A general contractor is a person who performs a wide range of jobs within the construction industry. A general contractor, principal contractor or subcontractor is in charge of the day-to-day oversight of an entire construction site, from planning and design to the actual execution and maintenance of materials and projects. There are different types of general contractors that perform different types of jobs. There are general contractors that perform residential work, general contractors who work on commercial construction and there are contractors that specialize in one particular type of construction. These types of general contractors can be further categorized as concession contractors, project managers, project architects, project managers, project supervisors, project managers, and supervising engineers.
When you are looking to hire a general contractor, there are many things that you need to take into consideration. One of these is their licensing. All contractors who wish to operate in the construction industry must have passed and keep up to date with most if not all state and local codes. This is to ensure that your contractor is legally able to perform the work that you are asking him to do.
Each state has its own set of guidelines when it comes to licensing for general contractors. Most states require that applicants for licensure must have at least a high school diploma. Some require the completion of an apprenticeship program or a certificate course in project management. Once you have obtained the necessary paperwork and documents required for licensing, you will have to appear before the board of examiners. During the licensing process you will be asked questions regarding your training, work experience, work history and references. The applicant must successfully pass a comprehensive examination before becoming licensed.
There are a few things that you should consider when hiring a general contractor to complete a large construction project. If you only need a few subcontractors, you may be able to get by with just a general contractor. However, if you are constructing a large project that includes several different subcontractors you will be better served by working with one licensed professional. In this instance you will be required to retain a contract with the individual subcontractor as well as a business license and insurance coverage.
If you decide to hire a general contractor without first obtaining a license bond, you run the risk of being charged with contractor fraud. Fraud is a serious offense and is a very costly one with penalties ranging from heavy fines to jail time. It is also very important for anyone considering working as a general contractor to submit to and pass a thorough credit check. Credit checks can reveal whether or not the applicant has bad business practices, is divorced or currently married. A poor credit history will also make it difficult to acquire financing in the construction industry which could mean that you have to pay significant upfront costs for materials or pay significantly higher rates for your labor.
Be sure that you fully understand the general contractor license requirements before hiring anyone to work for you. Most states require potential general contractors to pass either a general contractor exam or a licensing exam prior to being granted a certificate of eligibility to do business in that state. There is also a significant bonding requirement that each general contractor must satisfy. Be sure that your prospective general contractors are able to pass these tests and are in fact licensed before hiring them. Your best interests are served when you hire someone who is both licensed and bonded. This ensures that the job is done right and that your construction projects will be completed on schedule and within the budget set by you.