Do You Understand The Differences Between Contractors and Subcontractors?

In every construction project, plenty of professionals participate in completing the project, and the contractors who have been assigned to do the project play a leading role to complete the whole project.

Any custom home builder Etobicoke like Cedar Hills Contracting are contractors and responsible for hiring various workers, buying the required materials for construction work, and also supervising the entire activities on a day-to-day basis. Generally, contractors use their own manpower for most of the jobs that are within their expertise.

However, in any construction project, many other skills are also needed, and for that contractors may have to hire a few other specialized subcontractors to perform those jobs. These special jobs are related to electrical wiring, plumbing, painting, carpentry, etc.

Most of these subcontractors are usually people having special skills and are self-employed people doing their small businesses. Quite a few large building contractors may even employ such professionals in their company too.

Let us mention the role and responsibilities of both contractors and subcontractors so that you can understand the difference between them.

Role of a contractor

Contractors are basically the project manager of the whole construction job, and hence the ultimate responsibilities lie on their shoulders for completion of the project. The following are the main functions of a contractor in any construction project:

  • Preparation of budgets, cost estimates, and total work schedule
  • Coordinating with architects, engineers, and many other construction specialists
  • Timely selecting suitable subcontractors and assigning them all their responsibilities
  • Maintaining proper communication with the customer whose building the contractor is building
  • Make sure that the project completes within the budget and time schedule and also follow all the legal requirements e.g. safety codes

Some contractors can be a very big company employing many people while some contractors may be small business owners with limited resources. Based on the project size, people go for any big contractors or small contractors.

Role of a subcontractor

Subcontractors are generally hired by contractors to support their projects as and when their services are needed.  These subcontractors are hired based on the contract between the contractors and subcontractors and subcontractors are responsible for providing service based on their special skills.

The following are the types of expertise of these subcontractors:

  • Carpentry and floor work
  • Concrete work
  • Electrical work
  • Masonry, plastering, stonework, and tile setting
  • Painting and paper hanging
  • Plumbing, heating, or air conditioning
  • Roofing, siding, and various other sheet metal work
  • Special trade contractors e.g. glass workers, demolition experts, and excavators.

Subcontractors are also given a certain schedule by the contractors and they need to complete the job within that schedule so that the whole work process remains undisturbed.


It is important to understand the basic differences between the role of contractors and subcontractors, whenever you take up any construction project like building your home or doing any renovation or extension of your present house.

Contractors are mainly responsible for the total project and their completion while subcontractors are playing the supporting role with their specialized expertise so that the project can complete in totality.