General Contractor vs. Custom Home Builder: Which is really better?

Building a new home for you? One among hundreds of questions which will be coming to your mind at this point of time is should I hire a general contractor or a custom home builder? As home construction is a costly affair, you really need to understand the difference in this matter and take all the decisions very cautiously.

Who is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is someone who organizes different resources and does construction or renovation of your house. They are not specialists in home construction or improvement, instead they hires experts in different trades at different stages and completes the project. They bill a little top on each sub-contracted job and that’s where their profit is coming from.

Who is a Builder?

A builder is someone who completes the whole housing project on his own. He has a crew who are capable of doing all types of job in home construction and stays within the project from start to finish. The sub-contract will be given only to those jobs which need special licenses; like plumbing and electrical works. They usually bill you either as a whole project or on a material and time basis.

Who is better?

Though this is an age-old question, the reality is, in most part of the country, the difference between a builder and GC is little. Look at the following points to compare them:

- Builders are basically specialized in the construction part of a house like foundation, walls, roofing works etc. Technical jobs like electrical, plumbing, heating jobs are sub-contracted to licensed persons. So a builder also works as a contractor at certain stages.

- A home builder works at all the phases of your project; from developing the plan to handing over the project, a custom home builder will guide you. Whereas, most of the times, the role of a GC starts at the point of construction of the home. Here, most often, an Architect helps you in the initial preparations like drawing the plans etc.

- Local home builders are more flexible compared to a GC. Since most of the works are carried out themselves by the builder, additions and modifications in the plan are easier to them. A GC sub-trades the jobs to different experts at pre-agreed rates and any changes to the plan can cause a considerable difference in the cost. But, the advantage with GC is that they will try to finish work quicker than a new home builder, as the quicker they finish the job bigger the profits they earn.

You can understand that, in modern days, the difference between a GC and home builder are narrowing. When you choose a house builder and a GC, you validate their efficiency by visiting their previous projects and comparing quotes of different service providers.


Custom house builder or contractors can help you through the whole process of housing. Contractor Richardson is a leading San Diego custom house builder. Visit for more details.