When starting your own business, you have hundreds, if not thousands of options. Many of them might be a good idea. But there are lots of different factors.
Will that business still is in demand in 10 years, 30 years, or 50 years? If not, it might not be the best opportunity. If you build a business that will always be in demand, you may be able to sell it in the future, helping you to retire comfortably, and maybe even retire early.
That’s why starting a general contracting business is has ways been, and will always be one of the best opportunities available. You can start small, without a lot of capital upfront, taking on smaller jobs until you build up the business more.
And there will always be money in construction, whether it’s new builds, remodels, or specific tasks like roofing or drywall. So how can you start a general contracting business? Keep reading to find out now.
Before you can start swinging your hammers, you’ll need a license. Becoming a general contractor means meeting the requirements set forth by your state in order to receive a contractor license.
Each state has slightly different requirements, so research the state you plan to operate your contractor business in. In order to qualify, you’ll want to have experience in construction, ideally with a few years under your belt.
It may also help to have a relevant college degree, though it’s not always necessary. Some states require you to pass a state exam, so plenty of studying will need to be completed as well.
Once you are licensed, it’s time to start your business. The first step is making it legal. In the construction industry, you’ll likely want to set up an LLC. A limited liability company will help to protect you and your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit with your business.
Setting up an LLC is affordable and quite easy. You can do it yourself, or hire an attorney to draft one up specifically for your business.
You may also need to register your business name with the city or state you are operating in. It’s best to establish a business name that isn’t your personal name. Think of a name that hasn’t already been used in your area, and register a DBA for a few dollars.
Don’t start doing any work until your business is insured. Construction is a risky business, and accidents happen all of the time. At the bare minimum, you’re going to want general liability coverage. If someone gets hurt on your job site, whether it was your fault or not, you don’t want to be held financially responsible.
Likewise, if the work you do causes damage to someone else’s property, you don’t want to be responsible for paying those costs. So have an insurance plan in place before doing any work.
You can work with a business insurance provider to craft a bundle of policies unique to your business. This might include commercial auto insurance, professional liability insurance, property insurance for your tools and equipment, and others.
Create a Brand
While many people become a contractor without developing a brand right away, it’s not always the best approach. Creating a brand from day one helps to create a professional appearance for your company, even if you are still brand new.
A relevant, easy-to-remember brand name is crucial. You’ll also want to build a simple website where potential customers can read about your background, your specialties, your experience, and have the opportunity to contact you and request a quote.
Simple websites are easy enough to create yourself with DIY website platforms. Otherwise, hiring someone to build you a simple site isn’t as expensive as it once was.
Network With Subcontractors
There’s a difference between being a contractor and starting a construction business. In the beginning, you may try doing most, if not all, of the work yourself to save money. This might be a good idea so you can get money in the bank and invest in equipment and tools.
But to build a true company, you need to delegate most, if not all, of the day-to-day operations to others. In the beginning, you don’t need to hire employees but can instead build a network of other subcontractors to complete various tasks for you.
Having a handful of people on your shortlist to call, once you start getting multiple bids and jobs, will be key to providing a good experience to your clients.
Build Business Systems
Successful entrepreneurs are those who build systems and processes to manage most of the basic tasks in your business. This is easier than ever thanks to software for contractors.
For example, one of the most time-consuming tasks for contractors is quoting jobs. Those who do it by hand waste a ton of time. Plus, it’s often not even accurate, which is going to make your clients mad.
Instead, using smart cost estimating software, specifically designed to save general contractors many hours every week.
Other pieces of software are available to help manage communication with clients, stay up to date on accounting, managing social media accounts, and more.
Find Your First Few Jobs
With all of those tasks behind you, it’s time to go out and get your first job. Oftentimes, this means letting friends, family, and colleagues know that your new business venture is live.
Word of mouth will spread and you’ll be surprised to start getting inquiries right away. It might be helpful to offer a discount on your first few jobs so that you can build up a few positive reviews from satisfied clients. You can then share these reviews on your website, to encourage future customers to hire you at full price.
Starting a General Contracting Business Is a Big Endeavor
It’s important to remember that starting a business, especially starting a general contracting business, is no easy feat. It involves a lot of work. It takes time, will cost you money, and will test your patience.
But once you are up and running and making a profit, it will all be worth it.
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