General contractors are at the forefront of almost every construction project. They plan and coordinate, budget, and supervise a variety of projects from beginning to end.
Whether you’re hiring a general contractor for your next construction project or working as one and wondering how your general contractor salary matches up to others in the field, we have the answers—here’s everything you need to know about general contractor salaries in 2022.
What is a general contractor?
Before we get deeper into the details of a general contractor’s salary, let’s briefly talk about their role in the construction industry. The main job of a general contractor is to oversee the details of a construction project and handle the day-to-day operations.
They play a huge role in the industry and have various responsibilities, including:
- Obtaining building permits
- Managing on-site workers & schedules
- Handling client communications
- Site surveying & engineering
- Providing materials, equipment, and temporary facilities
Now, let’s get into the specifics of general contractor salaries and the factors that affect their pay.
How much does a general contractor make?
Here’s how general contractor salaries compare across the globe:
- The average general contractor salary in the US is €52,000.
- In the UK, that number jumps up to €57,000.
- And in France and Belgium, general contractor salaries are even higher at around €75,000.
- One of the areas with the highest general contractor salary is Luxembourg, where they make just over €90,000 yearly.
How much do other construction contractors make?
Now that we’ve answered the question “How much does a contractor make?” let’s take a glance at other contractor salaries to see how they compare to general contractor salaries.
While specialised construction contractors typically see lower average wages than general contractors, they also don’t have all of the management responsibilities.
To keep things simple, we’ll compare US salaries as the percentage difference is similar in most areas, even if the overall numbers vary.
- The national average plumber salary is around €45,000—approximately 12% less than a general contractor’s salary.
- Electrician contractors are one of the highest-paid specialised roles and have the same average salary as a general contractor.
- The average carpenter salary is €39,000—a whopping 25% less than the average general contractor salary.
Further read: How a large residential contractor reduced building time 5x by moving their schedule to the cloud
Factors that determine a general contractor’s salary
General contractor salaries cover a broad range—from as low as €20,000 to €105,000 and higher in the US. Let’s look at three determining factors that affect a general contractor’s salary:
Where a general contractor works is one of the most significant factors when determining their salary. For example, a general contractor working in a low cost-of-living area will typically have a much smaller salary than one who works in a busy metro area with multiple large, ongoing projects.
If you’re hiring a general contractor, thinking about getting into the industry or searching for a higher salary, your location will matter more than most other aspects.
2. Services & clients
While not as straightforward as location, a general contractor’s salary also depends on the service they offer, the clients they work with, and their quality of work.
For example, the scale and complexity of a general contractor’s projects play a large role in their overall salary—complex commercial projects that require managing a massive amount of resources and take months or years to complete typically pay a lot more than residential renovation projects.
How much a general contractor charges and earns highly depends on how good their work is and the type of clients they take on.
3. Business management
General contractor salaries also vary depending on if they own their own business or not. Because the majority of them operate their own construction company, we’ll assume this is the case for this article. That means their salary is highly dependent on running a profitable business.
General contractors that struggle to stay on schedule, communicate with project stakeholders, and eliminate unnecessary delays will see reduced salaries as their business isn’t running as efficiently as others.
On the other hand, general contractors who manage their team well and have the tools and resources they need to maximise the profitability of each project will see much higher salaries.
How to increase your general contractor salary
Now that we’ve covered the broad range of general contract salaries, how does one reach the high end of the pay scale? There are three main ways to increase your general contractor salary:
- Find the right clients: Taking on a large number of clients isn’t always the best approach for general contractors. Focus on finding high-quality clients that align with your experience, services, and price point.
- Own your business: One of the largest factors for general contractor salaries is whether or not they work for someone else or own their own business. While business ownership is risky, it also means more profits when you do well.
- Optimise your processes: The third way to increase your general contractor salary is by optimising your processes to increase your quality of work. Higher-quality results lead to higher-quality clients who are willing to pay more for your services.
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