Building Your Business: Necessary Steps to Become a General Contractor

by Carter Toni

If you are sick and tired of answering to a boss and want a career where you can run the show, consider becoming a general contractor. If you see yourself as a well-organized self-starter with a knack for leadership and strong construction industry knowledge, then general contracting could be right for you.

What is a General Contractor?

The role of a general contractor is to manage the operations on a construction site from residential to commercial projects. Your job is to supervise and coordinate all aspects of the job site, from hiring carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, to scheduling deliveries and securing permits. Essentially a general contractor is a construction manager without a boss or the support of a company.

General Contractor’s Responsibility

Since a general contractor is essentially their own company, they are responsible for the safety of each worker on the site and professionally finishing the job. While choosing general contracting as a career path is challenging work, it provides the opportunity for financial freedom and a flexible work-life balance. If this seems like an exciting career to jump into, continue reading to find how to become a general contractor.

Learn the Ins and Outs of General Contracting

It may seem like an obvious step, but the only way to be a successful general contractor is to develop a strong knowledge of not only the construction industry but business tactics.

Start an Apprenticeship

One of the best ways to gain hands-on experience is to work under an established general contractor for at least 3-5 years. Working under someone else that is already successful helps you learn the necessary skills and develop an understanding of what the job entails.

Go to Trade School

Another avenue to explore is attending trade school. Trade school will teach you the necessary tools you will need to successfully become a general contractor and teach you things you might not learn from an apprenticeship. However, it is important to note that if you attend a trade school, it is recommended, you still work as an apprentice.

Take Your State’s Contractor Exam

In order to become a general contractor, you have to pass an exam before you get your license. Passing the test will ensure that you know everything you need to know to safely and successfully work as a contractor. Even though you will have a strong background of knowledge from your apprenticeship, you may want to consider taking online courses to be prepared for the exam.

Create a Business Plan

All successful businesses have a blueprint and business structure they abide by. It is crucial to develop a business plan that outlines everything you want from your career as a general contractor. Include everything from the types of projects you want to work on to how you’re going to fund your job sites and the goals you want to attain.

Get Your License Bond

Most states throughout the U.S require general contractors to show proof of a contractor’s license bond when applying for a license. A license bond is essentially a contract that guarantees you will follow the rules and regulations in your state.

Get Your Paperwork in Order

You won’t be able to apply for your license without the proper documentation. Make sure you have your exam results, a copy of your driver’s license, a background check, financial statements, proof of license bond and insurance, and of course, don’t forget to sign your application.

Build Your Team and Get To Work

Once you finally receive your contractor’s license, it is finally time to get to work. It is crucial to find the right team to work with in order to build a good reputation within your community. Start by taking small jobs and work your way up the ladder(no pun intended).

Work Hard and Have a Long Career

As long as you show your clients that you are dedicated to your career and are a dependable contractor, you’ll have a successful business and reach heights you never would have imagined.

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