What Is a General Contractor?

General Contractor

A General Contractor is a construction professional responsible for the day-to-day management of a construction site. He or she supervises all vendors and trades and communicates with all parties involved in the project. The General Contractor may be referred to as the prime or main contractor. The responsibilities of a General Contractor are many and varied.


If you are planning to hire a general contractor, you must understand the importance of licensing. The process varies from state to state. Some states issue general contractor licenses, while others require a special trade license. Cities may also require certain credentials before a general contractor can be allowed to work in their city.

It is important to understand that contractors without a license cannot legally enforce their contract with the project owner. This includes the inability to legally collect amounts owed by the client. In many states, licensing requirements do not apply to subcontractors.


General contractors are now required to obtain subcontractor bonding in an increasing number of projects. While these bonds are not required for all contracts, they can be helpful in ensuring that subcontractors do not fall behind with payments. This type of bond will cover any bills or invoices related to the scope of work if the GC fails to finish a project. Whether a general contractor is required to purchase a bond depends on several factors.

Bonding requirements for general contractors are different in every state. In Washington State, general contractors are required to have a license and a bond that is not less than $12,000 if they are to complete any construction work in the state. In West Virginia, a general contractor must have a license and bond in an amount determined by the city or municipality they are working in. In Wisconsin, contractors may also be required to get a license to work in the state, and the bond amount depends on the value of the construction work.


The cost of hiring a general contractor can be difficult to quantify. In addition to managing the project, a general contractor purchases building products and hires labor. This gives them a broad understanding of building costs and can help the client stay on budget. Additionally, they have relationships with subcontractors and know if they will be paid fairly.

One of the major factors affecting the overall cost of hiring a general contractor is the amount of markup. Markups are typically ten to twenty percent of the overall cost. In some cases, this can be as high as forty percent. You can look up the markups for your own construction project by consulting a general contractor pricing guide.


One of the most important jobs of a general contractor is to oversee the work of subcontractors. These tradesmen must work together to complete a construction project within a specified time frame and budget. A general contractor’s duties include determining the scope of work, obtaining permits, defining and monitoring budgets, hiring subcontractors, providing materials and equipment, and maintaining communication between the team members.

The general contractor coordinates the construction operations, from permits and purchasing materials to overseeing the completion of a project. The contractor should also coordinate with all subcontractors to ensure the project meets deadlines and meets quality standards.


One of the benefits of being a general contractor is that you can save a lot of money on materials. General contractors often have associations with larger networks of suppliers, which allows them to get the lowest prices for materials. This savings is often passed on to the clients. General contractors can also negotiate better rates for materials than subcontractors can.

A general contractor has great financial and people management skills. In addition, they understand all phases of a project and are able to keep a close eye on the project schedule. This helps them avoid costly delays and help the project move faster. They also have a complete view of the project, which means that they can keep their clients informed every step of the way.

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