General Contractor

General Contractor Definition: What they Do, and How they Get Paid

What is a General Contractor?

Here’s the best general contractor definition for the construction industry:

A general contractor is a party with the responsibility to oversee a construction project and who enters into the prime contract with the property owner.

The general contractor is sometimes known as the direct contractor, and this is very important when it comes to getting paid. We’ll explain why by first explaining what is meant by using the terms “direct” and “prime.” A DIRECT contractor is a party who contracts with and is hired directly by the owner of the property. Another name for this is the PRIME contractor. This is determined by who the agreement is with, and not the nature of the work, the name of the company in question, or any other factor.

To put it another way: if your construction company is working on a project or job, and you were hired directly by the property owner, then that makes you the direct or prime contractor. The general contractor is always going to be a direct contractor. However, not all direct contractors necessarily see themselves as “general” contractors.

To illustrate this point, let’s take roofers as an example. Often when an existing roof needs to be repaired or replaced, a roofing company might be hired directly by the property owner to do the work. In this case, that roofer would be the direct (general) contractor. On the other hand, if the project is commercial, new construction and the roofer is hired by the general contractor that’s overseeing the entire project, then the roofer would probably be a subcontractor in that case.

There are many, many examples of construction companies that serve as the general contractor on some projects and jobs (when they are hired directly by the owner), while they are subcontractors on other jobs (when they are hired by someone other than the owner). When it comes to getting paid, this distinction is very important.

Getting paid on a construction project is one of these things where the details really matter, and one of these details that matters a great deal is the role that the party in question has on the project. “General contractor,” “subcontractor,” “material supplier,” and “property owner” are all examples of potential roles on a construction project (though there are many more, of course).

Your Project Role is Determined by who Hired you to Work on the Project

Figuring out your “role” seems like it would be very easy. However, we frequently hear from folks in the industry that they have trouble determining how to classify their role on certain projects. “Am I supposed to be the GC on this job, or am I considered a subcontractor?” Here at levelset, we get questions like this one every single day.

Here are a few of the major project payment issues that are affected by a party’s role on the project, and how these issues relate to general contractors.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

