23 Different Types of Contractors in the Trades & What They Do

23 Different Types of Contractors in the Trades & What They Do (Explained)

Different Types of Contractors

Contractors are always in demand. With so many contractors out there to choose from, it can feel impossible to stand apart from the rest.

Contractors are more complicated a topic than it might seem. Learning more about the various types of contractors, what they do, and how they differ from one another is a great place to start. Housecall Pro is here to help you learn all there is to know about contractor types, let’s dive in.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is the person or company that oversees a remodeling or construction project. It is common for property owners to hire a general contractor in order to ensure that the project is done on time, safely, and with all specifications met.

General contractors do a lot of things but may not cover every base. When it comes to specific tasks like roofing or new flooring, that would involve a subcontractor. For the most part, however, a general contractor will coordinate the various stages of a job to ensure that everything is done in a timely manner.

What are the Different Types of Contractors?

Someone searching for a contractor may be shocked to find how many contractor types there are. As a helpful way of breaking things down, we have narrowed it down to exterior and interior contractors, each offering their own unique services.

Exterior Contractors

As the name implies, these types of contractors do work outside of the home. There is a bit of crossover between the two, so some of these are going to flow between interior and exterior services, and vice versa.

That said, there are seven exterior contractor types to be aware of. Each varies in terms of cost, scope, and the types of projects they will handle. Some general contractors may handle any of these tasks or designate them to a dedicated subcontractor.


Concrete workers literally make structures from concrete. The process of mixing the concrete is a lot more difficult than it looks and takes a careful hand. The concrete is then poured to make a retaining structure and must settle properly.

Leveling must be done to ensure that the concrete settles well and that there is no runoff. Concrete workers handle a lot of peripheral things as well. The demand for concrete workers is always quite high, so working with a general contractor to land the right concrete worker may be the best option.


Mason workers are similar to concrete workers in one important regard. Mason contractors work to build structures out of stone, blocks, or brick. Generally speaking, they bind everything together using mortar to ensure stability.

Mason workers are in charge of repairing or constructing walls, chimneys, foundations, and any other structure that has been built using masonry materials. Some contractors do offer both masonry and concrete work, but it is rare.


One of the most common types of contractors providing exterior work is roofers. Whether for residential or commercial purposes, roofers can provide repairs or perform a new roof installation. Their job is to ensure that roofs are safe and capable of withstanding regular abuse from the elements.

The good thing about roofers is that they are familiar with a variety of materials. Commercial businesses may want an asphalt roof while a residential customer prefers a metal one. Roofers typically have their own crews to expedite the process.

Garage Door Service

This could probably fall under interior types of contractors, but let’s put it here since the garage is on the exterior of your home. Garages are basically mini houses and have any number of things that can go wrong at any time.

Whether it be repairing or replacing a large garage door, fixing structural issues, etc., a garage door contractor should be able to handle it. For the most part, custom home builders will also be able to handle the garage in addition to the rest of the build.

Landscaping and Mowing

Landscaping professionals go by a few different ways. It might be a gardener, groundskeeper, landscaper, etc. They are responsible for keeping up the general aesthetics of a property, working with the trees and plants. Landscaping services can apply to residences or businesses, schools, or arboretums.

Working with a landscaping professional means being able to address any regular upkeep or design issues that may arise. It can also entail simple maintenance work like pruning flowers, mowing the lawn, edging, and more.

Tree Trimmer

Building off the landscaping contractor, we have professional tree trimmers. Some landscapers include tree trimming in their list of services, though it isn’t universal. Tree trimmers do as the name suggests: they handle pruning, trimming, and removal of trees.

Following safety protocols is crucial for these types of contractors. A lot can go wrong and getting hurt is far more common than it should be. Proper safety equipment and protocols should be in place to ensure the safe removal of any branches, stumps, or trees.

Pool and Spa

Pool and spa contractors cover all the bases when it comes to residential and commercial pools and spas. From basic maintenance to new project construction, pool and spa contractors are generally able to cover all bases from start to finish.

