Contractor vs. Subcontractor – What’s the difference?
When people are planning to construct their own home, or a commercial building as a business start-up, they usually get confused whether to work with contractors or subcontractors. Well, basically, contractors deal directly with clients and oversee what the subcontractors are doing. They provide people with estimated costs and timeline for their building projects and keep them updated about the progress and occurring problems. One the other hand, several subcontractors are hired for a building project and each one of them is given a specific task like running the wiring across the building, installing pipes, and framing the walls, etc. The contractors are responsible for supervising the work of these subcontractors and ensuring that everything is on track.
Moreover, contractors are usually self-employed and choose the projects they want to manage. They have mostly specialized in a certain skill and perform specific tasks of the project, while for the other tasks they hire subcontractors.
Let’s have a look at the job responsibilities of both contractors and subcontractors and how they differ from one another:
Job Responsibilities of Contractors
As discussed above, contractors deal directly with the clients. They work with engineers and architects and draft the project plan. This planning includes the estimated cost and time of the project, project schedule, materials requires, and attributes that fulfil the client’s requirements. In addition, they have the responsibility to make adjustments in the plan in case there is an accident or any unforeseen complication.
The primary goal of contractors is to ensure that all the tasks are completed in a specific time frame and within a given budget in spite of accidents or unexpected problems. Moreover, they participate in certain parts of the construction process, hire subcontractors and supervise their work, and organize the workforce. Contractors also deal with government and lawyers to ensure that all building requirements are fulfilled.
Job Responsibilities of Subcontractors
Subcontractors usually have a certain skill set and work on building projects under the guidelines of contractors. For every phase of a construction project, from land clearing to laying the foundation to final finishing, subcontractors are required. Also, each project phase needs a different subcontractor to complete the tasks. It is because all these tasks have their own tools set and require professionals who have specialized in their usage. These tools include trowels for pouring foundation, circuit breakers for working with the wiring, pipe cutters, and shovels etc. To use each of these tools, the subcontractor should have certain skills, and also the ability to work with the contractor and other subcontractors to ensure that part fits well with the others.
To help you understand better, we’ve listed down the pros and cons of hiring contractors and subcontractors. Read on:
Pros of Hiring a Contractor
- He will ensure that every aspect of the construction project is being taken care of.
- Contractors are experienced, insured, and licensed.
- He will hire subcontractors when they are required for the construction project.
- You can negotiate the costs with a good contractor.
Cons of Hiring a Contractor
- Contractors don’t perform all tasks themselves.
- They can be very costly at times, depending on the project size.
- They mostly hire subcontractors to get different tasks completed which increases the overall cost of the project.
Pros of Hiring a Subcontractor
- Subcontractors are usually very efficient and fast as they have specialized in certain tasks.
- They are mostly available on short notices and are willing to do extra work.
- They charge much less than contractors.
- Hiring a subcontractor is a great idea if you want more flexibility in your project.
Cons of Hiring a Subcontractor
- They are not always as loyal or committed as permanent employees are, or as contractors are.
- They don’t deal with the clients directly, which means you have no control over their hiring process and the quality of work they’re offering.