What Is the Difference Between a Developer vs. General Contractor vs. Builder?

What Is the Difference Between a Developer vs. General Contractor vs. Builder?

Many homeowners turn to professionals to construct their homes and residences. It can be confusing to know whether you need one or multiple residential construction companies. What’s the difference between a builder and general contractor? How is a general contractor’s work different?

Difference Between Contractor, Developer, and Builder

Here are the basic differences between general contractors and developers or builders — should you need to call on them.

General Contractor

This is the person who manages the bigger picture. He will usually have a crew or can subcontract other work that your home needs to be done. It is usually up to a general contractor to maintain and run a construction business. A general contractor keeps everyone involved focused and maintains the schedule for timely project completion.

It is also the general contractor’s job to come up with the contract for the total cost of construction. He will estimate all the fees depending on the subcontractors, your home’s needs and, of course, your budget.

Hiring all the subcontractors, securing permits and scheduling the construction is the general contractor’s responsibility. He should be aware of any building code requirements. He’ll be the one you check in with to ensure that the construction is following your agreed-upon timetable. Because his job encompasses so many details, you will need to establish good communication and contact.


A builder’s job is to handle every stage of your home’s construction — from the time the foundation is set to the framing, walls, tiling, and roof.

Other mechanical details, such as electric wiring, plumbing, heating and water sourcing may not be his complete responsibility, but he may outsource these.

When you take a closer look, there is a difference between builder and developer. Developers typically work with several housing units at a time, and complete the big picture framework like obtaining permits, installing power lines and sewer systems, and streets for an allotment.

Builders typically just work on building the house from the ground up and are rarely involved in the creation of a housing allotment as a whole.

Production Builders vs. Custom Builders

There is a difference, however, between a production builder and a custom builder.

Production builders construct a large volume of similar houses every year, in multiple locations and varying markets.
A custom builder sticks to the specific design of a building architect or designer. Custom houses are special in the sense that they will never be duplicated.

A building architect or designer needs a very specific type of education for his role in construction. Whereas a contractor may do construction as a trade, a designer’s work is more specialized.

How Should You Choose the Right Building Professional for Your Construction Needs?

No matter which developer, designer, contractor or outsourcer you choose, the key is great working relationships. Look for those who not only have the talents or construction skills, but also the personal skills to help you realize your dream home and bring it to life.

Good communication skills are essential, so look for those who will be open with you about everything, from budget to tools, design and every detail of your project.

If you are considering working with certain contractors or developers, do some research. Look for former clients who can give you an unbiased review of their work and what the experience was like. Once you have obtained references, you will have a better understanding of what to expect.

Remember, once you start out on the journey of building your dream home or commercial building, it will be exciting … but very challenging!

Do what you can to hire the right people who can take on the enormous responsibility, and it will be an experience you won’t regret.

For all your Houston construction needs, contact us online or call us at 281-817-7160 for a consultation.

You may also like

Retail Construction – Understanding All Of Its Essential Aspects
Retail Construction – Understanding All Of Its Essential Aspects

Retail is the sale of a product or service to an individual consumer. Hence, retail construction is undertaken to maximize profit. It requires a lot of small pieces to realize a retail construction project.

Things to consider before starting office build-out
Things to consider before starting office build-out

There are numerous specific terms used throughout the construction industry. They make sense and are useful for contractors and architects to communicate, but they can be difficult for outsiders to understand.

Understand The Complete Commercial Real Estate Construction Process
Understand The Complete Commercial Real Estate Construction Process

Involvement in a commercial real estate development includes far more than just putting together construction materials. The building phase is just one small step in the entire project.