What Does a Contractor Do? | 7 Things To Know Before Hiring

Larger residential projects are constructed under the direction and supervision of general contractors. This individual, group, or company negotiates the main contract with a property owner and is in charge of managing the project.

A general contractor is the project manager in charge of overseeing the construction site on a daily basis, managing all suppliers and subcontractors, and serving as the main point of contact for all parties concerned over the course of a building project. Contractors must make sure that their work complies with code standards and nearly usually have a license from their state.


It pays to do your homework before selecting a contractor to build your ideal home. Examine a contractor’s past projects and portfolio, mentioning any local laws and ordinances that contractors need to be aware of. Consider the quality as well as your expectations, including how active you want to be in cost analysis and how often you want to receive bills.

Organizational and Billing Structure

It should be standard practice to inquire about a contractor’s organizational and billing structure immediately away. With large-scale projects, you often interact with 40 or more distinct parties, including suppliers and subcontractors, and if your contractor doesn’t have a technological framework in place to handle them, that might cause issues.

The sophistication of your contractor’s back-of-house organization must increase with the project’s complexity. For instance, some contractors claim that their team keeps track of several orders, such as containers coming from Italy and Greece, and adjusts their timetable based on the arrival dates of each.

Hands-On Experience

Experience is the most important factor. To be able to proceed and handle things properly, one needs a lot of expertise. A seasoned general contractor, or practically any experienced constructor of high-end residential houses, works with more experimental constructions, which qualifies them to be better at handling any out-of-the-box concerns that emerge. Keep this in mind as well.

Licenses Requirement

The majority of states have laws requiring contractors to be licensed. In California, performing unlicensed work can result in a number of fines (including jail time), and with very few exceptions, all contractors working on projects costing more than $500 are required to have licenses. You must fulfill a number of criteria, including schooling, laid out by the California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board (CSLB), in order to become a general contractor in the Golden State.

Subcontractors Attached With General Contractor

Instead than directly contracting with a homeowner or customer, subcontractors usually do so through a general contractor. And frequently, these “subs” are experts in just one type of building. And typically, who are they? Subcontractors frequently work on tiling, drywall, insulation, electrical, plumbing, masonry, and roofing for most new building developments.

Specialty Subcontractors

You begin to work with more specialized subcontractors as your specifications increase, such as glass pool walls. Once again, expertise also comes with knowledge of the finest in the business if the experts are out of state. Subcontractors typically develop connections with contractors that last for years and dozens of projects. In the end, general contractors are also accountable for the performance, efficiency, and conduct of their subcontractors.

Subcontractors Insurance and License

The general contractor is required to have insurance of some type. However, in addition to being highly skilled and experienced in their field, subcontractors need also be licensed and insured. If you decide to work directly with a subcontractor, be sure they are qualified and, if you can, acquire quotes from many to get the best deal. Just bear in mind that you are responsible for overseeing scheduled payments and budgets when working with specialist contractors without a general contractor.

If you are interested in more articles like this, here’s one about the 5 common types of residential housing.

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