Working with subcontractors

Published On: Jul 09 2012 01:14:15 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 09 2012 05:40:00 AM EDT

Types of Contractors

  1. General Contractor (GC):  Type of manager who is in charge of overseeing the entirety of a project. For a home remodeling job, the GC will meet with the homeowner to go over the initial project details, estimate the cost of the project, draft a contract, hire workers and handle the daily operation of the job. General contractor usually don’t perform any of the labor, but instead hire skilled tradesmen as subcontractors.
  2. Subcontractor:  A worker who is hired by a general contractor to perform the obligations of another's contract. Also referred to as specialty contractors or “subs,” subcontractors are typically hired to perform a specialized type of labor. They are the plumbers, roofers, carpet installers and electricians who are essential to any large remodeling project. As the name implies, subcontractors work under contract with, and get paid by general contractors.

It’s important for you to check that the subcontractors are experienced and reputable.

“As the homeowner you should be involved in the process of choosing subcontractors so ask for a list of subcontractors the contractor will potentially use and then check them out yourself. Check them out on Angie’s List, check with friends and family and find out exactly who is going to be working on your house," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Angie’s List Tips: Know your subcontractors

A nationwide Angie’s List poll found:

What is a lien waver?


If a home improvement contractor fails to pay his employees or fails to pay for the building materials used in the project, a lien can be placed on your property and you, the property owner, can be held liable for the unpaid expenses if a lien waiver was not established.

“If the contractor refuses to have a lien waver it’s a red flag and you should walk away," says Hicks.