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The world of construction is complex, with various professionals handling different tasks to achieve the desired outcome. A critical player in this field is a general contractor. Understanding the role of a general contractor, how they differ from home contractors, their average service costs, and where to find them is instrumental in ensuring the successful execution of a project. This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth understanding of these areas.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

A general contractor is a professional who oversees day-to-day operations at a construction site. They are responsible for managing vendors, trades, and communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project. General contractors have the expertise and experience to carry out large-scale projects and ensure that they are completed on time, within budget, and according to the client's specifications. 

Key roles of general contractors include providing all materials, labor, and equipment needed for the project. They also obtain necessary permits, schedule inspections, manage personnel on-site, and monitor schedules to ensure timely completion. They also provide site surveying and engineering, dispose or recycle construction waste, monitor cash flows, and maintain accurate records. 

Difference Between General and Home Contractors

While there is some overlap in the roles of general and home contractors, important distinctions exist. General contractors manage all aspects of a construction project, whether it's a new building or a renovation. They deal with the big picture and oversee multiple tasks, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining materials and permits, and scheduling inspections.

On the other hand, home contractors, also known as specialty or trade contractors, focus on specific tasks within the larger project. They are experts in a particular area, such as plumbing, electrical work, roofing, or carpentry. A general contractor will typically hire home contractors to handle these specialized tasks.

Average Costs of Services

The cost of hiring a general contractor varies significantly depending on the size and complexity of the project, the materials used, and the region where the work is being done. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for a general contractor ranges from $2,000 to $18,000. However, most homeowners spend between $3,000 to $11,000 or $10 to $50 per square foot, depending on the project's size and scope. 

It's also worth noting that general contractors usually charge a percentage of the total project cost, often ranging from 10% to 20%. This fee is meant to cover their time, labor, and the responsibility they accept for the project.

Popular Websites to Find Contractors

Finding a reputable and experienced general contractor is crucial for a successful project. Numerous online platforms can help you find the right contractor for your needs. Some popular websites include:

  • Angie's List: This site offers a vast database of certified professionals and allows users to read and write reviews about their experiences.

  • HomeAdvisor: HomeAdvisor provides a list of prescreened contractors and allows users to compare quotes from different professionals.

  • Houzz: This platform is not only a source of design inspiration but also a directory of professionals, including general contractors.

  • Thumbtack: Thumbtack allows users to describe their project and receive quotes from interested professionals.

Understanding the role of a general contractor and their distinction from home contractors is paramount in managing construction or renovation projects. Although the costs may vary, hiring a general contractor offers the advantage of having a single point of contact who oversees the project's entirety. Platforms like Angie's List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, and Thumbtack make it easier to find the right professional. By making informed decisions, homeowners can ensure that their projects are executed efficiently, within budget, and to their specifications.