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Essential Steps to Becoming a Licensed Contractor

The construction industry provides thousands of jobs to many US citizens year after year. This industry is so vast and booming that it allows people to build their own construction businesses or find work opportunities based on their skill sets. Most people who own a construction business are called a contractor, but they can be categorized under different types depending on what type of construction services they offer.

If you are one of the many who aspire to become a licensed contractor and start your own successful construction business, here are some steps you can take to join the ranks of contractors in your local area.

Know Your Expertise

What skills can you possibly offer to your clients in the construction industry? Knowing your skills can help determine the type of contractor you might want to become. The construction business is a wide area of trade; it offers various types of services. The people behind them also offer different skill sets that complement the needs of customers.

The most common types of contractors that you can choose to become include the following:

  • General contractor. Also known as a direct contractor, a general contractor is a construction professional who oversees a construction project and negotiates directly or has a direct written contract with the property owner. The work responsibilities and project scope of a general contractor are determined by the property owner. The general contractor may hire subcontractors to get work done based on the scope stated by the property owner.
  • Mechanical contractor. This contractor performs work based on the type of license he has. Contractors that fall under this specialty include plumbers, refrigeration, and heating. Basically, mechanical contractors may only perform work that involves the mechanical aspect. They do not provide installation services, as they would need a separate license to provide such services to their customers.
  • Specialty contractor. A person with a license in this aspect can perform jobs that include carpentry, masonry, electrical work, concrete work, paving work, and many more. A person can work as a specialty contractor based on the requirements stated by local authorities.

Hone Your Skills

construction planning

This means getting a proper education, gaining the required number of units, getting a degree in the field of your choice, and getting enough experience. Some types of construction specialization may require only a high school diploma, but some may require a higher educational level or lower. Of course, experience working in a construction environment is also a must. The minimum requirements for experience may vary depending on each state, but most often, a minimum of three years working as an apprentice in construction is required.

Getting the required training apart from apprenticeship and experience is also a must. You also need to pass the various exams if there are any before you can be given a license.

Secure a License

Once you have done all the other steps above, securing a license is your next step. For this, you might need to contact the licensing board in your state to know the requirements you need to comply with to get a construction license. You might also need to get a surety bond as required by the state. A bond is essential to protect your clients from potential financial loss in cases where construction work is not performed within the standards set by the state.

Once you have completed all the state requirements, you can then fill up and submit your application and wait for the approval.

Create a Business Plan

As a newbie contractor in the construction industry, creating a business plan may help keep you on track with the different things you need to do to make your business a success. The business plan must include details on the type of specialization you want to focus on, your budget and finances, marketing plans, and many more. Your business plan must also include ways to make your business profitable and some alternative plans should it fail to reach its primary target.

Once you have secured a license and have prepared everything for the operations of the business, you need to manage your business accordingly. This part of running a licensed contractor business is probably the most challenging, especially with all other competitors near your area. Networking with other business professionals is also recommended. They may have a certain expertise that you might need and use in your own business.

It takes a lot of effort to become a licensed contractor, but it takes more effort to stay in the game when you have already become one.

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