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The construction invoice is for any type of service provided by a contractor on either a new or an existing structure. If the invoice is for maintenance, then it will (typically) be used by one individual known as a “handyman,” who will conduct the work and complete the invoice themselves. In either case, an itemized list of all materials used will be calculated in addition to the number (#) of hours provided for labor.

What Does a Contractor Do?

A contractor, specifically a building contractor, is a licensed supervisor that manages all aspects of a construction project. Contractors work closely with the workers under their leadership and often are tasked with providing each worker with direction as to the specific jobs they should be performing. Often, the timeframe, budget, and safety of a project are entrusted to the contractor, who works closely with upper management and the project owner. Contractors are typically considered licensed business entities with their own workforce and have to competitively bid on open projects.

General Contractor Duties & Tasks:

  • Project management and oversight
  • Providing materials, tools, and labor
  • Assuring the adherence to safety protocols and rules
  • Managing the project’s budget
  • Ensuring all necessary permits and licenses are held and up-to-date

Contractor vs. Construction Manager

With such similar roles, it can be hard to discriminate between contractors and construction managers (CM) – as a contractor can act as a CM depending on the type of job and the owner’s preference. However, distinct differences still exist between the two types of workers, such as the following:

  • Contractors are separate entities, whereas CMs can be a single person or a team that work closely with the project owner;
  • CM’s work for a portion of the entire project cost; contractors work for a set price that is determined during the initial bidding;
  • Contractors work more directly with those doing the actual construction, whereas CMs work more with administrative staff; and
  • Contractors often have a specialization in a certain field or task, such as plumbing, electrical, or HVAC.

How to Get a Contractor’s License

In general, those looking to earn their contractors license can head down one of two (2) paths: formal education or experience. In today’s work environment, employers and state licensing requirements lean heavily on university training, more specifically, a bachelor’s degree. Contractor certifications are almost always issued at the town or city level, with each area having its own education and training requirements. Because of this, outlining a single explanation is impractical.

For a state-by-state breakdown of contractor licenses, check out Although not mandatory by the majority of states, earning a certification through the American Institute of Constructors can help contractors stand out when bidding for jobs and applying for open positions.

  • Initial Requirements: High School Diploma or GED
  • Recommended Education: Bachelor’s degree in a construction-related major: classes should focus on project management, construction management, civil engineering, and architecture. Further education is highly beneficial.
  • State-by-State Certification Requirements: General Contractor’s License Guide

Construction Manager Salary & Hourly Rate ($/hr)

  • Salary: $108,210/yr (source: BLS)
  • Hourly Rate: $52.02/hr (source: BLS)