These are probably terms you have heard before and maybe even used but do you actually understand the difference between them.

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably making you think they are the same thing but their are differences. Knowing the differences will help you understand who to hire and why either is needed or not. It will also help you understand what to expect in terms of work and pricing.

A contractor is someone who typically runs a construction project. The lead the construction crew, communicate with clients, laborer's and any other parties involved. They also negotiate with vendors to find the right materials for the project and handle all the administrative work of their business.

A subcontractor is a laborer that has a skill in a specific trade area. This can be electrical, plumbing, building repairs or frame work. They usually work under the contractor or are called in by them to do task that the contractor cant do with himself or with his team. Contractors usually handle more of the business while subcontractors handle specific skilled jobs.

Another difference is the salary between the two. While this can vary for both, average salaries for contractors is around 26 per hour while for subcontractors around 30 per hour. This though is going to depend on many different factors while subcontractors pay ultimately depends on the skill they have and who they work for, contractor run a business that is dependent on how many clients they have and the size and price of the project. Wages can increase dramatically for contractors if they get the right high paying project.

When it comes to working hours, contractors are going to have a lot more flexibility over when they work. They run a business meaning they choose their own clients, when and where they work and what kind of projects they work on. If a client doesn't fit in their schedule, they can just decline the offer. It's a bit different for subcontractors because they work under someone. Because they find work through contractors, they only get to decide if they want to take the job or not. This can end up in them working really long hours to complete a project.

The responsibilities also differ between the two. Contractors are responsible for running the business so they generally spend most of their time finding clients and managing the project rather than doing any physical labor. They are responsible for getting contracts and if anything goes wrong on the project, it comes out of their pocket. No clients, no business. Subcontractors have less to worry about and are only responsible for doing their job. The only thing the have to bring are the tools they need to work with.

The skills you need to be a contractor revolve around the skills you need to run a business. This can be everything from people skills to financial skills. You need to be able to manage a project, strategize, execute plans, budget, schedule hiring subcontractors and work on multiple projects at once. You also need to be able to have computer skills when it comes to spreadsheets and managing your finances. You also need to be able to communicate and negotiate with clients and subcontractors. Subcontractors, since they will being most of the physical work, need to have the stamina to last long working hours when at the job site. Obviously you need to have the technical expertise and skill in whatever area you were hired for. You also need to be able to follow instructions and stick to the schedule that the contractor lays out. Networking skills are also good to have because this will allow you to find jobs with different contractors. This basically summarizes the main differences between contractors and subcontractors.