The services offered depend on the particular contractor. Some prefer to handle the maintenance and upkeep of the pool itself. Others specialize in the construction and installation of pools and spas. Some offer all of these services under a single roof.

Commercial General

This type of contractor is not to be confused with a general contractor. They handle much of the same duties, but commercial general contractors tend to handle much larger projects. Think of industrial facilities and commercial buildings rather than residences.

A commercial general contractor is more likely to be involved in the construction of a new hospital or hotel. The owner of the project will hire the commercial general and the CG will then hire subcontractors – electricians, roofers, plumbers, etc. – to handle the variety of projects that are part of the job.

Well Driller

There are inherently dangerous jobs that are part of the construction world. Without a doubt, drilling and pump installation are among the most dangerous out there. Drillers and pump installers work on a huge array of projects like installing water pumps and digging wells.

This type of contractor has a very specialized set of skills. They need to be able to operate heavy machinery, the kind that can cause major damage if they aren’t handled properly. Well drillers must have excellent problem-solving skills. They need to figure out how to install a pump or well from the proper angle, manage weight restrictions, and a series of other challenges. Well drillers can be quite expensive but with good reason.

Fireplace and Chimney

These types of contractors could qualify for both interior and exterior services, but let’s put it here because of chimneys. The services provided by fireplace and chimney contractors entail everything having to do with both structures. The services offered run the gamut depending on the project at hand.

Fireplace and chimney contractors can handle both residential and commercial jobs. Whether that be cleaning and maintenance, general repairs, or a total removal/installation, they are up for the job. It is not uncommon for fireplace and chimney contractors to have a background in masonry given the common usage of brick in fireplaces and chimneys.

Interior Contractors

When things move inside, interior contractors become essential. These types of contractors can cover every square inch of the home, facility, or commercial building. General contractors typically offer a plethora of interior services, though there are niche interior services where using a subcontractor is the only option.

Though there are certainly more to choose from, interior services include things like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, flooring, and so much more. Finding a more skilled general may save time and hassle as opposed to hiring out several subcontractors for a single project.


Among the most in-demand contractor types is the HVAC specialist. As the seasons change, HVAC systems go into overdrive in order to keep homes and businesses as comfortable as possible from a temperature standpoint. Whether it be the furnace or air conditioning, HVAC plays an important role in any structure or building.

Like any other system with a lot of moving pieces and parts. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep those systems working optimally throughout the year. On top of that, HVAC contractors are capable of performing brand-new installations and replacements. HVAC contractors are generally required for maintenance twice per year at the very least.


Electrical work is both complex and dangerous. Any time you are working with an electrical current, something can go catastrophically wrong. For that reason, electricians are a must in any number of situations. With proper training and education, they do the job safely while ensuring that the wiring meets all fire and safety requirements.

Electricians maintain, install, and repair electrical systems in any given structure. Even within the electrical field, things can get diverse and feature a ton of specializations. One electrician may work with machine equipment while another would focus strictly on home repairs. Cutting corners when it comes to electrical work is not advisable.


Plumbers are in charge of repairing and installing pipes. Those pipes carry waste, steam, gas, water, and a variety of other substances into and out of the structure. These contractor types handle entire plumbing systems that run throughout a home or business. Plumbers work with a variety of materials like metal and plastics to fill the specific needs of their customers.

Plumbers are versatile enough that they can work with any number of services. Installing drainage systems, heating systems that use radiators or boilers, air conditioning systems, dishwashers, washing machines, freezers, and a litany of other things. If there is a water connection, a plumber is more than likely going to handle it.

Window Cleaning

Though most people handle their own windows with a little bit of glass cleaner and a rag, it takes a lot more to get a thorough clean. The elements, not to mention bugs and animals, can leave windows looking grimy and gross. That is why professional window cleaners can be the optimal service.

The pros have the right tools and cleaning solutions needed to get the best possible clean. More importantly, they can get to tough areas like second story (or higher) windows that homeowners should not handle. Window cleaners also work with commercial and industrial structures as well.

