Working as a general contractor can be a very rewarding career. There are several benefits to working for yourself like getting to decide upon the clients you take on and being the person in charge of all major decisions. However, many people who wish to become a general contractor don’t always know what all is needed to start up their own company. The following are some of the things you should know in order to start a successful career as a general contractor.
How To Start Working As A Contractor
It should be fairly obvious that you need to have some experience in the construction industry before pursuing a career as a general contractor. It is imperative to know the ins and out of managing projects to have clients willing to trust you to do the job properly when they hire you.
Ideally, you won’t even attempt to start working as a general contractor until you have a couple of years of experience working at construction job sites or working closely with a general contractor who is already established.
It is also important to have experience because you will need to have contacts within the industry as well as having built up a good reputation to some extent. There is no way to do either of these things without having some experience working in the construction industry.
One surefire way to make yourself more appealing to potential customers is to earn a degree and/or licensing in something related to construction. Even when you have experience already in the construction industry, you will be unable to get licensed without passing an examination. Every state has different requirements for licensing, so you need to research the local state requirements in order to become a licensed general contractor.
Some of the most common degrees are construction management, construction engineering, and green and sustainable design, which has increased in popularity over the last decade.
However, earning a B.A. isn’t always possible for everyone. Many people, especially those with experience, just take courses to pass a licensing exam or only will earn an A.A. That way, they can apply the credits towards another degree down the road. It also can help to take a couple of basic business courses to help with the financial side of running a business.
Other Skills You Will Need
While you must know the basics of construction to be a general contractor, there are other soft skills you ought to have that you may not gain through education or experience. These include:
- Communication Skills – This can help explaining to customers and employees what you need done and how to do it.
- Time Management – It is important to know how to budget your time on specific tasks so you will be able to complete jobs on time.
- Organization – Being your own boss means you will be in charge of everything from payroll and purchasing building materials to getting insurance and selling yourself to potential customers. All these tasks require you to be very organized, so you can stay on top of things.
- Decision Making – Being the boss means you make the final decision, so it helps to know how to make good decisions that you can follow through on.
- Filing Paperwork – You will need to learn how to fill out paperwork for taxes, worker’s comp, and building proposals to gain building approval. Knowing how to fill paperwork properly the first time can save you a lot of time.
General contracting is a great way for people who like to take a design and build it to see it come to life. Experience counts for a lot in this industry, but there are other parts of the job that are equally as important. Before deciding on becoming a general contractor, you should look into the education and experience you will need and speak with other contractors to get a better idea of what to expect from this career choice.