General Contractor VS Specialty Contractor

General Contractor VS Specialty Contractor

Contractors are an important part of the construction industry. They’re the folks who organize the work, make sure everything is moving according to schedule and generally oversee the work that’s being done. That said, being a contractor isn’t a one-size-fits-all position. There are a few different types of contractors, though they can mostly be characterized as either general contractors or specialty contractors.

What’s the difference between general and specialty contractors? There are a few differences, actually. To get a better understanding of the two, let’s look at what is unique about each type of contractor.

What Is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is the one who oversees an entire project – and that’s what a lot of people think of when they picture a construction contractor. There are two primary types of general contractors: General engineering contractors and general building contractors. The two fill different roles and most of the time, have different licensing standards as well.

General engineering contractors hold what’s known as a Class A license and have specialized knowledge and skills that cover a range of niches or industries. General building contractors typically have a Class B license and are more focused on a single niche or specialization. Both of these contractors oversee the work that’s done on their projects, though contractors with a Class A license are more likely to be in charge of large-scale projects such as building dams, bridges or roads while those with a Class B license focus on individual construction or framing projects.

Ok, So What Is a Specialty Contractor?

A specialty contractor typically holds a Class C license, indicating that they have a very special set of skills and experiences that is specific to one particular niche. This specialization makes them especially suited for certain tasks in construction and maintenance, resulting in them often being used as subcontractors or hired for certain renovation projects. While the work available to a specialty contractor is typically more restricted based on licensing than what’s available for general contractors, they are very valuable on the job site since they and their crew are experts within their specialization.

Which Type of Contractor Is Best?

There is no “best” when it comes to the debate of general contractors vs. specialty contractors; each type of contractor has a role to fill and will be an important part of any job that they’re on. General contractors act as overseers for an entire project (or at least significant portions of a project), while specialty contractors bring their crews to do specific tasks within the project. In most cases, the two will work together to ensure that the project gets completed with the highest quality work possible.

Should You Specialize?

Whether you should specialize or work as a general contractor depends on both what type of work you’re most comfortable with and your personal preferences. General contractors are more likely to take on big jobs and delegate responsibility across subcontractors as needed; these are the contractors who are “in charge” of the projects and who ultimately sign off on everything that’s done on the job site. Specialty contractors only work specific parts of the job, but they’re entrusted with ensuring that those portions of the work are done safely and correctly. Deciding whether or not to specialize comes down to figuring out whether you want to focus on one specific part of a job or if you want to oversee the entire operation.

Do you work as a general contractor, or do you specialize in a particular niche?