What Does A General Contractor Do?

general contractor watching construction on the jobsite

A general contractor is one of those jobs that have many varied aspects. It can encompass anything from plumbing to construction and even engineering in some cases.

But what type of work is a general contractor legally allowed to perform? And what licenses do they need to be able to work? Use this guide to help you learn about general building contractors and what they do.


A general contractor (or “GC,”) is someone who handles all aspects of a building project, including the hiring and supervision of subcontractors, securing building permits, and setting up inspections.

Depending on the state, a general building contractor may be required to have specific certifications or not. These certifications are usually for projects that exceed a specific financial threshold set by municipal and state guidelines.

Most GCs have background experience, having worked their way up in one specialty area before branching out to a broader project management role. In addition, general contractors may have training and experience in various construction and related fields, including working as builders, carpenters, or electricians.


There are several subgroups, or classes, within contracting, each requiring different capabilities. Each class determines what types of duties a general contractor can perform. Below is a quick breakdown of the three classes and the types of projects these professionals can complete for clients.

Class A: This class refers to individuals who can complete large-scale or engineering-centric projects. For example, a class A contractor could build a parking garage, a bridge, or a skyscraper.

Class B: This class designates a general building contractor with a permit to build a residential or commercial project from the ground up. It involves carpentry, remodeling, and even building additions onto a home or building.

Class C: A type C specialty contractor specializes in project buildings like elevators, mold remediation in the home, weatherproofing the home, and electrician jobs.

Besides telling you about the specialized capabilities that a contractor may have, these classes indicate a higher degree of credibility. Professionals with these extra certifications tend to provide a broader range of services and have surpassed various licensing exams to accomplish higher-end projects.


Most states require a contractor to pass an exam and hold a license to practice. The license needs renewing every two years to be active.

The licensing is crucial as it indicates to clients that they can expect a certain level of standards. In addition, clients can trust that a licensed general contractor is reliable, knowledgeable, and qualified because they must have passed an exam proving their capabilities. But how can you know for sure if someone has an active license or not?

Many companies make it easy for you by including their license number available for clientele to view. If you cannot find a number, the Contractors State License Board or equivalent in your area will often have a database. The registry allows you to search active licenses to verify your GC's active license status.

It is essential to verify license and insurance to ensure that the work contractors perform on your home or commercial building is safe, legal, and worth your time and money. This point is especially relevant for a job that requires highly skilled technicians.


As a general contractor, you will be able to run a business and be your own boss. You can prepare for your contracting exams with the resources we offer at Contractor Training Center, such as webinars, exam prep courses, and reference materials. Once you’re licensed, you’ll be able to work on larger projects and increase your revenue.

Book a Start-Up Consultation today and let one of our dedicated licensing specialists help you get started!

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