So, you want to be a general contractor? That’s great. General contracting is a terrific industry full of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth people. We oversee all aspects of construction, from design and planning to building supervision. We might budget for materials and labor, manage workers, and serve as liaisons between clients and construction teams.
General Contractors ensure projects are completed on time and under budget. We also tend to spend much of our time behind the scenes working with wholesalers or other entities to secure the proper materials, permits, and workforce. As a contractor, it is imperative to keep clients up-to-date on the project, respond to emergencies or setbacks, and coordinate work with architects, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians. Contractors also handle worker safety, permits building code verification.
It sounds like a lot, and it is. General contracting is not for the faint of heart, but it for the strong, the tough, and the skilled. If this sounds like a career path for you, check out these steps to becoming a contractor.
The First Step to be a General Contractor: Get some Experience
Before jumping into any trade, it is wise to seek out opportunities to learn about the career you are considering. None of this is truer than with general contracting. The contracting career can be rewarding, but it is not for the faint of heart. Working with picky customers, tight deadlines, and even higher budgets can become stressful, but the satisfaction of creating something by hand is a proud moment that is hard to find anywhere else.
High schools and community colleges across the nation offer vocational training so curious students can get their feet wet. If you don’t have an option at your school, check out this website to find a program near you.
Step 2. Go to School
Do I hear some booing? Relax, not all schooling is boring. If you are seriously interested in becoming a general contractor you will find construction management certificates and degrees useful, not to mention interesting. A number of state universities have started offering the degree. You can expect to learn about building materials, construction financing, cost estimating, scheduling, green building and much more. Many even offer on-the-job training and/or apprenticeship with local companies, which brings us to our third step.
Step 3. Seek On-The-Job Training
If you want a job as a general contractor after graduating, you’re going to need more than book knowledge. Whether you’re seeking employment with an established company or wanting to start your own, hiring managers and clients alike want to know that you have the skills to make the construction plans come to life.
Find a seasoned contractor that you can work alongside. Look for these qualities to make sure you get the training you need:
- Licensed and insured
- A good teacher
- Someone who is willing to put you in charge of tasks
Step 4. Research Licensing Requirements
Many states require contractors to have specific licenses for different types of projects; for example, like high-cost, commercial, residential or public works contracting. The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies can help aspiring contractors learn more about the licensing process in their home states.
Step 5. Obtain Insurance and Licensing
Your state likely requires contractors to have a certain amount of liability insurance to cover any problems that might arise in the course of work, as well as a bond and/or business license. Contractors must meet all requirements before entering the field, so be sure to do your research before starting a project or you could be fined or even have your license revoked.
Step 6. Never Stop Learning
Like many fields, the construction industry is always evolving. Technology and tools are always being improved upon and government statutes are never the same year to year, therefore you should continue learning. Certificate programs, certifying programs, and other courses can keep skills sharp.
If you are looking for a competent contractor are interested in on-the-job training, Fix My House located in the Phoenix, AZ valley is a great place to start. Our experienced team has been working for Arizona residents for years. Whether you’re looking for a handyman to help install a ceiling fan or patch a hole in the wall, or perhaps you are expanding your home with exciting new construction projects, the team at Fix My House is at your service. We know windows, landscape, kitchens, plumbing, bathrooms, painting, room additions, HVAC, electrical, doors, floors, and more. Above all, we know that you want a trustworthy and honest construction team that will deliver quality service at a great price. Call us today for a free quote and a friendly smile.