Architectural drawings for remodeling a home.

Construction Manager vs. General Contractor for Homeowners

There are two main types of contracting models homeowners may choose from for their construction projects: general contracting and construction management. Hiring a general contractor as part of a design-bid-build model is the most common. However, a construction manager might be a better option. Before you decide whom to hire, here’s what each model offers and what sets them apart.

What is a General Contractor?

In most cases, you hire a general contractor after you have a finalized design. You’ll bid on the project and award it to the person you want to work with. The GC hires employees and subcontractors to complete the work and aims to stay within budget. When you work with a general contractor, you’ll pay them one fee, and they, in turn, pay their suppliers and subcontractors.

What is a Construction Manager?

Unlike general contractors, a construction manager works with the homeowner and is paid to verify and manage subcontractors. The construction manager doesn’t hire them directly. You do. A construction manager checks that your subcontractors are licensed and insured, coordinates schedules, pulls permits, and supervises the work. They manage your costs competitively and transparently.

Comparing Construction Manager vs. General Contractor

Homeowner Involvement

When you work with a construction manager during the design stage, you’ll agree on a fee for their management services. Any savings achieved by their management go back to you. The CM will work with you to vet good subcontractors and will provide the necessary Construction Supervisor license for the team.

With a general contractor, they’ll take over managing the entire project and provide you with updates. Your input won’t be required to vet the team of subcontractors. They manage how much they pay subcontractors. Any savings in the hiring process go back to the GC.


With a construction manager, building phases can move forward together with your design phase. They’ll help you plan your design in stages, laying out the most efficient schedule to lower risk and advance the project more quickly.

When you work with a general contractor, the project may move a bit slower because work may not start until the project design and planning are complete.


With the construction management model, you can change your plans during the building process. Your CM will be able to advise you on the consequences of that, of course. But changes are possible. You may also have more control throughout the process over the types of materials and production methods utilized.

When you hire a general contractor, they bid on the project when the design is complete. They will not be advising you closely in the initial planning stages. The scope of the project is carefully defined before work begins. They may also take responsibility for making production and material choices at different points throughout the project. If you work with a GC, you leave those choices in their hands.

Which Hiring Model is Best for You?

In most cases, it’s about personal preference and a good fit for your goals. Some projects may be a better fit for construction management, and some may be better accomplished by general contracting.

YourWay Contstruction Management operates with either model. It’s your choice.

Call us at (774) 245-3629 to discuss your project and which contracting model may be the most beneficial to you. Ultimately, we’d like you to have it done YourWay.

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