A career in contracting offers many benefits: flexibility, a high earning potential, and networking opportunities, to name a few. Contractors have the unique ability to choose projects that interest them, manage their own schedule, and build relationships with clients and team members alike. The work of general contractors is expansive and involves overseeing project sites, acting as a liaison between the client and other parties, and negotiating budgets and conditions for each project. It’s certainly a rewarding job, but like any other, there are a few steps to take before diving into the field.
- Get licensed
The first step to becoming a general contractor is to study to pass your licensing exam. Fortunately, this can be accomplished in your own home through licensing online coursework. As you begin this licensing process, it’s important to do your own research about what particular license would best suit the work you hope to do.
Are you interested in electrical projects? Do residential construction projects sound more in your wheelhouse? No matter where your interests are, it’s important to make sure the license you pursue is suited to that so you can move forward into the field.
- Begin looking for job opportunities
It can be hard to know where to start finding projects and clients, but fortunately, the internet offers a great platform for those beginning their contracting careers. Get started by putting the skills and services you offer into some of the job-finding websites that help coordinate projects between clients and contractors. This is a great way to begin building a clientele and can help spread your name within your community. You can also respond to ads from people seeking contractors, and spread the word on social media or in community forums.
- Develop a marketing strategy
If you find yourself having a slow start to finding jobs and getting out onto project sites, it might be worthwhile to sit down and come up with a plan to build a brand and get your name out there.
Evaluate how much you would like to invest in this step, and consider reaching out to media outlets in your local community about the possibility for advertisements. Read up on building a brand for yourself and your business.
What unique qualities do you want to showcase about your business? What special offerings do you have? What could be your differentiation point? Think critically about what your edge might be, and what brand you want to build, and seek out outlets to convey this brand to your community.
- Network with other contractors
While other contractors might be the competition, building relationships with others in your field is key to finding success as a contractor. You can learn from their expertise, business strategies, and management techniques. These contacts can help you figure out what you would like your own business and career to look like, as well as help you stay up-to-date on the state of the field.
Having relationships within the contracting world will ensure that you remain acquainted with construction regulations and safety standards, and might also even provide you with more job opportunities. Fellow contractors may even be able to refer you to clients whose needs they find you equipped to meet, which will help you expand your business. Networking is essential to both beginning and maintaining your career.
- Bring enthusiasm and diligence to every project
Ultimately, the most important characteristic of a successful contractor is the quality of work they deliver. Approach each new client and project with thoughtfulness and personalize your work to the particular needs of the client. The best way to build a positive reputation in your community, and thus, attract more opportunities for work, is to focus heavily on customer satisfaction and try to emerge from each project with a new relationship built. This will lead to referrals among potential customers, a reliable company name, and an enduring career as a contractor.
By following these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful contractor in a very lucrative industry.