Best General Contractor salary guide

The united states' economy and infrastructure would collapse without the building industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists site preparation and land subdivision as two typical types of construction and engineering tasks. General contractors are crucial in this industry because they provide communication between clients, vendors, and workers, among other roles. Given the scope of their responsibilities, they deserve a just wage (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023).

Understanding the Role of a General Contractor

General contractors, like musical conductors, make sure that all the moving parts of a building project are in sync with one another. Their job has many facets, all of which are essential to finishing a building or infrastructure project.

Responsibilities and Duties of a General Contractor:

General contractors are construction industry professionals who manage the entirety of a building or renovation project. Some of the main things they do are:

  • Project Management: They keep the project on track and under control. This requires effective communication and cooperation with customers and suppliers alike.
  • Materials Management: Materials for a project are normally ordered by the contractor. Specialty products need to be sourced in a timely manner to ensure the project's energy and other performance targets are met (Construction Dive, 2023).
  • Quality Control: It is crucial that the building process is followed to the letter. This necessitates constant communication with quality control teams and inspections of the construction site itself.
  • Safety Management: General contractors are responsible for enforcing safety procedures on the job site, with the goal of protecting their employees from harm.
  • Contract Administration: They oversee contracts, make sure everyone is holding up their end of the bargain, and handle any problems that come up along the way.
  • Communication: As the first line of defense, general contractors owe it to their clients to keep them apprised of developments, respond to their concerns, and make any required revisions based on their input.


Difference Between a General Contractor and Other Construction Roles:

While general contractors are responsible for the overall project, other construction jobs do more specific tasks. Here's an example:

  • Subcontractors: The general contractor will recruit these specialists in order to get the job done, whether it be plumbing, electrical, or masonry. They are responsible alone for their own specialty and answer to the general contractor.
  • Architects: They will be the ones to draw out the project's designs and plans. Although they are essential in the outset, after construction begins their role decreases.
  • Project Managers: Unlike general contractors, who often work for the project's owner, project managers report directly to the client or owner and are responsible for ensuring that the project's contractor and subcontractors meet all of the project's specifications and deadlines.

Factors Influencing General Contractor salary

A general contractor's salary is not a set amount but rather is determined by a number of variables. Aspiring general contractors and those in search of one can benefit from gaining insight into these factors. The following is a breakdown of the most important aspects that determine a general contractor's pay:

Experience and Expertise:

Experience is a major factor in deciding a general contractor's wage, as it is in many fields. Paying roughly $16.26 per hour, this is the typical total income for a General Contractor with less than a year of experience. Workers with decades of experience, particularly those nearing retirement age, can make much more, with some reaching as much as $65.72 per hour (PayScale, 2023). Salaries can increase for those with experience in niche building fields or familiarity with unusual project types.

Location (Urban vs. Rural):

A general contractor's salary may vary widely depending on the region in which they work. salary levels are typically greater in urban locations due to the higher cost of living and greater development demand compared to rural places.

Size and Scope of Projects Handled:

A general contractor's income may vary depending on the size and scope of the projects they're responsible for. Large commercial or specialised building projects that require supervision typically pay more than smaller residential jobs.

Education and Certifications:

Although practical experience is essential, a general contractor can get an edge through formal schooling or certification. Professionals with backgrounds in construction management, civil engineering, or a closely related profession may find more lucrative employment opportunities. A contractor's earning potential might be increased even further by the attainment of certificates from authoritative organisations within the field.

Breakdown of General Contractor salary in the U.S. by State

General contractors' wages might fluctuate widely from one state to another. These estimates can shift depending on variables including the cost of living, the demand for construction projects, and the rules and regulations in each state. What follows is a comparison of state-by-state general contractor salary averages to the national norm:

Highlighting States with the Highest and Lowest Salaries:

  • Highest salary: New York is home to the highest average salary for general contractors. New York can afford to pay its workers more because of the city's robust construction sector and high cost of living.
  • Lowest salary: It's possible that Mississippi has the nation's lowest average compensation for general contractors. This low figure is due to several variables, including a more affordable cost of living and different market dynamics.

