How to get Started as a General Contractor

Consider yourself to be qualified to work as a general contractor. Success as a general contractor in the construction sector necessitates a comprehensive knowledge base, strong interpersonal abilities, and business management skills. No one becomes a licensed general contractor overnight; this position requires years of expertise. You may still establish a strategy to someday work as a general contractor even if you’re just getting started. Here’s how.

Let’s start with the fundamentals: a contractor is somebody who works on a project-by-project basis rather than for a single employer. Contractors are responsible for handling their own taxes, commercial insurance, and retirement plans. A general contractor (GC) is a person engaged to oversee a project in construction. This includes working directly with the customer, supervising other employees, arranging orders with suppliers, and obtaining official permission. Although many jurisdictions don’t have a license for smaller tasks, the majority of states have general contracting licensing requirements. For information on prerequisites and the application procedure, contact your local licensing agency or office.

A test and years of work experience are normally requirements for obtaining a general contractor license. The content of these tests varies by state but often includes professional subjects like plumbing, HVAC, and building materials as well as legal, financial, and safety concerns. Additionally, you’ll need the appropriate general contractor insurance, which is necessary for many jurisdictions to obtain a license (Typically general liability insurance.) A lot of customers can also request to see your proof of insurance before hiring you. Insurance aids in defending you against mishaps or unforeseen circumstances that can significantly harm your company’s finances.

For those interested in becoming GCs, many building industry organizations provide training programs. You might, for instance, take a course offered by the Associated General Contractors of America or North America’s Building Trades Unions’ Building Trades Academy. With regard to design, safety and building rules, building materials, inspection processes, cost estimation, and even labor legislation, these courses equip you with the practical knowledge you need to oversee a construction project. Another choice is to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in construction management. A degree in construction management, which often includes structural engineering and business management coursework, can assist you in becoming a general contractor (GC) or open the door to chances in construction leadership. The majority of states demand more than a degree or school certificate to qualify for a general contractor license, so keep that in mind. You will still require practical experience. Your state’s qualifications for a general contracting license will vary, but you should have some professional experience in building and a firm grasp of the many crafts involved. Although some general contractors may start out as plumbers, electricians, or HVAC professionals, many general contractors start out as carpenters.

Varied trades have different learning curves, but they all normally require a combination of classroom instruction and supervised job experience, frequently through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs, which can run up to four years, are frequently sponsored by unions or professional associations. Without a specific career, it is also feasible to get the necessary professional experience, albeit it might be more difficult. Finding a business with a helpful staff ready to hire you as a “assistant” doing peculiar things before exposing you to more difficult ones is typically necessary for doing this. Carrying your own company insurance is a smart choice even while you’re in training.