Unless you have hired both a contractor and a sub-contractor at different times in the past, it is, unfortunately, easy to confuse one with the other. You may think the two are the same professions using different names, but the reality is that each comes with specific skill sets.

General Contractor

A major difference lies in the scope of work covered by the professions. A general contractor oversees an entire project; think of one as a project manager in charge of all construction stages from plan drawings to finishing and everything else in between. Even if a general contractor is not involved in direct day-to-day activities pertaining to the project, the person is responsible for obtaining permits from authorities, ensuring safety in work areas, hiring construction professionals, purchasing materials, and performing inspections among others.


The scope of work handled by a sub-contractor is comparatively smaller because the profession takes charge of a single area of a project. In a home improvement or construction project, the work of a sub-contractor may be limited to any of the following: plumbing, carpentry, painting, flooring, HVAC, electrical installation, roofing, etc. A general contractor can hire multiple sub-contractors in a project. Sub-contractors can be self-employed construction professionals or employees of sub-contracting companies.

The vast majority of general contractors, (of both types) have long-standing business relationships with many subcontractors of various specializations, so they always know who to call when the project demands specific expertise of any kind. As a homeowner, you do not usually interact with sub-contractors. Instead, you communicate with the general contractor who hires and supervises them.

Most home improvement projects can be too challenging to tackle on your own. In times you need some helping hands to sort out all the difficulties and get the job done without breaking the bank, do not hesitate to give us a call.