General Contractors

Who Are They And When Do I Get One?

What They Do . . . Briefly

The general contractor--GC for short--(also known as a construction manager) not only oversees the construction, improvement or renovation project from development to completion but is also the communication hub between the homeowner, design professional and the subcontractors, including but not limited to building officials for getting that pesky little building permit.

General Contractor's Goal

The GC's main goal is to get your home built according to the approved permit drawings without sacrificing quality or safety. Secondary, is to bring the project on budget and in time.

General Contractor
Building Permit

The general contractor carries a tremendous amount of responsibility to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget, from supervising the crew to responding to work delays and emergencies all the while balancing liability issues and complying with legal requirements and other regulations.


  • Prepares cost estimates, budgets and work timetables
  • Reports work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborates with the residential design professional and other construction specialists
  • Gathers and evaluates bids from subcontractors and specialty contractors in a timely fashion
  • Inspects work on-site and handles questions or issues that come up so work is not stalled
  • Arranges for permits and inspections

When To Hire

The time to look for a contractor is after you've gotten your design drawings finalized. You can use those drawings to get construction estimates from contractors while interviewing them for the job. The time to hire is when you solicit firm bids using the set of signed and sealed permit drawings you acquired.

What To Look For In A General Contractor


  • Analytical skills to plan a project strategy, handle unexpected issues, and solve problems along the way
  • Business skills to address budget matters and selecting competent staff
  • Decision-making skills choosing subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs to meet deadlines and budgets
  • Customer-service skills since they're in constant contact with various people related to the overall construction it's important to have everyone involved on the same page and up-to-date
  • Leadership to effectively delegate tasks while establishing good working relationships with the crew


Education, training, work experience, licenses, certifications and registrations differ from state to state, as well as within each county or city. So check with your state, county and city licensing boards to find out more.

For the State of Florida contractors (general, building or residential) must be certified first with the state and then registered within certain cities or counties where they hold a certificate of competency.

Do I Need A General Contractor?

Well, that's a good question. Are you building a new home or remodeling an existing one? Perhaps, a remodeling contractor is what you need for the size and scope of your remodel or room addition. Maybe you're thinking you could do it yourself with a bit of guidance. Before making a final decision, however, take a look at what's in involved with respect to time, money and peace of mind with doing it on your own versus a seasoned professional. If you decide not to do the physical work but wish to oversee the project or just speak the lingo, check out this Homeowner's Glossary of Building Terms*

Finding A Pro

So, where do you find a contractor that you can trust? It's one-part due diligence by researching and one-part gut instinct listening to their answers to the questions you ask. To help you with this next step, here are three places to get started:

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggest looking through their member's directory

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) also offers the opportunity to peruse their member's directory   While you're there, spend a little time as they are an excellent resource for homeowners embarking on such an adventure.

Plus, we also offer a list of Licensed Pinellas County Contractors we work with regularly, including an additional source for more, and some questions to ask no matter where you're located.

If you're ready to get started designing your new home or an addition, give us a call to help you with each step and take the guesswork out of it.

Our Specialty

ArcDesign specializes in custom-designed homes and permit drawings. Our team of designers and draftsmen will work with you to create a design based on your needs and wants and will then create a permit drawing set for you, your contractor and building department. So . . .

What are the next steps?

Who do I hire? A contractor? An architect? A building designer or draftsman?

Let us help you begin the process, plus we have great relationships with many licensed contractors in Pinellas and Pasco counties who can give you estimates and bids.

* Provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and published by