WHAT DO CONTRACTORS DO: Duties, Salary & All You Should Know

What Do Contractors Do
Image Credit: Engineering News

If you’re curious about the role of contractors and considering a career in construction, you may have wondered, “What do general contractors do?” or “What does a residential general contractor do?” In this article, we’ll help you understand more about responsibilities and opportunities within the contracting field, as well as how to become a contractor and the average salary potential for contractors. By gaining insight into these aspects, you can make informed decisions and embark on a fulfilling career path in the construction industry.

What Do Contractors Do 

Contractors are experts who supervise and manage construction projects. They plan activities, employ subcontractors, and guarantee that projects are completed on time. Contractors also handle budgeting, permits, and compliance with safety standards. Their position entails good communication with customers, architects, and suppliers to enable the seamless implementation of projects. Contractors are essential in delivering high-quality building projects and bringing clients’ aspirations to life.

What Do General Contractors Do 

General contractors are in charge of directing construction projects from beginning to end. They oversee all parts of the project, including task planning, coordination, and execution. They hire and manage subcontractors, ensuring that each trade’s assigned obligations are completed efficiently. General contractors must also get all essential permissions, follow building laws and regulations, and ensure compliance with safety standards. They are in charge of budgeting and cost management, ensuring that the project stays within its budget. Another critical component of a general contractor’s responsibility is communication with customers, architects, and suppliers to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project proceeds smoothly.

General contractors, in addition to directing the construction process, are the primary point of contact for clients. They offer updates, resolve any problems or issues, and ensure that the project fulfills the objectives of the client. Because they are responsible for organizing different trades, managing schedules, and resolving problems that may emerge during the construction process, general contractors must have good organizational and leadership abilities. Their ultimate goal is to complete a successful project on time and within budget that fulfills the client’s vision.

What Does a Residential General Contractor Do

A residential general contractor specializes in overseeing construction projects related to residential properties, such as houses, apartments, or condominiums. They handle all aspects of the project, from initial planning to final completion. This includes coordinating with architects and designers, obtaining permits, and ensuring compliance with local building codes and regulations.

Residential general contractors also play a crucial role in hiring and managing subcontractors, such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, who are responsible for specific tasks within the project. They oversee the scheduling and sequencing of different construction activities to ensure smooth progress and timely completion. Additionally, residential general contractors manage the project budget, including cost estimation, material procurement, and financial tracking. Their goal is to deliver a high-quality residential construction project that meets the client’s specifications and expectations.

How to Become a Contractor 

Becoming a contractor involves several steps to establish yourself in the field of construction. 

  • Gaining relevant education and training in construction or a related field is essential. Pursuing a degree or certification program can provide foundational knowledge and practical skills. 
  • Gaining hands-on experience through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions is valuable in building expertise and understanding the industry.
  • Networking and building professional connections within the construction industry can open doors to opportunities and mentorship. 
  • Joining trade associations, attending industry events, and connecting with established professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance. 
  • Obtaining the necessary licenses and certifications required by your local jurisdiction is crucial to legally operating as a contractor.
  • Developing a strong reputation and track record of successful projects through high-quality work, attention to detail, and timely completion is vital for building a thriving contractor business. 
  • Building a network of trusted subcontractors and suppliers can also contribute to the success of your contracting career. 
  • Finally, continuing education and staying updated with industry trends and regulations are essential to remain competitive and provide the best services to clients.

Contractors Average Salary

The average salary of contractors can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and project scope.  Industry statistics indicate that the typical yearly wage for contractors is between moderate and high, with successful and experienced contractors receiving much higher salaries. It’s crucial to remember that income can vary depending on the state of the market and the availability of projects. Additionally, a contractor’s earning potential may be impacted by elements including specialization, competence, project size, and complexity. The salary of a contractor is influenced by various factors, but with the right skills, experience, and business acumen, contractors have the opportunity to earn a rewarding income in the construction industry.

What Are the Responsibilities of Contractors? 

A contractor designs and supervises construction projects, which are often for commercial or residential structures. Some of their primary roles are as follows:

  • Meeting with clients to evaluate their project requirements.
  • Communicating with clients to address their queries or concerns; providing advice on the best method to finish specific jobs.
  • Developing a timetable and budget for customers.
  • Recruiting subcontractors.
  • They are in charge of supervising their team to guarantee that they are operating safely and efficiently.
  • Obtaining permits and licenses.
  • Acquiring the required goods and equipment.
  • Throughout the project, they inspect their team’s work to verify it satisfies the client’s requirements.

