How to Get Started as a Contractor? Tips & Advice

How to Get Started as a Contractor? Tips & Advice.

Are you searching for a new career opportunity?
Do you want to create your own business?

Then becoming a general contractor might be the right path for you, especially if you have experience in the construction industry. This business can be quite lucrative but before checking your bank account you’ll have to prepare yourself for the job. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Get Licensed & Certified

The first step in becoming a successful contractor is getting licensed. You will have to dedicate time to prepare for the license exam and study hard. A construction project is no game – a lot of things can go wrong if you have no idea what you are doing. So it’s essential to know how to tackle different types of problems and manage to run a successful project.

Luckily, there are numerous e-learning websites which provide courses for becoming a general contractor. You will be able to gain expertise in the comfort of your own home. To name just one example but a professional can clean a carpet 85% faster than DIY.

2. Learn the Industry Regulations

You might be familiar with the construction site regulations but you also need to have immense knowledge about the industry regulations. To stay updated with the latest industry requirements make sure to regularly check the government websites where all new information is posted. 

Being aware of any changes will help you protect your business and possibly save you time and money. Consider building a health & safety culture to cut out risk and unnecessary accidents.

3. Always Keep a Sharp Eye on Finances 

Finances are an important aspect of the construction business because often there are overhead expenses. You need to track them carefully and adjust your plans accordingly to avoid bankruptcy. 

When preparing an offer for a client, make sure to take into consideration all potential costs such as labor and materials. You can also create a budget to track any incoming and outgoing money flow. Whenever you expect bigger expenses, you can exclude unnecessary ones or increase your rates.

4. Office Freshness & Hygiene

Your office can say a lot about your business. Ensure it’s presentable especially if you welcome clients in it. Develop your own office cleaning routine or hire a professional cleaning company to handle this task on a weekly basis. 

Personal hygiene of your employees is also important. Make sure to set certain standards about cleanliness and dress code. 

Other aspects concern the quality and freshness of the air. Consider the use of a fresh air purifier to filter the air from dust, dirt, allergens, and humidity.

5. Cutting edge software

Service companies can benefit a lot from professional business software solutions. Buying one could be the best investment you’ll ever make. There are numerous helpful functions that will help you keep track of your projects and clients. Such business software can also help new clients find you and book a service with you online. To get a good example, take the Vonigo software tour and see for yourself how it works.

Most software companies offer excellent customer support so even if you’re not tech-savvy, there will always be someone to assist you.

Other solutions include state of the art customer satisfaction tracking that allows truly data-based decisions and management. 

6. Green thinking

It’s a good idea to think about the environment when you develop your contractor business. There are plenty of things you could do around the office to reduce single-use plastic and your office waste as a whole. 

  • You can install recycling bins and add notes about what items can be put in each one.
  • Employees can bring their own cups, dishes, and cutlery for the office kitchen. 
  • You can install energy-saving light bulbs.
  • You can store your documents digitally instead of printing them out on paper.
  • Instead of purchasing bottled water for the office, you might invest in a filtering system for the tap water which will save you money in the long run.

7. Company Etiquette and Culture

Now that you are the boss, you will have to set an example and create an appropriate company etiquette. This means respecting the privacy and work of your employees, keep noise and distractions to a minimum, be tolerant, maintain your office and desk tidy.

You should make your employees feel at ease and as a part of a team. You can achieve that by creating a special onboarding process for new people arriving in the company, organizing team-building events, celebrating employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries with personalized gifts. 

8. Assess your internal organization

Once you set up your contractor business you should assess it regularly to identify potential threats and opportunities. The following questions will help you with this process:

  • Do you operate within your budget?
  • Do you have repeat sales?
  • Do your current clients refer you as a reputable business?
  • Do you have any customer reviews or ratings?
  • Do you keep track of the employee turnover rate?

You could easily answer these questions by listening to what your clients and employees are saying about your contractor business, checking your financial reports and documents. This assessment will help you detect the weak links in your company and fix them.

9. Be Prepared

At all times you should be prepared for different scenarios and outcomes. In the business world, even the tiniest thing has the potential to cause huge damage. That’s why you should always be alert.

Imagine that you have almost completed a home renovation but suddenly realize that you don’t have a $10 part to be fully ready with the job. This tiny part can now be the reason you lose hundreds of dollars. In the best scenario, you will have to go to the closest store to buy it but this will cost you valuable time.

10. Choose the Best Clients

At the start of your business, you will want to take every possible client to gain some profit. But you will have to learn to carefully select your customers and even turn some of them down. What the professionals at House Ace share, is that It’s better to land a big project with a client who will pay you upfront instead of a client with a small renovation job who will only cause you headaches. 

You should be interested in clients who will bring you a high return on investment. To select the best customers you could perform a little research beforehand. You can ask other contractors if they have worked with that particular client, you should also pay attention to the way the person communicates and treats you and your employees.