that a construction project runs smoothly from beginning to end.

Here is an even more detailed breakdown.

Manages the Work Site

First, know that a general contractor is a professional who manages the construction of a project. The contractor hires and supervises subcontractors, oversees the work site, and handles paperwork.

Paperwork and Problem Solving

The contractor must be able to negotiate with suppliers, coordinate the work of subcontractors, and keep track of progress on the project. In addition, the contractor must be able to solve problems that arise during construction.

For example, if a subcontractor does not show up for work, the contractor must find a replacement. If there are problems with the quality of workmanship, the contractor must ensure that the issue is corrected. A successful contractor must have the ability to handle all aspects of the construction process in order to complete the project on time and on budget.

Staying Within Budget

A GC is responsible for making sure that the project is completed on time and within the allocated budget. They also need to ensure that the quality of work is up to par and that all safety regulations are being followed.

Completes Specialized Tasks, Planning, and Designing as Needed

In order to become a general contractor, one must have at least a high school diploma or GED.

However, many GCs choose to pursue higher education in order to better prepare themselves for the challenges of the job. There are many different types of construction projects, so it is important for a GC to have experience in the specific type of project they are overseeing.

For example, a GC who specializes in commercial construction will need to have a different skill set than a GC who specializes in residential construction.

While a general contractor may be involved in designing and planning the project, they are typically not responsible for actually performing the work. Instead, they hire and manage subcontractors who handle the day-to-day construction tasks.

The general contractor is responsible for most of the key decisions during the build, including choosing materials, ordering supplies, and scheduling workers. They also play a key role in solving any problems that arise during construction.

As such, a general contractor must have a deep understanding of the construction process as well as strong communication and organizational skills.

What are the Services That a General Contractor Provides?

A general contractor is a person who coordinates and supervises construction projects. He or she is responsible for hiring subcontractors, ordering materials, and making sure that the project stays on schedule and within budget.

In addition, the general contractor often provides design services and can help to obtain building permits. A general contractor can be hired for a variety of projects, including new construction, site improvements, remodels/renovations, and interior fit outs.

When choosing a general contractor, it is important to select someone with experience in the type of project you are undertaking, since the portfolio of this type of professional can be incredibly vast. No two general contractors will have the exact same background or experience!

The Benefits of Working With a General Contractor

For most people, the thought of renovating their home is a daunting one. There are so many things to consider, from choosing the right materials to making sure the work is completed on time and on budget. However, working with a general contractor can help to make the process much easier.

Saves Time

One of the benefits of working with a general contractor is that it saves time. Hiring multiple contractors and managing them can be time-consuming, but a general contractor can take care of all the details for you.

This includes sourcing materials, coordinating workers, and managing the construction schedule. In addition, a general contractor often has a network of reliable subcontractors that they work with on a regular basis. This means that you don’t have to spend time interviewing and vetting potential contractors.

Access to an Established Network of Subcontractors

Any homeowner who has ever attempted a do-it-yourself home improvement project knows that even the simplest task can quickly become overwhelming.

Even choosing the right materials can be a challenge, and coordinating different workers to complete the job can be next to impossible. This is where a general contractor comes in. A general contractor is a professional who oversees all aspects of a construction project, from start to finish.

This means that instead of having to deal with different workers and suppliers, you can just focus on working with one person.

Saves Money

When embarking on a home improvement project, many homeowners feel that they can save money by handling all of the work themselves. However, this often leads to frustration and costly mistakes.

One benefit of working with a general contractor is that he has experience managing all aspects of a construction project, from start to finish. He can help you to develop a realistic budget and schedule, and will be familiar with the building code requirements in your area.

Increased Versatility in Project Planning

One benefit of working with a general contractor is the increased versatility in project planning. When working with a specialized contractor, the scope of work is more limited. The general contractor can provide a wider range of services and therefore may be able to better meet the needs of the customer.

For example, if the homeowner wants to add a sunroom to their home, the general contractor can help to design and build it. In contrast, a specialized contractor such as an electrician or plumber would only be able to provide their specific services and would not be able to help with the overall design or construction of the sunroom.

As a result, the homeowner would need to hire both a general contractor and a specialized contractor, which can be more expensive and time-consuming.

The increased versatility of the general contractor also allows for more flexibility in project scheduling. If the homeowner wants to add a sunroom but cannot start construction for several months, the general contractor can begin work on other aspects of the project, such as preparing the foundation or framing.

