What Does a General Contractor Do?

By Hovik Akopyan, General Contractor at Akopi Builders


Navigating the complex world of construction, whether for a personal home or a commercial project, requires a pivotal figure: the general contractor. As a seasoned general contractor in Los Angeles, my role bridges the gap between your vision and the practical execution of your building project. Let’s dive into what a general contractor does and how you can hire the right one for your needs.

7 Tips for Hiring a General Contractor

1. Over-the-Phone Interview

The first interaction with a potential general contractor should be an over-the-phone interview. This initial contact will help you screen for responsiveness and professionalism. Ask about their experience, particularly as a custom home builder or a home builder in Los Angeles, depending on your project’s needs.

2. Meet in Person

Nothing can substitute for a face-to-face meeting. This encounter allows you to assess the contractor’s communication skills, professionalism, and the chemistry that will inform your project’s success. It’s also an opportunity to discuss your project in detail and gauge their enthusiasm and understanding of your vision.

3. Research

Before committing to a general contractor, do your homework. Check their credentials, review their portfolio, and read client testimonials. Look specifically for someone with a solid reputation as a top general contractor who has completed projects similar to what you envision.

4. Put It in Writing

Ensure that all aspects of your project are clearly outlined in a written contract. This includes scope of work, budget, timelines, payment schedules, and other specifics that can safeguard your investment. A well-drafted contract prevents misunderstandings and provides a legal backbone for the agreement.

5. How to Find a General Contractor in Los Angeles

Finding a reliable general contractor in Los Angeles requires a combination of online research and local insights. Utilize platforms like Houzz, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau to find reviews and ratings. Networking with local real estate agents and architects can also provide credible referrals.

6. General Contractor Pricing, and Fees

Understanding how general contractors charge for their services is crucial. In Los Angeles, contractors typically use a cost-plus model, a fixed bid, or a combination of both. Knowing the differences and which model best suits your project can help manage your budget effectively.

7. Difference Between Cost Plus Versus Fixed

In a fixed bid agreement, the contractor charges one set price for all work performed. This model offers predictability but can be rigid if project details change. Cost-plus contracts, preferred by many top general contractors, involve paying for actual construction costs plus a specified fee, offering flexibility but less cost certainty.

Top 10 Questions to Ask a General Contractor

1. How long have you been working in the construction industry?
2. What is your experience with projects similar to mine?
3. Can you provide a detailed timeline and bid?
4. How do you handle changes to the project?
5. Who will be the daily point of contact?
6. What are your methods for ensuring project stays on budget?
7. Are you fully licensed and insured?
8. What type of warranty do you offer on your workmanship?
9. How do you manage subcontractors?
10. Can you provide references from previous clients?

How Much Do General Contractors Charge?

General contractors typically charge a percentage of the overall project cost, usually between 10% to 20%. This can vary based on the project complexity, materials used, and market conditions. In Los Angeles, the demand for high-quality construction has led to a competitive market where pricing transparency is key to attracting and retaining clients.


A robust warranty indicates a general contractor’s confidence in their workmanship. Ensure your contractor offers a comprehensive warranty that covers all aspects of the labor and materials used. This not only protects your investment but also provides peace of mind for the longevity of your construction.


The role of a general contractor is indispensable in the construction process. By understanding their responsibilities and following thorough hiring practices, you can ensure that your project in Los Angeles is completed to your satisfaction, aligning with both your vision and your budget. Choose wisely, plan carefully, and build the future you envision with the right professional by your side.

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AKOPI BUILDERSAkopi Builders is a Los-Angeles-based general contractor focused on modern design, interiors and landscapes. From our inception, we have delivered exceptional works. As a full-service contractor.

backyard renovation with pool
custom home work view
Sample brick layout

10524 Arnwood Rd.
Lake View Terrace CA USA

T. 818-214-7500E. hovik@akopibuilders.com