Difference Between Contractor and Subcontractor (With Table)

A contractor is essentially someone employed to conduct employment or provide services underneath a contract. However, there is a significant distinction between a Contractor and a subcontractor on an infrastructural and constructional project. It is critical to understand how these positions differ, how they collaborate to efficiently execute a project, as well as the payment problems that each of them faces.

Therefore, in this article, we will understand the distinctions between a contractor and a subcontractor, as well as a descriptive definition and table.

Contractor vs Subcontractor

The main difference between contractor and subcontractor is that contractors have “contractivity” directly with the owner. Possessing the privity of contract in development simply implies that the individual was recruited by the owner of the property. Subcontractors, on the other hand, are frequently employed by the main contractors, however, a subcontractor can also employ a second subcontractor but the designation stays under the Contractor.

A contractor is a person or corporation who attempts to do trade by securing and carrying out agreements. Being a contractor is akin to operating a property in that you arrange your deals, work for yourself, have your own customers, and are compensated based on your own qualities. A construction contractor provides a certain set of abilities that he may undertake on a contractual basis for clients.

A subcontractor, on the other hand, is a competent worker who operates under the supervision of a contractor. Subcontractors specialize in the design and building maintenance, such as piping and electricity management. While a contractor handles the commercial side of construction, a subcontractor often conducts the actual work, such as framing, installing windows, and cleaning.

Comparison Table Between Contractor and Subcontractor

Parameters of Comparison




A contractor is a person or corporation who attempts to do trade by securing and carrying out agreements.

Subcontractors carry on a deal or a contract from the general contractor. Subcontractors do tasks that a provider cannot perform but whereby the contractor is liable.


To govern subcontractors and hire workers for accomplishing projects undersigned by contracts.

To work with the grass-root level labors and assist the contractor with tasks and hiring.


Higher than the subcontractors.

Falls under a contractor however, holds more responsibilities as he’s a bridge between the laborers and contractor.


Contractors earn a median of $32 per hour, as per Indeed Salaries. You have the ability to determine your own charges as a contractor.

A subcontractor normally earns $30-35 per hour, as per Indeed Earnings.

Relationship with the Property Owner

Direct conversations and interactions with the owner or clients.

No direct conversations as the subcontractor reports directly to the contractor.

What is a Contractor?

Contractors are often directly employed for a task by a firm or person. Individuals are often self-employed; they run their businesses. Private contractors are responsible for tasks such as supplying raw materials and assessing project costs, including labor, negotiating project timelines with the client, looking to hire necessary subcontractors as well as other tradespeople, and addressing any potential issues that are causing the project to be delayed.

Since you put in the initiative of locating the client yourself, you will most likely be paid as more of a freelancer than as an employee. As a result, all gains generated by contract work accrue to the contractor.

A contractor, sometimes known as the general contractor, is the cornerstone of every building project. The prime is the commander-in-chief of your construction force. Their primary duty is to find contracts and provide the required coordination and control to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.

This means they’ll be concentrating their efforts mostly on the client and larger-picture challenges. They will oversee the day-to-day supervision, coordinate vendors and subcontractors, and serve as the primary point of contact for all parties involved in a project.

What is a Subcontractor?

Subcontractors carry on a deal or a contract from the general contractor. Subcontractors do tasks that a provider cannot perform but whereby the contractor is liable.

Subcontractors can range from a single self-employed employee, such as a plumber working for a construction contractor, to a huge national body. A subcontractor has an agreement with the contractor again for services they supply; a contractor’s work cannot simultaneously be a subcontractor.

Subcontractors also operate on a fixed-term contract and provide a specific set of abilities that they do for clients. The main aspect to remember regarding subcontractors is that they sign an agreement with the contracting company rather than the client. Subcontractors frequently specialize in a single area of construction and attempt to interact with contractors that bargain for larger assignments that incorporate this area of specialization. As a result of their contractor relationship, a successful subcontractor will have the business.

A subcontractor normally earns $30-35 per hour, as per Indeed Earnings. Your compensation is greatly dependent on your ability. A decorator, for example, earns an average of $23 per hour, whereas a carpenter makes a median of $26.55 per hour. Subcontractors obtain employment through contractors, thus the people they work with have an impact on their wages.

Main Differences Between Contractor and Subcontractor

  1. A contractor directly gets hired by the client or property owner whereas subcontractors are hired by general contractors.
  2. Contractors are higher designated than subcontractors.
  3. Contractors are specialized in getting jobs fulfilled and handling the official paperwork of a contract whereas subcontractors actually specialize in mechanical works like repairing and painting.
  4. Contractors can hire multiple subcontractors for a project whereas a subcontractor cannot hire a general contractor.
  5. A contractor’s payment is done on the basis of the project magnitude whereas a subcontractor is paid by the contractor on the basis of works done.


It is critical to pick subcontractors that you respect and who have a history of both producing quality work and operating in good conscience in their business dealings.

The amount of excellent, professional subcontractors you have recourse to as a contractor increases the breadth of tasks you can take on. As a result, it makes sense to expand your networking opportunities as much as feasible. Both are thriving fields of labor if approached with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.


  1. https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Subcontractor
  2. https://sumup.co.uk/invoices/dictionary/contractor/