What's the Difference Between Subcontractors & Contractors

Submitted by Tech Support on
Subcontractors & Contractors

When you’re getting started on the planning and negotiating stages of a construction project, you’ll probably find yourself with a list of unfamiliar terms and titles. One sometimes confusing distinction is that between the general contractor and subcontractor. Here are the differences and the purpose of each.

General Contractor

The general contractor is the person or company you hire to spearhead the entire project. You enter into a contract with them in order to accomplish the construction services you need. In most cases, they will coordinate hiring any subcontractors themselves.

Contractors are the ‘labor and services’ component of the construction project, but you should hash out all details beforehand and only enter into a contract if you feel completely understood and trusting. Details will include the costs associated with the subcontractors in addition to other expenses of the project.


In a construction project, a subcontractor is usually someone in a specialized field, such as a plumber or electrician. They are hired by the general contractor to take on some part of the project. So, if your upcoming project requires electrical work or roofing or some other specialized service, a subcontractor will take on that work.

Subcontractors often bid on projects for contractors as the estimated costs are usually already agreed upon. Once one is selected, they enter into a contract to complete the work for that dollar amount and within a set timeline. Both general and subcontractors are beholden to specific laws based on their agreements.

For you, the consumer, the difference is nice to know but not completely necessary. A trustworthy general contractor will take care of all the subcontractor things on your behalf. However, if you have any questions about it, be sure to ask your contractor!

Need a general contractor or have more questions about what we offer? Contact Benchmark Construction today!