Contractors vs. Subcontractors: Which One To Choose?

Contractors vs. Subcontractors: Which One To Choose?

Can one man ever build a house on his own? If he has all the time in the world, then yes, that is doable. Most people, however, would just rather leave the building to the experts.

Contractors and subcontractors are very important to the construction industry. They have professional experience tucked under their belts, and they know the industry standards when it comes to creating homes, buildings and all man-made structures one can imagine. But what exactly are their roles in the business? How do they work together in ensuring that construction projects are delivered right to the very minute detail of the project plan?


Role of Contractors

In the construction industry, a contractor is a team of knowledgeable people in the construction business who works to complete a building project. In most cases, clients select contractors through bidding. They are either invited by project owners to bid, or the project is made public through publications for prospective contractors to send in their bids to the client.

Contractors will work with the client to execute the project plan until the final output is delivered. The construction project manager, who is part of the contractor’s team, will make sure that all specifications on the project plan and relayed by the project owner will be done and completed on time and without exceeding the project budget. Some contractors have a pool of workers they use to do certain tasks in the construction site, but some contractors rely on external parties who are considered experts in their line of work. The contractor is also responsible for hiring this team to complete a specific job that is not part of their scope of work.

How Subcontractors Work

Subcontractors are separate business entities known for their respective fields. Most subcontractors are licensed professional workers certified by the government. Compared to contractors, subcontractors are hired for their specializations like plumbing, electrical wiring, painting and landscaping. For example, a ten-story building needs a fire exit ladder to comply with the building code’s safety standards. The contractor will contact fire exit ladder suppliers to ask for quotations. With the project budget in mind, the contractor will select the ones who gave the best deal and sign them in to supply what is needed for the construction.

Working as a Team

An important key to have a successful contractor-subcontractor-project owner relationship is trust. Clients should always maintain good communication with the contractor and the subcontractor, and vice versa, so that work will remain smooth and harmonious. In the same manner, both contractors and subcontractors should be open to any constructive criticism from the project owner to improve their work.

Contractors and subcontractors should also learn to compromise, cooperate and communicate with one another. Without these, both parties will not be able to execute the project plan efficiently, causing delays in delivery. After all, they both have just one objective: to complete a project in a safe and timely manner and in a very cost-efficient way.

Written by Kent Murdock, owner of Randy Adams Construction in Columbia, MO. Randy Adams Construction is one of the premiere companies for construction in Columbia, MO.

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