What our clients say about us

Excellent
Based on 64 reviews
Rob Ransom
Rob Ransom
30 January 2024
GI Construction - January 2024 I do not give 5 star ratings – As a process improvement professional, there is always room for improvement. 4 star is fabulous, but since this is an algorism I will deviate from my norm. In 2021 I had gone out to bid, only to find out that most construction and supply houses had prices that I found to be unacceptable. Products such as shower heads, faucets and cabinets were priced extremely high, they were also hard to get. So, we put this on hold and did smaller projects; outdoors, flooring, kitchen, etc. to show you we were getting introduced to construction projects. In October 2023, we went out to bid on renovating our 30-year-old, 2.5 bathrooms in Las Vegas. I reviewed many companies and found 3 that were reviewed well and had no issues with the board of contractors. After review of their costs and discussing how they would work the project, we decided on GI. They started the work when we had purchased all the materials that we needed to purchase, (shower heads, cabinets, basins, tile for the showers and floors, etc. They started their day at 7 am and worked to 3 PM. They take pride in the work and make sure it is done correctly. As an example, Jose (one of the tile guys) did the main bathroom shower and flooring. He worked his artistry in making it extremely beautiful. He would cut a piece for one of the benches, use it on top and take the other piece he just cut and place it in front, so it was a continuation. He did this on each of the benches and step over in the entrance. Just look closely at the main shower enclosure and you will see the quality. Problems yes! We were phasing in the project the main bathroom and ½ bath first, then the guest bathroom. After the main bathroom was completed, I turned on the hot water in the glass vessels we had picked out. I was waiting for the water in the shower to get warm. I turned around and saw the water was hot going into the vessel, so I turned it off – I thermal shocked the glass, it broke, fell to the floor, chipped the new tile and generally made things a mess! I called the team manager (Valentin) and told him what had happened, his response was “No problem - We’ll take care of it.” So, I reordered the glass vessels and got them re-installed. The tile I repaired with a chip kit I had used when we had redone the tile the prior year. The other issue we encountered was we lived in the home during the construction. Dust everywhere and constantly cleaning to keep the house livable. The bottom line to me is the quality of the people that are doing the work and their dedication to the customer’s complete satisfaction is one of the things that made this less arduous. The entire project took 7 weeks; 2 weeks delay due to our buying the wrong products and having to find replacement products. The GI team worked with us, guiding us to right suppliers and helping wherever they could. I will put pictures of GI Construction’s finished work and during the project. Hopefully you will be able to tell their quality. Just a side note: Valentin and his teams kept this project going Monday thru Friday. They don’t work on the weekends, but pulled a half day on Saturday a couple of times to meet my schedule. I can’t say enough of Valentin’s professionalism! The customer is always in the forefront of his mind, making them feel good, lowering their anxiety about the project.
Katherine Long
Katherine Long
20 December 2023
My experience with GI Construction was great. Construction Workers was very pleasant and timely.
kylan becho
kylan becho
14 November 2023
We reached out to GI Construction to do some work for our bathroom remodel and could not be happier with our experience. They were professional from start to finish, always on time, answered any questions I had throughout the project, and just did a great job overall. During our planning stage Isaac really took his time to ensure that the work they were doing was going to be both functional and practical. Both he and Valentin wanted to make sure that they were giving us the best possible product and went over every possible design to help us choose the best one for our needs. In a time where good, trustworthy contractors are hard to find, GI Construction sets a standard that should be held across the industry. Thank you GI Construction for all your work, it was worth every penny!
Rose Carter
Rose Carter
17 August 2023
We hired GI construction to take over a small bathroom remodel of a shower. The first contractor we hired did a horrible job, we lost money and had to terminate his services in the middle of tiling. Issac the owner and Valentin the project supervisor met with us and went over everything step by step giving us confidence that the nightmare construction would be turned around. So glad we chose GI construction, our walk in shower turned out beautifully! Long story short, don’t cheap out, go with a professional! My husband and I would use GI construction again. We love our new shower! Services performed: shower remodel
Jim O'Connor
Jim O'Connor
25 July 2023
We really wanted to have our master bathroom reconfigured to accommodate a nice walk-in shower and have an old jetted tub removed. After contacting several companies with little to undesirable responses we contacted GI Construction. Isaac responded to our house the very next day and observed what we envisioned. He was vey knowledgeable and forthright in his assessment of our project. We contracted with GI Construction and we couldn't have been happier with our choice. Valentin and Roberto came to the house to establish a plan for construction and a timeline. Roberto was a true craftsman and insured every aspect of our construction was done with strict precision. The walk-in shower and associated construction was done in a timely manner and with ultimate concern for our pleasure and acceptance. If you are looking for a "professional contractor" to do your construction project look no further than GI Construction - you won't be disappointed. We would highly recommend them for any project you may encounter. Thank You GI Construction for providing us with a beautiful and functional master bath !!
Gregory Will
Gregory Will
23 May 2023
Went through GI Construction by referral online. They were professional, answered my questions when I had concerns and when we were ready they scheduled the work and stayed on task through out the process. Kept us in the loop regarding any issues and did an fantastic job. They are honest and available when you need to talk to someone. Would highly recommend for their services. ** Thank you Isaac & Valentin for making our bathrooms look amazing!**
Jason Bagley
Jason Bagley
25 April 2023
After searching and obtaining many bids from different construction companies, Isaac with GI Construction provided us with a low cost, complete and solid option that did not hide or leave open any unknown fees. There methods of a simple TI were perfect for our needs as well as saving us thousands on unneeded expenses. I'd personally recommend GI for any project small or big.
Kimberly Allison
Kimberly Allison
9 February 2023
My project manager Valentin was so helpful and very responsive with any issues. Foreman Jorge went above and beyond to make sure I was happy with all the finish work and he and his crew stayed late on a Friday to finish the job. They even moved my very large headboard back in from the garage. All workers were professional and polite. I would definitely recommend this company and will be using in the future. Rodney and Kimberly Allison
Lucy Melugin
Lucy Melugin
6 January 2023
We worked with Isaac, the owner and Valentin, the project manager and their amazing crew. We couldn't be happier with the end project! We had a water leak from an upstairs tenant so the whole bathroom had to be redone and a wall in the bedroom on the other side plus we had some plumbing and wiring done as well. I would love to leave a picture but couldn't see where to add it.
RadBluff 2
RadBluff 2
22 December 2022
Working with G I Construction was one of the best experiences we have with contractors. The attention to detail, care for one's property and getting things right the 1st time is what G I Construction mission is. Top notch!
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