Most of us think of a general contractor when we hear the word ‘contractor’ in the context of construction projects. Yet the majority of the actual work on site is done by specialty contractors and not by the ‘general’. General contractors get all of the attention. In the eyes of the law both types are contractors.
Why should you pick a specialty contractor?
That depends mainly on the nature and the size of the construction project. Large and complex projects require a general contractor. His function is to organize, control and supervise the entire building project. He hires, directs and schedules the specialty contractor. Think of him as the conductor of an orchestra.
A specialty contractor is like an individual musician in the orchestra. Just as a musician may be referred to by the name of their instrument, specialty contractors often are called by the name of their specialty; the floor guy, the plumber or the roofer.
Leaking faucets in your house? That takes only a plumber. He finds some rotten floor boards and joists under the sink, you need to hire a carpenter as well. Lawn all dead, bushes going wild or wanting a stone driveway for your new home? Get the landscaping contractor. See how it works? Hire a specialty contractor when you need a limited, clearly defined, relatively limited specialty job done. For everything else hire a general contractor.
Specialty contractors need to be licensed
Specialty contractors must have a contractor’s license from the government agency in charge. In California it is the Contractors License Board (CLB). The Board tests applicants and checks that the applicant carries a contractor’s bond and the required liability insurance. The California Contractors License Board issues specialty contractor licenses in 43 categories. They range from C-2, Insulation and Acoustical to C-61 Limited Specialty. There are 65 limited specialty contractor categories recognized by the CLB. Specialty contractors are the foundation of building and construction work. You need one of them for a single job in construction or remodeling projects of almost any kind.
Licensed specialty contractors are good for you
Why? Because they are proven knowledgeable specialists. They had to show their knowledge during a test. Equally important: They must carry insurance in the form of a bond and workman’s compensation insurance at all times. It protects a property owner from liability if an accident happens on the job site.
True, small projects could be done by skilled handyman. It does not necessarily take a painting contractor to repaint one small wall in your living room. But property owners have much to gain from employing licensed specialty contractors to do their construction project.