🤔 What does a General Contractor do?

General contractors plan, oversee, and are ultimately responsible for the success of a construction project. 

💸 General Contractor salary and job market

💵  Entry Salary

$84,389

💵  Senior Salary

$150,327

📈 10-Year Growth

8%

🤖 Automation Risk

Low

🙎 What it's like to be a General Contractor

Constructing a new building is a complex process that involves a lot of different specialists—you need cement pourers, framers, carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and the list goes on. Since it would be nearly impossible for someone without construction expertise to manage all this, they hire one person—the general contractor (GC)—to do it for them. 

Owners pay the general contractor, and the general contractor then uses that money to buy the necessary materials and hire everyone else. GCs have an in-depth knowledge of the people and process they’ll need to bring the architect’s plans to life. 

General contractors may build residential homes, or they may oversee large commercial construction projects such as office buildings and businesses. 

You can become a general contractor after you accumulate a lot of work experience as a carpenter, plumber, mason, or electrician working for other GCs yourself. Having an in-depth knowledge of one of the trades will give you credibility. It will also allow you to learn how buildings get built from start to finish.

A relevant bachelor’s degree such as construction management is not required, but may help you get better jobs. Depending on what state or area you live in, you might have to get a license. Finally, you can decide to get certified, which is voluntary but may help lend you credibility.

Successful general contractors are hard-working, organized, and able to handle high levels of complexity. They also need very good people skills—they have to manage dozens or even hundreds of other workers, none of whom work for them directly.

How much you’ll make as a GC depends on experience level, where you live, and whether you work for yourself or a larger construction management company.