GCs Have No Formal Training
It's a common misconception that general contractors are just people who have experience with building and construction. This can be true, but there are many GCs who went to school for engineering or architecture in addition to specialized construction skills.
GCs Don't Need a License
At least in New Jersey - this is not true. Any type of altering service rendered on a residential home by an individual or business requires a 'home improvement' or 'general contractor' license. Those terms are used synonymously in NJ.
You Guys Just Swing Hammers
This is abhorrently untrue. One main responsibility of a GC is to continually seek out and land new work. Estimates leave the office to potential clients almost daily.
Multi-tasking is another trait of a good GC; once a bid is acquired, permits need to organize permits, subcontractors, material vendors, and equipment rentals if needed. You'll need to schedule deliveries and times your crew is on the job site. Also, you'll need to be sure jobs done by subcontractors are finished so the next phase of the project can be initiated.
Cheaper Estimates Are Better
Most people are frugal - which can be understandable because your average remodel doesn't cost pennies. However, this doesn't mean the cheapest bid is the best. A low price commonly equals the bare minimum to complete the project. It may not include materials, yet include labor, or vice versa. Likewise, a high estimate doesn't automatically include the best quality of everything you want. Be sure to read every last word on your contract and ask questions.
GCs Rip Off Ignorant Customers
People can be ripped off in any business; but people seem to think most General Contractors make a business out of it.
Every business needs to pay for overhead. This ranges from advertising, office expenses, insurance, accounting fees, lead generation services, etc. Check out this article by CPR, which explains more in-depth why contractors charge what they do.
So in conclusion, get multiple estimates and inquire the contractor about any unsure term agreements. Never settle solely on the dollar figure.