1130 Industrial Ave #12, Petaluma, CA 94952

What is a general contractor?

construction manager or general contractor

A general contractor is responsible for the daily management of a construction site and can be either commercial, industrial, or residential.  This includes working with established vendors and trades in order to get the construction underway.  They are managers or possibly even tradesmen that bid on the owner’s project and oversee the construction of the home(s).

When requesting bids from contractors keep in mind that GCs provide the material, labor, and equipment needed to complete the job and is reflected in the estimate amount.

There are no educational requirements to be a contractor, however you must have a license and acquire the proper permits to be legally hired.  The requirements to be licensed include experience in construction as well as references from customers, business partners, and former employees. Experience learned include masonry, carpentry, framing, and plumbing.

equipment to complete construction project

General contractors vs construction managers

You may have heard of construction managers which is different from general contractors.  General contractors can act as construction managers as well.  In an effort to clear up the confusion between the two, we have outlined a few of the key differences.

A few of the differences include how the company is structured and their business relationships with owners and contractors.  A construction manager can be an individual or group of people unlike a general contractor which is usually a company with skilled employees and a pool of subcontractors that they usually have long standing relationships with.

GCs are known for bidding on a project that an owner posts unlike a general manager which isn’t as competitive.  Along with the bid provided by the general contractor is a contract that covers all aspects of the project.  CMs provide a predetermined fee and are known to be accountants, project managers, estimators, or other professionals.

construction worker scooping cement

Hiring a general contractor

There are three main criteria for when to hire a general contractor: if the job is going to take longer than a week, if the job requires more than one subcontractor/trade, and if the job requires a few permits.  When hiring a professional general contractor, you must be vigilant and avoid scams. Look out for contractors who say they want you to get the permits, which is a warning sign.  A qualified general contractor will manage the contracts/agreements between the subcontractors placed with the client and will pull the necessary permits for the client’s project.

Choosing between a general contractor or construction manager is the owner’s choice in the end.  Depending on the owner’s needs one can make an educated decision that best fits their project.

Leave a Reply