How to Become a Construction Contractor: A Guide

How to Become a Construction Contractor: A Guide

If you’ve been in the construction business for any length of time, then you know becoming a contractor is no cakewalk. Contractors have the responsibility of managing nearly every aspect of the construction project, from beginning to end. The demands of the job are definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Even though becoming a contractor requires time and effort, it’s a rewarding career. And as a construction worker, you get used to putting in a lot of time and effort. You will have to get certifications and licenses to prove your competence and do some hands-on work as well. There’s a lot you need to do to prepare for the journey ahead of you. Continue reading to learn more about what it takes to become a general contractor. 

Learn the Skills of the Trade

Just like with any career field, you can’t start at the top of the construction field. Your first step toward becoming a contractor is to learn the skills of the trade. To become a contractor someday, you need to get into an apprenticeship program to jumpstart your career.

Many people get into the construction trade by becoming apprentices. Apprenticeships give you an opportunity to earn while you learn through a combination of hands-on work and classroom time. 

Becoming a skilled builder early in your career is crucial to being a great contractor later on. You need to decide whether your focus will be on building or a specialty such as plumbing or electrical work. 

During your apprenticeship, you’ll learn the more intricate tricks of the trade like custom millwork and custom drywalling. Completing your apprenticeship will prepare you to qualify for your journeyman or tradesman certification. 

As a certified tradesman, you’ll be in high demand for good-paying construction jobs, giving you invaluable experience. You’ll be the boss when you become a contractor, but the best leaders are able to draw on their experience as a construction worker. You’ll gain know-how, perspective, and patience at this phase that will serve you well as a contractor.

Become a Certified Contractor

Learning your craft and becoming a certified tradesman are just the first steps to becoming a contractor. Every state in the US requires you to hold certain certifications to be a general contractor. Each state has its own qualifications, and some states allow the local government to handle licensing. 

Becoming a contractor will require more education. The type of schooling you need depends on whether you intend to become a specialty, building, or engineering contractor. 

If you become a general building contractor, then you’ll be the head of entire building projects. It’ll be up to you to hire subcontractors to complete parts or the entirety of construction projects. 

You’ll be responsible for making sure that the foremen and construction workers have all the equipment they need for the job. You’ll have to deal with cranes breaking, backhoes getting stuck in the mud, and forklift engine maintenance. Having relationships with the right equipment leasing and servicing companies will be crucial to completing projects on time. 

You’ll have to deal with the costs of materials and labor. You’ll be responsible for keeping up the morale of all of the workers under your direction. You’ll be responsible for making sure the customers are satisfied with the finished products. You’ll need every experience you’ve had throughout your construction career to thrive.

Climbing the Ladder

Being a certified contractor doesn’t mean that jobs are just going to start landing in your lap. You may have to stick to being a construction worker for a little while before you have the capital to start your own construction company. The good news is that with all of your training, you will be ideal for leadership positions such as foreman or supervisor. 

Being ready to start your own business isn’t based solely on having capital. You’ll be bidding for jobs against other contractors, so it’s important to build relationships and maintain a good reputation as well. If you do those things, then when you do make that big step, you’ll be in a prime position to succeed.