Carpet Cleaning

Though the world is seemingly in a collective hardwood floor phase, there is something to be said about carpeting. In addition to a softer feel, there are hundreds of colors to work with. The major downside is that carpeting gets quite dingy and dirty if it isn’t given the proper care along the way.

Carpet cleaners do more than break out the average steam cleaner that homeowners have. Using industrial-quality cleaning tools, carpet cleaners can remove tough stains and provide a deep cleaning to residences and businesses. The process pulls dirt, stains, and smells that may not even be apparent to the naked eye.

Appliance Repair

Virtually every modern home is equipped with a litany of appliances. Dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, fridges, and more all contribute to a better, more convenient quality of life. Unfortunately, they all have a variety of working parts that can wear down and falter.

An appliance repair contractor has experience with a variety of home appliances. Appliance contractors can perform maintenance to ensure consistent use while also providing repairs by replacing faulty parts. Some appliance contractors work with home warranty programs as well, handling maintenance and repair jobs through that service regularly.


This is another category that has some crossover with the exterior section. Painting is one of the most affordable and common ways of transforming a structure. By applying a new coat of paint, a single room or entire building can be made to look totally different without having to invest in expensive renovations.

Painting includes both interior rooms as well as exterior structures. Professional painters have high-quality paint and tools to provide a better finished product than the average DIYer. Painters take necessary steps to ensure that there is no dripping or spillage in the process. Plus, it saves home and business owners the hassle of having to prep everything.


In the vast majority of residential and commercial projects, drywall is a necessity. As the name suggests, a professional drywaller is someone who works to install drywall in a project. Drywall is gypsum plasterboard compressed into a sheet and it is often used to finish interior ceilings and walls but can work for exterior walls if it has been treated for that purpose.

Drywallers handle a wide array of job responsibilities. They measure and cut sheets of drywall to meet exact specifications within a working space. Drywallers also screw or glue sheets together to form a larger wall, then use plaster and other materials to “join” the pieces together with no visible seams. Drywallers ensure that any installed walls have been properly placed, sanded, and that they are ready to go for staining or painting.


Flooring contractors are as the name describes. They install, replace, repair, and refinish flooring in homes, businesses, and industrial buildings. Flooring contractors also work with a wide array of material choices like carpet, tile, linoleum, hardwood, and more.

In addition to new installations, flooring contractors work to repair or replace existing floors. There is even a niche of flooring contractor that works with residential flooring while others prefer to stick to the residential niche.


Design-build contractors handle every aspect of the building and construction work. They start with the design process, build the structure, and can sometimes handle repairing the homes, buildings, and other structures under their umbrella.

Design-build contractors work with developers, homeowners, engineers, architects, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, etc. to complete the work. They work very similarly to general contractors, distributing specific tasks to subcontractors that have more skill or experience.

Pest Control

There may be nothing worse as a home or business owner than having unwanted visitors. That doesn’t include in-laws, either. Insects, rodents, birds, and a litany of other pests can invade a home or business and cause serious trouble. That’s where pest control contractors come into the equation.

Professional pest control contractors meet with the client to determine the severity of the issue at hand. From there, planning and execution of the pest control process are implemented. In some cases, traps are fine. In others, chemicals are required to fully rid the building of pests. More importantly, steps are taken to keep those pests from coming back.

Custom Home Building

Custom home building covers virtually every aspect of the construction process. Custom home building contractors are not only responsible for the construction itself but every step of the process that comes with the territory. From planning to marketing, custom home builders handle it all.

Homebuilders work with customers and also market unsold homes depending on the agreement. Home builders handle the design, construction, and marketing of these homes but can also handle things like financing and planning as well. Some homebuilders even handle buying and prepping the plot of land.

Custom Remodel

The current housing market has really driven homeowners toward renovations more than anything else. It is a more cost-effective way of improving living spaces without having to go through the process of buying a new home. Even more beneficial for clients is the fact that a remodel can be customized.

