Contractor? General Contractor? What’s The Difference?

By Doherty • July 4th, 2011
Contractor cuts piping at the Fort Hamilton Co...

Image by USACEpublicaffairs via Flickr

A general contractor is the main contractor you have to hire for a major renovation project.  The general contractor though, has other subcontractors that he oversees for the renovation of your home.  The repair and maintenance contractors you need are very different from the general contractor.  A maintenance contractor might be for gutter cleaning Kennesaw while a general contractor is not so specific.

Typically the General Contractor does not provide the labor to build the house.  The laborers come from the subcontractors or the trades. This may include carpenters for roughens, excavators, flooring, painting, concrete sub, plumber, electrician, roofer, and the finish carpenter.  The general contractor hires the subcontractors and holds their contracts. Holding the contract means that they are working for him, they are under contract to him and he pays them directly.  When you hire a general contractor you only have a contract with him not all the subs.  The general contractor marks up the subcontractor’s fee a certain percentage of the construction amount.

For this fee the contractor does all the managing and scheduling of the subs.  He also pays, provides supervision of the construction, provides dumpsters, port-a-john, insurance and other miscellaneous things involved in the construction project. The contractors make money by charging for labor and by marking up the materials.  The general contractor is referred to the generalist and the subs are the specialist.  Whenever you need just a specific thing fixed in your home you would always hire a specialist.  A specialist would be for an example a plumber or electrician.  When hiring someone for maintenance task some people just hire a guy with a magnet advertising on the side of his truck but in reality he is not licensed at all.  This could be people like gutter cleaners, painters or lawncare.  Usually using these types do work out but you must be careful because you do not have the legal protection as with using a licensed contractor.  It’s just better to use common sense and keep yourself protected by going with someone who is licensed.

It’s usually easy to tell the unlicensed contractors or scam artist or possibly someone who is just trying to get in your home.  Use wisdom and do your homework to avoid the following pitfalls.

1. Unlicensed contractors often go door-to-door claiming they “just finished a job down the street and we’re in the neighborhood and noticed your roof needs patching.”

2. They may rush you and twist their words stating, “If you act now, you’ll get a special price.”

3. Unlicensed contractors either neglect to pull construction permits or they ask you to do it for them. If you do this, you are assuming liability for the project as well as the contractor’s mistakes.

4. Some states require contractors to list their license numbers on their vehicles, their estimates and their advertising. If a contractor has not done that, this is usually a bad sign.

5. If you see a license number in an ad, and it has a different number of letters, numerals and digits than all the other licenses, this probably means it is a bogus license number.

6. Be wary if a contractor provides only a PO box or cell number. That may mean he does not have credibility in the community and could skip town when people start to complain.

7. Unlicensed contractors often ask for a lot of money up front if not the whole amount. Consider this a red flag and try not to pay any money in advance. If you must, keep the amount to a minimum.

Stop by and learn more about Kennesaw gutter cleaning.

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