What is a general contractor?
When starting a home remodel or new construction project, you will probably hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to take a set of building plans and construct them as outlined. The general contractor may help perform the day-to-day building, or they may just hire workers and oversee all the work activities. In either case, the job of the general contractor is to see that your project gets built.
When you have a building project, ask for bids from various contractors. The bids tell you how much each will charge and what their scope of work will be. Once you have selected a bid, you sign a contract with that general contractor outlining the specifics of the project and the milestones during the project when they will receive payment installments. Once the contract is official, the general contractor will bring in their crew to begin construction. The contractor will manage the workers and subcontractors (anyone who doesn’t work directly for their company but that they need to outsource, like a marble installation pro), order all the materials, obtain work permits, and confirm that all the workers and subcontractors are completing their projects as planned. They typically handle all the payments to the workers and subcontractors, and send you invoice. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor. If you are organized and competent to oversee construction projects, and are able to make sure everything is being built properly and meeting code, it’s possible you can be your own general contractor.
How much do general contractors charge per hour?
On average, a general contractor will charge around $50 per hour for their services. However, the range of their fees varies between $30 and $85 per hour, depending on your geographical location and the type of project they’re undertaking.
You can get a better idea of how much it will cost to hire a general contractor by requesting free estimates from contractors near you.
What kind of jobs can a general contractor do?
General contractors can complete all types of projects, from small home repairs and new construction, from building a new home to landscaping an entire yard. General contractors may specialize in plumbing, framing, electrical, foundations or roofing projects, and they can work on commercial or residential buildings.
Before hiring a general contractor, make sure the contractor holds the proper licenses, registration, insurance and certifications required by your city or state.
What do general contractors charge?
If you’re doing a home remodel, building a new home or embarking on a commercial building project, you’ll hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to oversee and execute construction projects. Each construction project is unique; even two duplicate homes built on lots next door to each other could have different construction costs due to factors like different excavation costs when building the foundation. Since each project is unique, many general contractors make bids on potential construction projects. These bids can then break down to a per square foot cost that encompasses the labor of all the workers needed for the job, materials, the scope of work, and any equipment needed. Materials and finishes make a major difference in your cost per square foot. For example, choosing standard kitchen tiles at $3 per square foot will result in a lower total project cost than imported marble tiles that cost $63 per square foot. Where you live will also affect how much general contractors charge, as labor and the cost to do business can cost less in many regions than in high-cost areas like New York or San Francisco. Here are some examples of average costs general contractors typically charge in various regions:
- Home addition in San Francisco: $250-$270 per square foot.
- New home construction in Knoxville, Tennessee: $100-$200 per square foot.
- Kitchen remodel in Tennessee: $40-$80 per square foot, depending on finishes.
- Bathroom remodel in Vancouver, Washington: $110-$170 per square foot.
Be sure to check out our smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.
How do you hire a general contractor?
You can use Thumbtack to find local general contractors, read their customer ratings and get cost estimates. First, read the written reviews to learn about their professionalism, paying attention to photos for evidence of their workmanship. You should also verify their license, insurance and other credentials.
For more tips, read our guide on how to hire a contractor.
How do you choose a commercial general contractor?
A commercial contractor provides similar services as a residential general contractor but specializes in working with large-scale projects for businesses, schools, nonprofits, governments and development firms. When researching commercial general contractors, review their portfolio of work and confirm they have ample experience working in the area you need. For example, if you are building a small strip mall, ask if the contractors have experience successfully incorporating all the needed elements such as a parking lot, meeting ADA requirements, accessing the proper permits, and completing work on time.
Once you’ve identified several qualified candidates, request bids for your project and then compare the scope of work with your needs and budget. Your commercial general contractor should oversee design, permitting, construction, materials purchase, and adherence to building code and zoning regulations, as well as sticking to an agreed-upon budget and schedule. It’s important to establish clear communication with your future commercial general contractor, as this will mean a smoother process for everyone. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.
What does general liability insurance cover for contractors?
For contractors, general liability insurance is an important part of protecting businesses and contractors. This type of insurance will vary in its details and scope, but it can generally be expected to cover damage to the property and injuries. Here’s how you can verify a pro’s insurance.
How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?
Nationally, the average cost of bathroom remodeling is $14,000. Bathroom remodels can vary widely, from standard makeovers to luxurious master bathroom revamps. The factors that affect your bathroom remodeling cost are the finishes you choose (marble tiles can cost 20 times as much as standard subway tiles), the square footage of the project, regional labor rates in your area and the scope of work. Changing the layout or size of the bathroom will also raise costs. Moving electrical wiring and plumbing lines will also dramatically increase costs, as you’ll need to hire plumbers and electricians to handle the work. What’s happening behind your walls and under your floor will also affect bathroom remodeling cost: Rot, damage or mold can lead to additional work and charges. Overall, bathroom remodeling may offer great return on investment and also improve your daily life. Here are some examples of average bathroom remodeling costs:
- 6-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $3,500, including labor and materials.
- Standard renovation: $6,500-$10,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased. Labor may include taking out the shower and shower pan, installing new shower pan and shower, and installing new door, new vanity, new mirror, new bathroom fan, and all new fixtures.
- Price variation depends on the quality of the finishes.
- 10-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $7,200, including labor and materials.
- Mid-range renovation: $12,000-$15,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased.
- Upscale renovation: $35,000 and up. Price includes labor and materials. Items might include digital displays for fixtures, multiple shower heads and custom showers.
For more on how to remodel a bathroom, what it costs to remodel a bathroom, what bathroom brands to consider and more check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
Are there ways to be safe if I hire a general contractor when social distancing?
If you decide to hire a general contractor, avoid any physical contact, don’t shake hands, keep 6 feet of distance between you and the pro and sanitize all involved surfaces. Also, use digital platforms to communicate and make payments.
What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?
To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.
Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.