How Much Do General Contractors Charge?

Typical Range:

$250 - $58,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 7, 2022

Reviewed by Robert Tschudi, Expert Home Building and Remodeling Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

General contractors charge between $250 and $58,000, with the average cost being $4,000. This broad range is because contractors handle jobs ranging from small projects that may cost as little as a few hundred dollars to large remodeling jobs and even home building projects that can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.

For example, while the cost to build a new home might be around $280,000, a basic drywall installation may cost just $2,000. To estimate how much a contractor will charge, take the total cost of labor and materials and multiply that number by the contractor’s fee, which typically ranges from 10% to 20% of the project’s total cost. With that in mind, expect a contractor to charge between $28,000 and $56,000 for a $280,000 home and between $200 and $400 for that $2,000 drywall job. Ahead, we’ll break down all the factors that determine how contractors charge for their services.

Standard General Contractor Percentage Markup

Fee percentage for general contractor is between 10 and 20 percent

General contractors typically do not charge an hourly rate but instead set their fees by charging 10% to 20% of the overall cost of the project in a practice known as “cost-plus.” For bigger projects, a general contractor may up that fee to 25%.

Average General Contractor Costs by Project

Since general contractors generally determine their fees based on a percentage of the project's total cost, their fee is dependent upon the size of the project. Here’s a list of common home remodeling and construction projects with average price ranges:

General Contractor Price List Examples

ProjectAverage Project CostAdditional Price for a GC
Cost to Build a House$282,000$28,000 – $56,000
Price of Building an Addition$46,750$4,700 – $9,400
Cost of Remodeling a House$47,830$4,750 – $9,500
Rate for a Bathroom Remodel$11,150$1,100 – $2,200
Rate for a Kitchen Remodel $25,850$2,600 – $5,200
Price for Installing Drywall$1,880$185 – $370
Cost to Build Brick or Stone Walls$5,000$500 – $1,000
Price of Building a Deck$7,750$775 – $1,500
Cost to Build a Garage$27,500$2,750 – $5,500
Price to Install a Concrete Patio$3,000$300 – $600
Install Concrete Driveway Cost$4,650$465 – $930
Rate for Fence Installation$3,000$300 - $600
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General Contractor Hourly Rates

While most general contractors like to use the cost-plus method to charge their customers, some will also agree to work for an hourly rate. Hourly rates for contractors range from $50 to $150. If a general contractor agrees to work on an hourly rate, they’ll likely require the customer to commit to a minimum number of hours. 

General Contractor Pricing Models

General contractors set their rates in one of two ways. The first pricing model is a fixed price (also called lump price) for the entire project. Or they use a time-and-materials contract (or cost-plus). While many customers prefer the fixed price method, some contractors prefer to use time-and-materials.

Here’s how these two types of pricing work:

Fixed Bid

With this model, the contractor presents the customer with a fixed price that covers labor and materials for the project from start to finish. While fixed bids are attractive to customers as it allows them to see the price upfront and eliminates unexpected pricetag surprises and additional costs mid-project, contractors generally don’t prefer this method. 

A fixed price requires the contractor to secure subcontractors ahead of time and calculate specific costs for materials and equipment to create as accurate a quote as possible and prevent financial losses on their end. This process can be time-consuming and may result in no returns if the customer rejects the bid.

Time-and-Materials (or Cost-Plus)

A time-and-materials contract is the more common of the two pricing models. With a time-and-materials contract, a contractor will give the customer an estimate of the total cost based on materials and set hourly labor rate. This may create some uncertainty for customers since the price is only an estimate. The estimated cost may change mid-project if the construction hits any snags and delays.

General Contractor vs. a Construction Manager

Although they may sound similar, a general contractor and a construction manager are two very different things.

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General Contractor Role and Responsibilities

Homeowners hire a general contractor to manage the entire project from start to finish. They are responsible for hiring subcontractors and laborers to complete the work and oversee the project to make sure it stays on budget and the work gets done. A general contractor is also the point person for the project, handling all communications with the customer. 

Construction Manager Role and Responsibilities

A construction manager charges as a consultant, leaving the customer to do much of the project management. With a construction manager, the client has more involvement. The manager will help procure and review bids from subcontractors, help with scheduling and oversee the construction process; however, the customer supervises each step.

They are responsible for hiring and paying each subcontractor, procuring necessary permits, and ensuring the work is done properly. Since a construction manager is less involved, they typically charge about half of what a general contractor charges—allowing the customer to save a considerable amount of money, especially for larger projects.  

The downside with a construction manager is that the customer must handle any issues that may arise during the project, including substandard quality, subcontractors failing to show up, and procuring all necessary permits.

FAQs

What does a general contractor do?

A general contractor oversees a project from start to completion.

  • Create the project’s timeline and schedule

  • Hire, manage, and pay subcontractors and workers

  • Purchase and deliver building materials and supplies

  • Acquire necessary permits and necessary HOA approvals

  • Plan and execute necessary project changes. 

  • Make sure work meets quality standards

How much does it cost to hire an independent general contractor?

A general contractor typically charges between 15% and 20% of the overall cost of the project. Since projects can vary dramatically in price, this means a contractor's fees can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

How much do contractors charge for an estimate?

In many cases, a contractor will not charge for an estimate, especially for jobs that are straightforward or small, like painting a room or installing replacement windows. Contractors may charge a fee to provide estimates for larger jobs that require them to create plans or designs and pursue quotes from subcontractors. For these larger projects, a contractor may charge as much as $1,000 for a consultation and estimate.

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