My understanding of contractors and clients is something like:

Party 1
Party 2
Party 3

  "->": "employs"

From the perspective of Party 1:

  • Party 2 is a contractor
  • Party 3 is a subcontractor

From the perspective of Party 2:

  • Party 1 is a client
  • Party 3 is a contractor

From the perspective of Party 3:

  • Party 1 is a ???
  • Party 2 is a client

What is Party 1 to Party 3? Is there an accepted word like "superclient" that Party 3 can use to refer to Party 1?

  • My belief is that Party 3 would refer to Party 2 as "the main contractor" and Party 1 as "the client". Party 3 would need, or at least prefer, to know that Party 2 was not the person or organisation driving the project and would have a different relationship with and attitude to Party 2 that to a client who owned the project.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 4, 2019 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


In the case of building work, Party 1 might be called the "property owner". In other contexts they might be called the "end customer".

Additionally, and again in a construction context, Party 2 is (at least in the US) called the "general contractor". Outside the construction field, they can be called the "primary contractor".

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