Contractors Who Build Houses: General Contractors vs Builders

Contractors Who Build Houses: General Contractors vs Builders

What Kind of Contractor Do You Need to Build a House?

When you’ve considered the benefits of building a custom home and decided it’s the right move for your family, one of the potential questions you might have is whether you should hire a general contractor or a custom home builder for the project. Maybe, like a lot of people, you didn’t even know there was a difference, and that’s completely understandable. The line can be a bit blurry at times when it comes to contractors who build houses, so here’s a breakdown to help you understand the differences.

What is a General Contractor?

A General Contractor, or GC, is typically someone who manages other independent trades. They hire different experts at different stages of the project to get the work done. Then, they bill on top of each sub-contracted job, and that’s where they’re making their profit.

Also, a GC doesn’t necessarily have his or her own crew working for them full time. Once a team of trade contractors is assembled, the GC is responsible for scheduling and managing those individuals throughout the process. Typically, the GC won’t be on-site every day, but will hire a site supervisor to manage all the day-to-day stuff.

What is a Builder?

A builder, on the other hand, will typically have their own crew, and will help complete the entire housing project from start to finish. Builders are like contractors who build houses in a sense because sub-contracts are usually given only for jobs that require a special license, like plumbing and electrical work. Even then, they typically only work with the same few trusted partners.

At Premier, we believe that the quality of our work is a direct result of Jerry’s constant on-site presence. You’ll see him personally overseeing the work being done by his team, constantly communicating updates, and helping the project move along.

Kitchen of a Recent Project From August 2019 by Premier Design Custom Homes NJ

Custom Home Builders vs. General Contractors: The Distinguishing Characteristics of Contractors Who Build Houses


Because builders are generally more hands-on than GCs, they typically can’t take on as many projects. A GC typically works on volume, while a builder may sign on for one or two houses at a time.


A GC’s job is to build precisely what is laid out in the plans. A builder, however, may look at plans and see ways to improve upon them or save money on design or materials.

Local home builders are typically more flexible than a GC. Since most of the work is carried out themselves, additions and modifications are easier to accommodate. Because a GC sub-trades the jobs at pre-agreed rates, any changes to the plan could cost considerably, both in time and money.


The relationship with a builder is typically a more intimate experience. A custom home builder will work with you from start to finish—from design and excavation, to framing and construction, to handing over the keys. A general contractor, on the other hand, tends to come onto the project only after plans have been approved and construction is ready to begin.

Master Bath of an August 2019 Project by Premier Design Custom Homes NJ

How Do We Approach the Home Building Process?

Over the years, we have developed an incredibly precise, proven process that begins with us sitting down with our clients and figuring out a realistic, all-in budget. We’ll talk about how much space your family needs and determine an ideal layout. Then, we’ll get into the details so we can give you an exact price.

Once we have those initial steps down, we’ll talk about your desired location and set you up with a local financial expert who can help you secure funding.

After your financing is in order, and armed with an exact build price based on your detailed requirements, we’ll get to work finding the perfect piece of land. When it’s time to start building, our team will work closely with you throughout the entire process, ensuring your absolute satisfaction every step of the way. You’ll have a certificate of occupancy in your hands within 7 months of securing the land, and you’ll enjoy instant equity the day you move in.

Premier Design Custom Homes NJ Contractors Who Build Houses

We care about your house like it’s our own. We use only the highest quality brand name materials, with no substitutes. And, we call “standard” what other builders call “add-ons.”

Questions about the process or want to get started? Give Jerry a call at 201-370-3274. Your dream home is waiting!

(1) Comment
  • Jonathan
    ( 18 May 2023 )

    Looking for a general contractor to build a triplex after subdividing my property.

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