When it comes to construction, people wonder what a general contractor is and precisely what they do. It does not necessarily mean it is a person. A general contractor can also be a company. When a construction project is complete, they are in charge and oversee the project until completion. A general contractor strives to have the structures, buildings, and projects better built than their competition.

General contractors have skills that require passion in making things and using their hands for hard work. Skill is the most crucial aspect in the construction field. There is are no mandatory requirements for a college education, but most find value with a bachelor’s degree in construction science. The more education, the better the credentials and higher chances of getting awarded the bids they place. It will also help them attain their general construction license, which is required to do work in every state. Every state is different in its requirements.

The Job Description

In detail, from start to finish, a general contractor begins by communicating with the customer and doing a thorough walk-through to know and understand what the customer is expecting out of the project. Once the walk-through is completed, an estimate is given to the customer, called bidding when competing for the project.

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If a company is underbid and the customer chooses another contractor, it continues this first step until a project is awarded to the general contractor. When they receive the word they have been awarded the bid, they begin gathering the materials and work as supervisors to the project. Most are considered lead foreman or supervisors as they remain working with the crew until the job is completed. They ensure everything is running smoothly, safely, and on time. The general contractors are responsible for the labor, materials, and equipment. Everything must be made available to get the job done.

In most construction jobs, the general contractor will oversee the plumbing, carpentry, specialized work, mechanical, and electrical. Sometimes if the project is on a tight schedule, they may take the responsibility to subcontract out other companies as they supervise, so all areas are being worked on at the same time if it is in different areas of the structure. For example, the electric company will not show up at the same time as the plumbing because water and electricity do not mix.

Sticking to the Budget

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Everything mentioned will be included in the estimate. It is critical for the general contractor to remain as close to the written estimate as much as possible. Otherwise, they face over budgeting, causing a loss of profit. There are times that a customer will change their mind in the middle of a project and ask for more than what was bid on in the beginning. When this happens, if the contractor sees fit that it is safe to add-ons to the job, they will redo another budget in the middle of the project. They work to please the customer as much as possible, but it is rare to make changes in the middle of the project. Many companies will require a deposit that covers all or part of the material needed for the project. This is also the promise that the customer will pay in full when the job is completed.

At the Time of Closing

A general contractor is merely that, an independent contractor. All parties agree on all the work in a written contract stating the general contractor will provide the job in a timely, safe manner with the best quality work guaranteeing they will leave with the customer satisfied.

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In return, the customer promises to pay the deposit if there is one required and the closing cost when the job is completed. Once the job is paid in full upon completion, the general contractor guarantees their work for a certain amount of time, better known as a warranty.

Any subcontractors are the responsibility of the general contractor. Everything is included in the cost under the labor. The final farewell takes place, and the wise will always refer the general contractors to their friends, family, and neighbors if the job was well done, called “word of mouth.”