Posted in Career Insights
General Contractor Salary

If you’re considering a career in construction management or as a general contractor, you may have many questions about your earning potential. So, do contractors make good money? Here are some statistics regarding general contractor pay and the factors that affect total earnings.

Pay Statistics for General Contractors

How much does a general contractor make anyway? Generally, the pay for general contractors varies between states and industries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for general contractors as of May 2021 is $98,890 per year, and the average was $108,210. The lowest 10% earned less than $60,050, while the highest 10% earned upwards of $163,800. However, the difference in general contractor salary for civil engineering projects and residential projects is quite large.

For civil contractors, the median salary is $100,310. In contrast, residential construction managers and contractors earn a median salary of $84,810. Keep in mind that these salaries are for established general contractors with years of experience.

The average contractor salary listed by Indeed isn’t much different from the median salary reported by the BLS.

According to Indeed, general contractors throughout the US earn $93,252 on average. However, the average hourly rate for a general contractor was much different. On average, general contractors earn $23.72 per hour.

How Much Do Contractors Make in Different States?

In the United States, the annual mean wage for general contractors varies widely between states.

Regional data from the BLS shows that Alaska, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and California are the top five highest paying states in the country. In fact, general contractors in Alaska make on average around $150,230 or nearly 39% more than the national average annual wage. 

However, this isn’t the case in other states. In Arkansas, the state with lowest annual average wage for general contractors, the average salary is $82,920. That is about 25% lower than the average salary nationally. The median wage isn’t that different, sitting at around $75,390.

How Much Does a General Contractor Make Based on Their Industry?

Another factor that greatly affects average earnings for general contractors is the industry they work in. Since construction is needed in most parts of society, there are a wide variety of industries that use general contractors. Perhaps the most common industry for general contracting is non-residential building construction.

According to the BLS, this industry employs more than 70,000 contractors, who make around $110,690 on average. Unsurprisingly, the second most common industry is residential construction. In total, there are 46,140 contractors in this field earning about $99,210 annually. 

Generally, the top paying industries for general contractors involve natural resources or specialized professional services. However, they also employ the least amount of people. These industries include:

  • Pipeline transportation for natural gas,
  • Oil and gas extraction,
  • Metal ore mining,
  • Scientific or technical construction, and
  • Insurance carriers.

The highest paying industry is pipeline transportation for natural gas, where contractors make on average $209,940 annually. As of 2022, only 90 contractors work in this industry as reported by the BLS. 

Interested in Working as a General Contractor? Take Stratford’s Construction Management Course

To have a successful career as a general contractor or construction manager, you need to know the ins and outs of the building process.

At Stratford Career Institute, our Contractor/Construction Management course covers all of the fundamentals of residential construction, including project planning, drafting, design, safety, estimation, materials, and more. We’ll even go over budgeting for materials, labor, equipment, and other expenses. If this sounds like the career for you, enroll in our course today!


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Become a General Contractor

Become a General Contractor

Stratford Career Institute offers a convenient and affordable online course to teach you the ins and outs of residential construction, including project planning, drafting, design, safety, estimation, materials, and more.