What Does a General Contractor Do?
A general contractor oversees construction or renovation projects, often for a fee. They manage the big-picture, top-level aspects of the project, such as sourcing materials and hiring subcontractors. They also provide quality control and help maintain a construction schedule.
They’re responsible for working with clients to visualize their projects and ensuring that they meet all of the requirements set forth by the property owner or architects. They also help with obtaining all of the necessary building permits and coordinating on-site work between numerous different tradespeople, including plumbers, carpenters, electricians and painters.
Generally, the best general contractors have experience working with multiple types of projects. This ensures that they know how to complete their job in a timely manner, without overspending or going over the budget.
The general contractor is also a crucial member of the construction team, as they work closely with the architect to make sure that the work done by subcontractors follows the blueprints or design details that have been outlined in the contract. They also communicate with the homeowner or project owner about any delays, alterations or additional needs that may arise during the construction process.
To become a general contractor, you typically need to have four years of construction experience and pass state-level licensing exams. Some states require that you submit proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance to be licensed, which protects both you and your customers in the event of an accident.
Some general contractors charge a flat fee, while others prefer to get paid by the project. The price for a general contractor’s services is determined by a variety of factors, including the firm’s size and experience.
Their fee is generally negotiated with the client before the start of the project. Whether they charge a fixed amount or a percentage of the total project cost, the general contractor’s fee usually includes a commission on any materials purchased and labor costs.
They also earn a commission on any money that the client spends on subcontractors’ projects. Depending on the project, the general contractor may have additional fees for obtaining permits or other services.
In addition, a reputable general contractor has excellent communication skills, which is essential for getting information across between everyone involved in the construction process. They also have a strong understanding of time management, which is vital for keeping the construction process on track and making sure that everything is completed in a timely manner.
Lastly, they have a solid understanding of safety on the site of the construction. This is important because construction sites can be hazardous places, and it’s the general contractor’s responsibility to keep anyone on the site safe at all times.
The best general contractors understand that they’re there to bring a client’s vision to life, so they strive to stay realistic about how much the project will cost and lay out all the potential options before the client signs a contract. They’ll even do a rough estimate of how much it will all cost, which helps ensure that the client doesn’t have any surprises when it comes to completing their home improvement project.