Keep in mind that the factors discussed above, such as the individual's level of experience and expertise as well as the complexity, size, and number of projects they have successfully completed, can have a substantial effect on their compensation.

Self-Employed General Contractor salary vs. Employed

There are advantages and disadvantages to both working as a general contractor for yourself and working for an employer, making the decision between the two a difficult one. Both paths are described in great detail here. The Benefits and Drawbacks of Working for Yourself in This industry


  • Flexibility: If you're a self-employed general contractor, you get to pick your own assignments and determine your own hours.
  • Potential for Higher Earnings: Self-employed contractors have the potential to earn more money than employees of other companies, especially if they are able to land high-paying or otherwise visible jobs.
  • Direct Client Interaction: Better understanding and, possibly, more individualised service are the results of open lines of communication with customers.


  • Inconsistent Income: Self-employed contractors, in contrast to salaried workers, may go longer stretches between projects.
  • Increased Responsibilities: Independent contractors take on the full burden of responsibility, from client acquisition through paperwork.
  • Lack of Benefits: Independent contractors rarely, if ever, get access to employee benefits like health insurance or retirement plans.

Average Earnings of Self-Employed General Contractors:

Earnings for independent general contractors can range substantially depending on criteria like geographic region, level of experience, and project scope. Self-employed general contractors in the US can expect an average hourly wage of $24.36. However, for seasoned workers with an impressive portfolio, this number might rise to $47.58 per hour (Indeed, 2023).

Comparison with Salaried General Contractors:

General contractors who work for a company rather than for themselves tend to have a more secure financial future, with salaries often falling within the same ballpark as those of their self-employed brethren. Health insurance, retirement programmes, and vacation time are just some of the additional benefits they enjoy. Hourly rates of $62.29 and $43.02 at Windows USA and Elevated Living, respectively, demonstrate the possibility for greater earnings in salaried employment than those offered by the former company (Indeed, 2023).

trends and Predictions

The importance of general contractors in the construction industry, which has long been a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, cannot be emphasised. As a result, their wages have fluctuated over time in response to changes in the economy, technology, and the real estate market.

Historical trends in General Contractor Salaries:

General contractors' wages have increased throughout time, particularly during prosperous periods. The state of the housing market, infrastructural investments, and new businesses have all played significant roles in shaping these patterns. For instance, following the economic downturn, there was a dramatic uptick in building projects, which in turn increased the need for qualified general contractors and, in turn, their pay (, 2023).

Predictions for the future Based on current data and industry Growth:

The construction industry is likely to continue its upward trend, and the growing need for environmentally responsible and technologically sophisticated building practises will increase the demand for skilled general contractors. As a result, their pay are anticipated to increase in response to this demand. In addition, general contractors with specialised skills will be in high demand as urbanisation continues and the need for infrastructure development in new cities develops, hence further affecting compensation trends.

Tips for Maximizing Earnings as a General Contractor:

New technology and procedures are constantly being brought into the construction sector, highlighting the significance of ongoing education and certification. A general contractor's market value and earning potential can be greatly increased by keeping up with these changes and gaining applicable credentials.

Developing Solid Business Connections: Networking is Essential in the Construction industry. Relationships with vendors, subcontractors, and prospective clients can increase business opportunities and bargaining strength.

Increasing the Range of Our Capabilities and Services: Offering a variety of services, from project management to specialist building techniques, can help general contractors stand out from the competition and win more lucrative jobs.


General contractors are crucial cogs in the wheel of the ever-changing U.S. construction sector. Their salaries, which are affected by factors such as location and level of experience, mirror the changing needs of the sector as a whole. The future looks bright for general contractors as urbanisation and technological progress continue apace. Maximizing one's wages in this vital field still requires a commitment to lifelong education, networking, and skill diversification.

Stay in the know...

Subscribe to learn about new features, the latest in home improvement technology, solutions, and updates.

We care about your data in our privacy policy