General Contractor vs. Remodeler: What's the difference?

Apr 3, 2018
Remodeling Tips


When it comes to home improvement projects, finding the right professional for the job is crucial. Among the many options available, two commonly sought-after professionals in the home and garden - interior design industry are general contractors and remodelers. While their roles may overlap to some extent, understanding the key differences between them is essential to ensure you choose the right expert for your specific project needs.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor, often referred to as a construction manager, is responsible for overseeing and managing various aspects of a construction or remodeling project. They play a pivotal role in coordinating the different trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and more.

General contractors take charge of the entire project, from initial planning and obtaining necessary permits to scheduling and supervising labor. They ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and in compliance with building codes and regulations.

What is a Remodeler?

A remodeler, also known as an interior designer or renovation specialist, specializes in transforming existing spaces into more aesthetically pleasing and functional areas. They focus on improving the visual appeal and functionality of a room or property.

Remodelers are skilled in evaluating the current layout and design of a space and providing recommendations to enhance its overall appearance. They work closely with clients to understand their vision and tailor the project accordingly. From selecting materials and finishes to rearranging furniture and fixtures, remodelers pay attention to every detail to create the desired ambiance and functionality.

The Key Differences

While both general contractors and remodelers contribute to home improvement projects, there are some distinct differences between their roles:

Scope of Work

A general contractor takes on projects that involve new construction, additions, or extensive renovations. Their focus is primarily on the structural aspects of the project, including foundation, framing, roofing, and major systems like plumbing and electrical. They manage various subcontractors and ensure the project progresses smoothly.

On the other hand, a remodeler specializes in transforming existing spaces without major structural changes. They primarily concentrate on the aesthetics and functionality of the area, such as selecting decorative elements, choosing color schemes, rearranging furniture, and optimizing layout for better flow.

Project Management

General contractors are responsible for overseeing the entire project, including coordinating all trades, managing schedules, and ensuring compliance with building codes. They act as the project manager and handle all the logistical aspects to ensure a successful and timely completion.

Remodelers, while also overseeing projects, focus more on the creative aspects of design and implementation. They work closely with clients, assisting in decision-making and offering expert advice on materials, finishes, and overall design concepts.

Licensing and Certification

In many jurisdictions, general contractors are required to hold specific licenses and certifications due to the nature of their work involving major construction or remodeling. These licenses ensure they have the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle complex projects safely and in compliance with local building codes.

Remodelers may or may not require licenses, depending on their scope of work and local regulations. However, certifications from reputable interior design or renovation associations can serve as a testament to their skills and professionalism.

Choosing the Right Professional

When deciding between a general contractor and a remodeler for your project, consider the following factors:

Project Complexity

If your project involves structural changes or new construction, a general contractor is best suited to oversee the project and manage the various trades involved. They have the experience and knowledge to handle complex tasks and ensure compliance with building codes.

For projects focused on improving aesthetics and functionality, such as kitchen or bathroom renovations, a remodeler can help bring your vision to life. Their expertise lies in creating visually appealing and functional spaces without major structural alterations.

Budgetary Considerations

It's important to discuss your budget with potential professionals upfront. General contractors typically handle larger-scale projects and may come with higher costs due to the extensive coordination and management involved. Remodelers often offer more flexible pricing options, especially for smaller-scale renovations.


If your project needs to be completed within a specific timeframe, a general contractor can ensure efficient coordination and timely completion of tasks. Remodelers, while also conscious of timelines, may require more flexibility due to the nature of their work and potential design iterations.


Choosing the right professional for your home improvement project is crucial to achieve the desired results. General contractors and remodelers each bring unique skills and expertise to the table, catering to different project needs. Assess your requirements, budget, and desired outcomes carefully to make an informed decision. Don't hesitate to reach out to Weymouth I+D, leaders in the home and garden - interior design industry, for expert advice and assistance in choosing the right professional for your project.