Custom remodel contractors can either provide those services themselves or work with a series of subcontractors to get the job done. Renovations can run the gamut from a single room to an entire home or building. Remodeling involves plumbing, electrical, HVAC, flooring, drywall, and a litany of other services.

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What Common Problems Do Contractors Face?

Working in the trades comes with its own set of issues. Though contractors call the shots, they face challenges just like any business. Though there are more than just three to handle, contractors face these problems more often than others.


In any vocation, not just contractors, miscommunication is an issue. It is all too easy for a project to go awry because of simple miscommunication. More often than not, miscommunication happens between contractors and subcontractors, but it can happen with vendors and even customers.

Communication is a correctable but sizable issue. Having field service management software can help reduce miscommunication, provide real-time responses, and eliminate the inefficiencies that come with the territory. It might not be 100% perfect but shoring up any miscommunication will go a long way.

Work Delays

Another common issue that contractors have to deal with is work delays. Delays can come from a wide array of factors, each of which is capable of totally disrupting a project at any time. Environmental issues, economic changes, design issues, and more can all halt the process.

When it comes to the relationship between contractors and subcontractors, it often comes down to a disagreement about who is doing what and when it should be done. This goes hand-in-hand with the communication issue much of the time.

Lack of Proper Equipment

In order to do the job, contractors need the right equipment like anyone else. A lack of proper equipment is another common issue that causes problems between contractors and subcontractors.

The challenges come from a few different directions. It might be delays in deliveries, oversights regarding the requirements of the project, or insufficient planning. Whatever the case may be, a lack of equipment can ground a project to a halt.

Documentation Management

In the world of construction, it is the little things that tend to go wrong most often. Construction involves a ton of documentation that is essential to the various processes that a project entails. Receipts, contracts, material orders, insurance certificates, and more are all just part of the daily life of a contractor.

This also tends to be one of the issues that is more prone to human error. Even a small mistake can wind up having a large impact. More and more contractors are making use of field service management software to consolidate document management into a convenient and accessible place.

Cash Flow

At the end of the day, a contractor needs the necessary funding to get materials, hire workers, and ensure that the job can go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, far too many contractors experience cash flow issues. Payments can be delayed, funds tied up in other projects, and any number of complications can arise.

Another perk of using field service management software is being able to properly manage cash flow. Contractors can be aware of things like open lines of credit, current expenses, upcoming projects, and more. All of which have an impact on the bottom line and can potentially disrupt a job.

Equipment Maintenance/Replacement

This ties into the issue of not having the proper equipment for the job. Contractors will no doubt have a litany of tools available to them, but they need to be kept in the proper condition in order to do their job. Companies can be particularly neglectful of equipment costs as well as maintenance/repair costs.

Contractors need to monitor equipment consistently. That means being aware of the most recent service/repair date, any outstanding issues that each piece of equipment has experienced, and any other relevant information that keeps equipment ready to go.

Chasing Payments

When all the work has been completed, it needs to be paid for. While that sounds like a simple concept, far too many contractors get stuck chasing down payments from unreliable or “forgetful” customers. While there is no perfect system to implement, the right software can create an effective invoicing system.

Having efficient invoicing can make tracking down payments easier. Those invoices should include customer information, an itemized list of services provided, costs for each, taxes and other fees, and a clearly defined total at the bottom. Most of the time, customers just forget to make the payment, which is why sending reminder invoices can be an excellent solution.

How Can Field Service Management Software Help Contractors?

If you still aren’t quite sure how to stand out among the various types of contractors, there is an easy way to do so. Using field service management software, you can enjoy the litany of benefits that would not be available otherwise.

Reduce operations costs, automate services to free up manpower, improve productivity and efficiency, improve job dispatch and scheduling, and so much more. From top to bottom, the right field service management software will prove beneficial in so many ways.

Manage Your Business with Field Service Software Today

When it comes to managing customers, your schedule, or the litany of other challenges that face a business, Housecall Pro’s 14-day trial is the best way to go. Using our proprietary software, you can achieve a level of organization and efficiency like never before. Check it out today and see how much better things can be.

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Last Posted July, 2024
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