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Subcontractors : Does Your Contractor Have a Good Team?

When you hire a general contractor to complete a home renovation or building project, you don’t just hire the general contractor. You’re also hiring that general contractor’s team, which is typically full of subcontractors.

A subcontractor is a service provider hired by a project organizer or general contractor to perform a specific service. Think of painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and the like. When you hire a general contractor to take care of your home remodeling project, that general contractor has to have a team of experts who can work on your project.

When we say you’re also hiring the subcontractors when you hire a general contractor, we don’t mean that you have to personally find, interview, hire, and manage each of those subcontractors. That’s what your general contractor is for. The general contractor—a good general contractor, that is—will have an established group of subcontractors she trusts to work on ongoing projects. It’s her job, as a general contractor, to vet those subcontractors so they are exceptionally skilled, reliable, and honest. It’s also her job to schedule those subcontractors, communicate with them, fix any issues that arise, and ensure that the end result is exactly what you had in mind. Each subcontractor is like a piece in the puzzle of your home renovation project; it’s your general contractor’s job to make sure everything fits just right.

A subcontractor works on a specific element of your project, meaning that the general contractor is there from start to finish but a subcontractor’s function begins and ends at very specific points in time. A painter, for example, isn’t on site until the walls are ready for paint; but your general contractor has done all the work before then of working with the subcontractor who installed the drywall and the subcontractor who did the carpentry so that when it’s time to paint, all the painter has to do is paint.

If this seems like a lot, you’re right—it can be. But that’s why having a general contractor is so important. A general contractor understands the process. She also knows subcontractors who make her look good—meaning they do exceptional work and can be trusted to finish the work on time and in budget. A good general contractor orchestrates and coordinates a team of subcontractors so that the end project is perfect.

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