Certified building contractors vs. general contractors—who’s best to work with? When it comes to commercial remodeling and construction, there’s really no debate. 

Are you planning to have work done on your building? Whether it’s a renovation, some remodeling, or new construction, it’s vital to have a professional contractor overseeing the work. When you hire a project coordinator, you are making sure the job is done correctly from start to finish with minimal delays and maximum efficiency. 

The challenge is deciding whom to work with. It’s usually one of two options:

  1. General contractors (GC)
  2. Construction managers (CM)

Though both groups are considered primary contractors, there are fundamental differences between the two roles. In this blog, we break down those differentiators and reveal the main benefits associated with working with a commercial construction team. 

General Contractors

A general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of a construction project. The client typically hires GCs through a bidding process that involves advice from the client’s consultants, primarily architects and engineers. When hiring a GC, you have someone who knows the scope of the entire project. Not only do they help lay the foundation for construction, but these licensed professionals are responsible for coordinating all aspects of labor, including electrical work, insulation, plumbing, drywall, general carpentry, and more.


  • GCs do all prior investigations and get the right group of subcontractors involved.
  • GCs often get better pricing on products and can save you money on materials.
  • GCs are licensed, insured, and bonded according to each state’s mandates.
  • GCs coordinate every aspect of the project from start to finish.
  • GCs know all local building codes.


  • They’re not involved with the pre-construction process.
  • Some materials may come out of building owners’ pockets. 
  • GCs are experts with residential projects but may lack commercial expertise.
  • The lines of communication are often blurred between GCs, building owners, and architects.
  • If you’re not directly involved with the construction industry, you have no way of knowing what constitutes a fair price for the job your contractor requests.

Construction Managers 

On the commercial side, Construction managers are usually the contractor of choice. Not only do CMs perform all the essential tasks of GCs, but they’re also primarily responsible for the project’s design-build requirements. They collaborate with the client, architects, and engineers to streamline a more informed and efficient process through every phase of the project. Having the CM as part of the initial design team helps owners get a better understanding of the construction responsibilities, ongoing operational cost of the facility, as well as the functional implications attached to the job site.


  • CMs offer professional craftsmanship from a team of licensed and bonded construction specialists.
  • More transparent and efficient communication between everyone involved in the project.
  • Unlike GCs, a CM’s fees are always open within the bidding process.
  • CMs help building owners obtain permits and coordinate inspections.
  • CMs perform the work of licensed architects and general contractors.
  • CMs negotiate material discounts with suppliers and manufacturers.
  • CMs perform a higher quality of work on larger properties.
  • CMs give building owners more control over the project. 
  • Most subcontractor fees are worked into a CM’s bill.


  • Some CMs profit from subcontractors.
  • CMs do not assume liability for any construction defects, delays, or other problems caused by subcontractors.

Skilled Services—The Right Commercial Contractors 

Need a resourceful taskforce to handle a large scope of work? Skilled Services is the team you can trust. As the greater Knoxville area’s most punctual contractors, you can count on us to streamline any commercial construction assignment. Our experts handle everything from workspace redesigns to building expansions, structural repairs, ADA upgrades, and facility efficiency improvements. We perform high-quality projects for clients in a variety of industries. From healthcare markets to government agencies, we’re here to serve your needs with fair pricing, efficient timelines, and unbeatable craftsmanship. 

Whether you’re ready to break ground on a new project or seeking a contractor certification of your own, we’re here to help. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.

Posted Under:Facility Improvements, Workspace Redesigns

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