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General Contractors vs Specialty Contractors: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking into home remodeling services, you have likely come across the terms “contractor” and “subcontractor.” The differences between the two may seem confusing to some at first, but there are some key distinctions between them. Read on to learn how they differ so you can hire the right professionals for your next remodel.

What are Contractors?

A contractor—most often called a general contractor—is someone who takes on most types or all aspects of remodeling projects. As the title suggests, contractors will provide you with a contractual agreement that specifies the scope and details of a remodeling project, including project and payment schedules.

General contractors are also in charge of the entire project, from start to finish. This means that they take responsibility for completing the job within the agreed upon time frame, communicating any changes in schedule or product delays. It is within their job to provide their workers with ample materials and equipment for the project at hand, in addition to upholding OSHA safety standards, and monitoring the work done by their teams.

What are Specialty Contractors?

There are two primary characteristics that differentiate specialty contractors, also referred to as trade contractors or subcontractors from general contractors. Contractors that work for individual contractors or remodeling companies, rather than creating a contract directly with the client are considered sub-contractors. Subcontractors working on your remodeling project, are not the ones in charge of schedules, equipment, or any other managerial duties. Instead, these subcontractors are only focused on the responsibilities that were assigned to them by the general contractor. While a contractor is considered a subcontractor if they are working for another contractor, the quality of their work reflects positively or negatively on the primary contractor in charge. As a result, the quality of their work reflects positively or negatively on the contractor in charge.

Subcontractors will also frequently specialize in one area of construction, such as plumbing, electrical, painting, roofing, etc.

Related Content: How Remodeling Contractors are Adapting to COVID-19 Pandemic

How Subcontractors and General Contractors Compare

So, should you hire subcontractors or general contractors for your project? There’s no definitive answer, as this decision will depend on different factors unique to your remodeling project. Some factors to consider: The size of your project, your construction experience, your available time to manage your own project.

For example, if you’re planning a whole home remodel, it’s definitely best to hire a general contractor to oversee and manage the whole project. But if what you need happens to be a roof, a floor or painting a specific trade contractor is likely fine. Whoever you choose to go with, be sure to check references and customer reviews. When a general contractor hires trade contractors, they are there to complete a specific job like installing windows or drywall. General contractors who hire trade contractors are responsible for the final quality and warranty on your project.

Subcontractors and general contractors vary in the services they provide and the responsibilities they have. Specialty contractors are often good at completing specialized projects like plumbing, electrical, flooring, or insulation projects

If you’re undertaking a more extensive remodeling project, you should hire a general contractor to ensure your project is managed well to be completed in a timely manner.

Related Content: Pros and Cons of Hiring a General Contractor for Your Project

Hiring the Right Professionals

As you can see there are clear differences between general contractors and specialty contractors. As for which is better, this depends on the size and type of remodeling project you desire.

Still undecided? Don’t hesitate to seek advice from the experts. Gordon Reese Design Build is an award-winning company that specializes in premier home remodeling projects. We can help you come up with the perfect plan for your project and would love to hear about your remodel. Call us today at 925.261.7257 to learn more about what we can do for you!

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