If you’re thinking of working in the construction industry, there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to be employees of a medium to a large company. However, if you’d like to maximize your income and have a more flexible work/life balance, you may want to consider setting up in business as a qualified, licensed contractor.
How To Qualify
You’ll need to follow the rules and regulations of your state. For some, shadowing experienced building contractors is helpful. Regardless, you will want to get licensed first by an approved body in your region. If you’re based in states like Alabama, learn more about getting qualified at contractortrainingcentre.com.
Depending on where you live, you may need to pass several exams in your chosen field, or prove your skill-sets based on your experience. Expect to be asked for a background check, a review of your business or personal finances, and be prepared to put up money for insurance or a bond.
Thinking Of Staying Unlicensed?
Think again. In many states, if you’re caught operating without a license you could be fined, put on probation or face jail for up to a year. Get caught a second time and you could be looking at a five-year sentence.
Personality Traits Of Successful Contractors
Aside from having a building contractor license, it’s wise to think about whether you have a personality that’s suited to being self-employed. You’ll need to be flexible, honest, direct and be able to build trust with others quickly. If you’re hard-working, motivated and do an excellent job, that’ll help too.
Your ability to build and maintain relationships – not just with potential customers, but also subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers – is vital.
The Benefits Of Becoming A Licensed Contractor
Once you’ve got your building license, the world of construction opens up and you’ll find:
- You’ll have the potential to earn more as you’ll have more control over your hourly rate and price quoted per project.
- There will also be more opportunity as a licensed, rather than an unlicensed, contractor to work on large-scale construction projects.
- Over time you could earn more as a contractor than an employee of a building company.
- More freedom as you can choose which clients to work with, as well as the option to schedule time off when needed. This can improve your quality of life significantly.
- A more flexible career as you can choose who you work with, where you work, the size of the project and whether it’s small, residential or commercial.
However, there are drawbacks to being self-employed:
Remember that as a self-employed contractor, you’ll have to contend with:
- Lower financial stability, as it can take time to build your business and have regular clients. As your business grows due to word of mouth and recommendations, potentially you could earn more than your employed colleagues.
- Increased expenses such as licensing and bonds, marketing, business operations, as well as personal and business insurance.
- Remember to set aside some of your earnings to deal with these expenses, so you avoid any nasty surprises.
- The challenges of running your own business are quite different from knowing the ins and outs of your chosen field in the construction industry. As a business owner, you’ll need to wear many hats – including taking care of accounting, record-keeping, marketing, and planning for the future.
- If you struggle with some of these responsibilities, consider outsourcing them to other professionals so you can focus on what you do best.
If you’re ready to enter this lucrative career, start by studying for the exam. Passing the contractor exams gives you a proper grounding in all aspects of construction, as well as many relevant business practices. To find out which licenses are required in your local area, contact your planning and development board, or contractors’ state license board.