If you have a construction project coming up, whether it is a remodel or a new build, commercial or residential, you will likely be looking for help to get it completed. If you are unfamiliar with the construction industry, then you might have some issues differentiating between the different job titles and jargon that gets thrown around, like knowing the difference between a general contractor and a subcontractor. If you are hoping to get the job done right, you will likely require both of these before the work is done.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is the person you hire to oversee the entire project. This individual or company will have a broad knowledge of a lot of areas of the construction industry and have likely been working in the field or many years or even decades.

Your general contractor will be in charge of important factors in getting the job done like purchasing the correct and right amount of materials to complete the job, scheduling a timeline for your project, obtaining permits from the city office and coordinating with their inspectors, estimating cost and using resources appropriately, managing their own crew, and hiring any needed subcontractors.

One of the most important factors in a general contractor is that they will be communicating directly with you, the owner of the project. This is the person you will be talking with and depending on to get the job done correctly and in the time you both agreed upon.

How to Find a Good General Contractor

Hiring a quality general contractor will be one of the most important factors in a successful project. This person will not only have a lot of experience in construction, but a great contractor will have a good business mind as well and have good multitasking skills. You will want to find someone with experience in your project’s area because one job can vary greatly from the next.

For example, there is a difference between building a residential home and building a school, church, or sporting arena. You will want to find someone who is local to your area and who can give you references for their work. Ask friends you trust to refer you to someone they have worked with and consider looking online.

You will also want to get bids from a couple of different potential candidates and interview them to get a feel for their knowledge and even to see if you want to be depending on and communicating with that person frequently for the duration of the project.

What is a Subcontractor?

A subcontractor is a company or individual who is hired for one specific aspect of the job. They are typically highly trained in one area of the construction field, and this person or company is usually hired directly by the general contractor. Typically, a good general contractor has a short list of people they have a working relationship with and use on every job they do.

While your general contractor does have a working knowledge of every part of the job they are hired for, they will bring in these specialized individuals to help get the job done faster (more hands are better than one) and to ensure that you get the best quality work possible.

Subcontractors are usually hired for part of the project like the electrical, plumbing, framing, dry wall, painting, and more. A lot goes into even the simplest of construction projects, and the job of your general contractor is to allocate your funds to the right people to get your project finished.

Your General Contractor and Subcontractors

The other difference between your general contractor and the subcontractors is that you will likely not be communicating with the subcontractors at all. You hire the general contractor and everyone they bring on is their responsibility. If one of their subcontractors makes a mistake, it is your general contractor’s responsibility to deal with it.

The subcontractors will not be calling you to ask questions; instead, everything will be funneled through your general contractor. This is another reason why finding a great general contractor is so important! Everyone who is hired and everything that gets done will depend on them, so be sure to find someone you are comfortable working with and someone you can depend on!

Looking for a general contractor in Austin for your upcoming construction project? Contact T.F. Harper & Associates LP, an experienced Austin construction company, to learn how we can help.