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A Comprehensive Guide To Types of Builders And Contractors




Just like construction and renovation needs differ from client to client, contracts and contractors also vary in type. Deciding on one helps the contractors, owners, and suppliers to stay on the same page.

Additionally, having to follow a specific contract type ensures timely, accurate delivery with customer satisfaction. All the work goes according to the plan; however, every kind of contract has its specifications. 

The Different Types Of Contracts To Consider

Signing a suitable contract with the right contractor is critical to the project’s quality of work and timely delivery. Building projects, like those for steel or metal buildings, are a significant investment, and it is imperative that your money is put to good use. 

That is why you must take the time to vet through available contractors and get an ironclad contract with them to ensure the success of your project. 

Each type of contract has its own set of perks and drawbacks. However, the most critical considerations are the scope, budget, schedule, delivery, and teams involved in a project.

  • Lump-Sum Contracts

These entail having a preset price with a clear project scope. Instead of breaking up the project into milestones and pricing each step, the project is priced as one whole before beginning with the work. Bidding in these contracts is simple, and a significant profit margin could be generated if the project is completed under the price. For the owner, this kind of project would bring timely delivery.

However, if the calculations and estimates are even a bit erroneous, the margin of error when setting the price could be enormous. If the costing procedures are inaccurate, there are high chances of the builder suffering a loss. Additionally, if the contractor chooses to outsource a few tasks, any problem will also be accounted for in the preset price. Hence, outsourcing can potentially bring loss to the contractor.

  • Cost-Plus-Fee Contracts

This type of contract brings flexibility for the builder. Only the contractor’s fee is predetermined, while the owner has to pay for the cost that goes into the project accordingly. Profit for the contractor is guaranteed, but the paperwork can be a great hassle. That is why keeping track of all receipts and payments is crucial.

When making this type of contract, classify what sort of costs shall be reimbursed and which ones can be accounted for in the contractor’s fee. 

  • Guaranteed Maximum Price Contracts

This type is a mix of the two types of contracts discussed above. It calls for the owner to fix a cap on the total cost. The owner would bear any additional charges for materials used and would also enjoy any subsequent savings. 

The project scope is clear, and the delivery of work goes on with mutual consensus. The project may even start earlier than scheduled after the cap has been set to ensure timely delivery. 

A pro tip to get the best bargain and ensure timely delivery of the project is to use the savings on the cost to entice the contractor. In fact, split the savings to create a win-win situation for both parties. 

  • Unit-Price Contracts

Rather than binding the contractor for the project’s entirety, this type of contract is divided into separate units.

The contractor may provide the owners with a fixed price for each unit of work. The total amount of work required is not precise, and the owner is at significant risk. These contacts are usually applicable in civil projects. 

The owners are responsible for providing for all additional charges that go into the extra work done. Additionally, the total price of the project can not be known until the job is complete. 

These contacts may not have a designated deadline to abide by as the amount of work required is not measurable, keeping the project scope slightly unclear in terms of daily tasks.


The complexity and expenses incurred by a project determine the type of contract that is the most suitable. It is best to consult with several builders and contractors before signing a contract with any one of them.

The correct cost estimates and realistic deadlines can only be set once you get in touch with contractors who care about your budget and time.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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