What is the average salary for a general contractor?

What is the average salary for a general contractor?

General contractors are responsible for overseeing the completion of building projects, ensuring they’re finished on time and within budget. Knowing the average salary expectations of a general contractor can help with deciding if pursuing a certain job (or even this career path) is worthwhile.

If you’ve been wondering what the average general contractor salary is in the construction industry—i.e., how much money they make and what it takes to become a general contractor—keep reading.

How much does a general contractor make?

General contractors in the United States make an average of around $60,000 to $100,000+ per year. The exact amount depends on the location that a general contractor is working in, as well as how much experience they have.

Regardless, many find working as a general contractor monetarily rewarding, with around $7,000 earned of overtime pay on average and generous benefits packages often offered by construction firms that include:

  • a 401(k)
  • Paid time off
  • Dental insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Vision insurance

A self-employed general contractor salary will likely differ from the salary of a general contractor employed by a big construction firm though. On average, self-employed general contractors have a salary range of around $80,000.

Top 9 highest paying cities for general contractor jobs

You may be wondering, “How much do general contractors make by city?”. Oftentimes, where we work has as much of an impact on our career satisfaction as the job itself, especially if it affects our cost of living situation.

Here are the top 9 highest paying cities for general contractors (with the pay indicating a senior role):

  1. Memphis, TN – $145,000 per year
  2. St. Louis, MO – $133,000 per year
  3. Austin, TX – $116,000 per year
  4. New York, NY – $109,000 per year
  5. Tampa, FL – $106,000 per year
  6. Miami, FL – $98,000 per year
  7. Dallas, TX – $97,000 per year
  8. Houston, TX – $87,000 per year
  9. Richmond, VA – $87,000 per year

While salary often scales to how expensive it is to live in an area, some states simply pay more for skilled trades.

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The average salary of general contractors in comparison to other construction jobs

Along with your location, your specific role and job title on a construction project will affect how much you’re paid. On construction sites, especially on larger projects, there are often multiple contractors and managers present. Here’s how their pay differs using Washington as an example.

Job titleAverage annual salary
General contractor$65,000
Project manager$79,000
Specialty contractor$80,000
Construction manager$89,000

Factors that affect how much a general contractor is paid

As mentioned, the geographic location that a general contractor resides or works within can affect general contractor hourly rates and how much they’re paid. Pay in densely populated areas with higher labor costs and more competition will often differ from rural areas. Investment in skilled trades will also vary from state to state.

A general contractor’s skill level and experience will also affect their salary. Contractors with years of field experience are able to use their knowledge and expertise to manage projects more efficiently, allowing them to charge higher rates in comparison to less experienced contractors.

Another external element that can also be a factor in general contractor salary rates is the size and scope of the project, which determines how much budget a construction firm has to hire a general contractor. 

Large-scale commercial construction projects will often require larger crews, more materials, and take longer to complete, making payment higher for general contractors.

How to become a general contractor

So how do you become a general contractor? Here are the minimum requirements to starting on the path of becoming a general contractor:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • 4 years of experience as a journeyman apprentice within the last 10 years
  • Passing a contractors license exam

More specific requirements will vary from state to state. Regardless, getting into a skilled trade often begins with working as an apprentice. An apprenticeship trains you on the job, so it’s best to seek them out as a starting point. You’ll also be paid for your training. While the pay isn’t exactly a general contractor salary, it’s a decent amount and is a nice bonus to learning as you go.

While it’s usually not a requirement to attend a trade school, doing so will give you a competitive edge and will make acquiring an apprenticeship much easier.

To work as a general contractor, most places will require that you have a contractor’s license. The requirements for obtaining one will further vary based on the kind of work you want to do, though exams for licensing usually cover construction law and business management.

License requirements will also differ at state and local levels, with most cities and municipalities requiring one while some states may not ask for one. Working without a valid license is technically possible, though it’s not recommended and makes it harder to find a job.

Bridgit Bench is the best solution for general contractors

Now that we’ve gone over the average general contractor salary and what it takes to become one, you hopefully feel more informed to make the decision of whether to take on a job and whether you want to pursue this career path.

If you’re already working as a general contractor, you know how much there is to oversee on construction projects, especially when it comes to your labor force. For this, you can enlist the help of technological solutions like Bridgit Bench.

Bridgit Bench allows you to stay ahead of staffing needs. With features for resource planning, you can more effectively manage and optimize your construction resources. Our organizational dashboard is built to drive operational efficiency. You can manage all project roles in your workforce and allocate accordingly with full project oversight.
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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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