What Does a General Contractor Do?
General contractors are hired by property owners to oversee the construction of their buildings, homes, and other construction projects. They work with the architect to ensure the job is completed safely, on time and according to specifications.
Pricing is a major factor in choosing a general contractor, as well as their service level and experience. They may charge a flat fee for their services or a percentage of the total project cost. They also often offer a range of additional services, including project management.
They typically make their money through commissions and markups on materials purchased and labor costs. These fees are usually negotiated with the client before the construction begins.
Their responsibilities include coordinating all activities on a construction site, ensuring the quality of work performed by subcontractors, resolving disputes and maintaining discipline among all parties involved in the project. They are also responsible for the supply chain, timely payment of the workforce and overall financial management.
Licensing is essential for general contractors who want to operate in most states. Licenses require the applicant to provide proof of business registration, a surety bond, and workers’ compensation insurance coverage. They should also have at least $2 million in minimum aggregate coverage.
Getting a license requires the applicant to fill out an application form with information such as name, address, telephone number, and employment history. This form must be filed with the state or local government agency.
The application must be signed and accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the contractor’s current or previous employers. It should also list the name, address, and phone number of any subcontractors who will be working on the project.
To be licensed, general contractors must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They also must be in good health and pass a background check.
A bachelor’s degree in a field such as construction management, civil engineering or surveying is helpful for general contractors. They can also choose to obtain a graduate-level degree in the field.
Realism and agility are key qualities in a general contractor. They can quickly respond to a project’s unforeseen circumstances and adapt to change. They also have an eye for detail and are not afraid to call out shoddy workmanship.
They also need to be familiar with construction and building codes and can handle the complexities of the permitting process. This can be a challenge, as building code requirements vary widely from place to place.
General contractors can be employed by large construction firms or small individual companies. They can also be self-employed or operate under a partnership or LLC.
They typically earn a higher-than-average salary. However, they can earn more if they are able to build a reputation for completing high-quality projects and delivering excellent customer service.