In contrast, a specialized contractor would likely have to wait until all approvals were in place before they could begin work, which could delay the completion of the project.

Covers Insurance and Licensing

Any home improvement project comes with some level of risk. If you hire an uninsured contractor, you could be on the hook for any damages that occur during the project. Likewise, if a contractor does not have the proper licensing, you could be held liable if something goes wrong.

When you work with a general contractor, you can be confident that they are properly insured and licensed. This protects you from any potential legal or financial liabilities.

One Communication Point

When multiple trades are working on a single project, it can be difficult to keep track of who is doing what and when. This can often lead to frustration and unmet expectations. One of the benefits of working with a general contractor is that they provide a single point of communication.

The GC is responsible for coordinating the work of all the different trades and keeping everyone on schedule. They will also provide updates and feedback to the homeowner throughout the project. This can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project runs smoothly. As a result, working with a general contractor can save homeowners a lot of time and stress.


One of the benefits of working with a general contractor is that they have more experience. This means they can provide you with valuable insights and resources that you might not have access to on your own. For example, they may be able to help you find a more affordable supplier for your materials or put you in touch with a qualified tradesperson. In addition, they will be familiar with the building code requirements in your area and can ensure that your project meets all the necessary safety standards.

What is the Difference Between a Contractor and a General Contractor?

A contractor is someone who performs a particular task or job, typically one that requires special skills or training.

A general contractor, on the other hand, is someone who takes on the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating all aspects of a construction project, from start to finish. In most cases, a general contractor will hire subcontractors to handle specific aspects of the job, such as electrical work or plumbing.

The general contractor is responsible for ensuring that all subcontractors are properly licensed and insured, and that they complete their work in a timely and professional manner. In addition, the general contractor is typically responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and approvals from local authorities.

While a contractor may only need to be concerned with completing their own task or job, a general contractor must often juggle many different tasks and responsibilities.

As a result, it is not unusual for a general contractor to charge more for their services than a contractor who only completes one specific task.

When Should You Hire a General Contractor?

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a general contractor.

Perhaps the most important factor is the scope of the project. If you are undertaking a large construction project, it is likely that you will need the help of a general contractor. A general contractor can provide important resources and expertise, helping to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.

Another factor to consider is your own ability to manage the project. If you do not feel confident in your ability to coordinate different contractors and suppliers, then it may be worth hiring a general contractor to handle these details for you.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to hire a general contractor depends on the specific needs of your project.

What to Look for in a General Contractor

When you are embarking on a construction project, it is important to choose a general contractor that will meet your needs. There are many factors to consider, but some of the most important include experience, cost, and customer service.

Experience is crucial when choosing a general contractor. You want to be sure that they have successfully completed projects similar to yours in the past. Ask for references and check online reviews to get a sense of their track record.

Cost is also an important consideration. You’ll need to get quotes from several contractors and compare them before making a decision. But beware of choosing the cheapest option without considering other factors.

Finally, good customer service is essential. You’ll be working closely with your contractor throughout the project, so it’s important that you feel comfortable communicating with them and that they are responsive to your concerns.

By taking the time to do your research, you can be confident that you’ll find a general contractor who will help make your construction project a success.

How to Find and Hire a Qualified General Contractor

Searching for a qualified general contractor can be a daunting task, but it is important to take the time to find a professional who will be able to complete your project to your satisfaction. Here are a few tips to help you find and hire a qualified general contractor:

First, ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have recently had work done on their homes. They will likely be able to give you the name of a contractor who did a good job for them.

Check online directories and review sites to get an idea of which contractors are popular in your area. Once you have compiled a list of potential candidates, be sure to check their credentials and references. It is also important to schedule an interview with each contractor so that you can get a feel for their personality and whether or not you would be comfortable working with them.

Finally, be sure to get everything in writing before hiring a contractor. This includes signing a contract that clearly outlines the scope of the project and the estimated cost.

By following these steps, you can be sure that you will find and hire a qualified general contractor who will not only meet – but vastly exceed – your expectations.

What does a general contractor do in a construction project?

A general contractor manages the construction project, overseeing subcontractors, handling paperwork, solving problems, and ensuring it is completed on time, within budget, and meets quality and safety standards.

Why should I hire a general contractor for my construction project?

Hiring a general contractor saves time, provides access to an established network of subcontractors, ensures adherence to budget and schedule, covers insurance and licensing, offers a single communication point, brings experience and expertise, and is crucial for large or complex projects.