November 14th, 2019 |

Considering who to hire for a construction project can be an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to deciding whether to hire general contractors or subcontractors. Both types of contractors bring different benefits and skillsets to a project, and determining which type you need depends almost entirely on the project at hand. While they may seem very similar, these roles differ quite a bit.

Need a starting point? Take a look at our breakdown of the differences between general contractors and subcontractors to help you make an educated decision about who to hire for your unique construction project.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor, who can be an individual or a company, does it all when it comes to a construction project – from initial project plan assessment to managing the actual labor required, they take complete control. Contractors are commonly hired for commercial or residential projects.

General Contractors vs Subcontractors: Knowing the Difference

Scope of Work

While the responsibilities of a contractor often vary based on the project, it is common for them to perform the following tasks:

  • Maintain accurate records of all project details
  • Monitors administrative details such as scheduling, cash flow, and payments
  • Oversees all work involved to ensure timeliness, quality, and safety
  • Supplies all labor and materials needed for projects
  • Provides vehicles, tools, and other equipment
  • Works directly with a client to negotiate deals and hire subcontractors
  • Can do anything from repairs and renovation to new construction

What is a Subcontractor?

Subcontractors are hired on a contractual basis by general contractors as specialists to work on a specific niche of a construction project. Similar to contractors, a subcontractor can be a person or a company.

Scope of Work

Subcontractors generally focus on specialty individual projects that they excel at. Some examples of projects that may fall into this scope include:

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

Differences Between a General Contractor vs Subcontractor

General contractors and subcontractors often work on the same project but from two different angles. As previously noted, a contractor is a multi-tasking manager of a construction project, expected to handle all the details and any issues that may arise, whereas a subcontractor would be hired to focus on a specific aspect of that same project. It is broken down as “big picture” work versus niche specialty work.

Subcontractors are experts in their field and are expected to follow the instructions given by the contractor overseeing the construction project since that is their main point of contact and who they are hired by. This means they usually don’t work directly with the client on the project, and all correspondence is done via the contractor. By allowing the contractor to make an educated, experienced decision on whether or not a subcontractor is needed, it takes the pressure off the client.

Contact TPD Construction Co.

Before deciding on a contractor, you’ll want to make sure you consider each company’s qualifications, certifications, and reviews or testimonials to confirm they are the correct fit for your project needs.

At TPD Construction Co., we understand firsthand just how important this decision is. We have extensive experience in general contracting and offer commercial services to our clients. We pride ourselves immensely on our ability to provide clients with quality project services valued at the best possible cost.

Want to learn more about our general contracting services? Contact the experts at TPD Construction. today to get started!