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Types of Subcontractors a General Contractor Employs

A general contractor is a company or individual that wants to do business by acquiring contracts and executing them in their particular field of interest. An organization that provides general contractor services in Los Angeles deals with the construction or renovation of homes and will have a set of skills. To augment what they have to offer or to expedite the completion of a project, they may employ a subcontractor.


Also working on a contractual basis, a subcontractor offers a specialized set of skills for customers. The key distinction is that the subcontractor has an agreement with the contractor, not with the customer.


Many general contractors work with subcontractors due to the variety of services a subcontractor can offer. A general contractor may complete a portion of the work themselves, but many others will hire special trade subcontractors so the successful completion of a project is guaranteed.


A high-level view of the process looks like this:


  • The homeowner negotiates a contract with the general contractor to renovate or build their home.
  • The general contractor negotiates a contract with a subcontractor with specialized skills to work on the plumbing, roof, etc.
  • The subcontractor is authorized to perform the work and is overseen by the general contractor.

The Types of Subcontractors Employed by General Contractors


There are subcontractors who specialize in plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. They are also referred to as specialty contractors or mechanical contractors if they can do plumbing and HVAC. Some subcontractors in this category choose to specialize even further by concentrating on one area such as plumbing or heating and air conditioning. This type of subcontractor is very important to the industry.


Another group of subcontractors specialize in electrical work. This type is rather broad in the field of construction and renovation because there are so many things an electrical subcontractor can work on. Two vital tasks they oversee are the installation of fire alarms and telecommunication systems.


Painting and hanging paper are also trade specialties. Subcontractors in this category may paint bridges or stationary electric towers. They don’t paint roofs, which is a separate trade entirely.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration categorizes those who perform stonework, masonry, plastering and tile setting under one umbrella. But OSHA does divide the overall group further to make it more manageable. When renovating a home, those who specialize in drywall, insulation, and plastering are very valuable because every home or building has a layer between the interior sections and the exterior walls.


Another vital group of subcontractors are those who perform floor work and carpentry. Carpenters have many skills that include building cabinetry, installing cabinets, working on doors and framing of all types. Frequently, they are also in charge of the finishes and trim on a project. Flooring is also significant with every project, so hiring the proper subcontractor is important in guaranteeing the floor is installed properly and the customer’s need are met.


Subcontractors may be a business or an individual. The majority are not considered employees of the contractor. Instead, they are an independent contractor hired to work on the project. Depending on the agreement between the general contractor and the subcontractor, the latter may be required to provide their own equipment and materials for the project they are hired.


There are numerous benefits subcontractors offer to general contractors including the reduction of overall costs to the project and mitigation some of the risk. Companies that offer general contractor services in Los Angeles will be able to tell you more about the process.


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