What Do You Need to Be a Contractor in NY? 

To be a contractor in New York, certain requirements must be met. 

  • Obtaining a contractor’s license is necessary. This involves meeting specific criteria set by the state, such as experience, education, and passing a licensing exam. 
  • Contractors in New York are required to have liability insurance coverage to protect themselves and their clients. 
  • It is also important to be familiar with local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance with construction standards. 
  • Building a network of subcontractors, suppliers, and industry professionals can also be beneficial in establishing a successful contracting business in New York.
  • Keeping up with industry trends and continuing education can also help contractors stay competitive in the dynamic construction market of New York.

What’s It Like to Be a Contractor?

Contracting may be both a lucrative and difficult vocation. You get the chance to work on a variety of projects, collaborate with different people, and see actual outcomes. Since you must manage several activities at once, the position calls for great organizational skills. You have to overcome obstacles including short deadlines, limited resources, and unforeseen problems that call for swift problem-solving. Communication abilities are essential while working with customers, suppliers, and subcontractors. Contractors enjoy the thrill of realizing their clients’ ideals and witnessing the physical results of their labor in finished projects. It’s a profession that requires commitment, versatility, and a love of building. 

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Contracting Officer? 

Certain abilities are required to work as a contracting officer. Contract agreements require strong bargaining skills. When dealing with contractors, clients, and other stakeholders, effective communication is essential. When examining contracts and verifying compliance, it is critical to pay close attention to detail. Analytical abilities aid in evaluating offers and making educated decisions. Budgeting and cost analysis require financial knowledge. However, meeting deadlines and handling various contracts require excellent time management abilities. Finally, legal expertise and an awareness of procurement procedures are required for effective contracting activities.

Is Being a Contractor Stressful? 

Being a contractor can be stressful for a variety of reasons. Stress can be exacerbated by tight deadlines, budget constraints, client expectations, and project difficulties. The pressure is increased by the obligation of handling many projects, coordinating subcontractors, and resolving concerns. Unexpected problems and changes in project scope can also boost stress levels. It can be difficult to balance many projects while maintaining client pleasure. However, efficient time management, problem-solving abilities, and the backing of a dependable team can help alleviate stress and ensure project success.

What Are the Disadvantages of Working as a Contractor?

There are disadvantages to working as a contractor. 

  • The lack of job security can also be a concern as contracts are typically temporary and project-based. There can be lulls in activity in between projects, which could make income unclear. 
  • Contractors are in charge of paying for their own benefits, including expensive retirement and healthcare plans. 
  • Contractors must manage the operational responsibilities of running a firm, including customer acquisition, marketing, and financial management. 
  • The industry’s competitiveness and the requirement to constantly seek out new projects may add to the stress and anxiety. 
  • Supervising subcontractors and assuring their dependability and caliber of work can be difficult for contractors. Last but not least, managing legal and contractual issues can be challenging and time-consuming.

Is the Contractor Worth It?

Depending on a person’s unique situation and professional objectives, one might decide whether being a contractor is worthwhile. Although there are difficulties and unknowns, contracting has various benefits. Contractors have more freedom over their work schedules, the ability to determine their own fees, and the chance to be their own boss. They can also select tasks that fit their hobbies and areas of skill.

Additionally, contractors may be able to make more money, particularly if they have a lot of experience and a good reputation. Seeing projects through to completion and having the chance to advance professionally can also be fulfilling. Before deciding whether a career in contracting is worthwhile, it is crucial to thoroughly study the benefits and drawbacks, evaluate your financial and professional goals, and take into account the risks and obligations.


Who is a contractor engineer?

A self-employed engineering contractor provides consultation or specialized expertise to clients on a project-by-project basis. They are typically hired for the services they can provide for a set amount of time to work on a specific project.

In the construction industry, who is above a project manager?

A construction supervisor is a person in charge of overseeing the entire construction process, from design to conclusion. They are in charge of conducting interviews and hiring people for the employment site

Can a project manager also work as a contractor?

You operate as a contractor for a company as a contract project manager, providing management for the duration of a single project. In this capacity, you may be in charge of guiding the project to completion, managing expenses, and ensuring that other staff carry out their roles and responsibilities.


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