Tips on How to Become a Contractor
If you’re thinking of a career in the construction industry, then it could be a good idea to go over the following tips on how to become a contractor. This may help you to decide if the contracting business is for you.
We can certainly vouch for it. Since 1966, Storee Construction has been the leading industrial contractor in the Midwest. Our full-service commercial and industrial construction contracting services include renovations and modifications, along with equipment and facility relocations, safety oversight and correction, electrical system support, and equipment installations.
In other words, we do it all, so we’re uniquely positioned to provide an overview of how to become a contractor. Let us know if you have any questions!
Working in Construction
One can begin construction work as early as high school, although there are construction regulations and federal restrictions on the type of work a teenager can do onsite. For example, federal law forbids teenagers under the age of 16 from working in construction.
However, Career Trend writes, “teens who are 14 or 15 can work in the office of a construction company or in a sales-related job, but they can’t do the manual tasks related to construction.”
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can work on a construction site, but their roles are limited to those that do not put them near hazardous construction materials or more dangerous jobs, such as mixing chemicals or operating cranes.
Learning on the Job
Still, there is a lot to be learned from working on a construction site. Those who are interested in becoming a general contractor would be well-served to try and land a job within the construction industry. That way, an ambitious youngster can learn at least the basics of a wide range of issues related to the contracting business and construction projects, including:
- Building codes
- Business management for different types of projects
- Legal requirements and licensing requirements for contractors on the job
- Contractor licenses (including license bonds, surety bonds, and more)
- Types of specialty contractors
Thus, it’s possible to learn a great deal before one even considers construction degree programs or licensing exams.
Plus, the sooner one begins, the faster those years of experience begin to add up! This can possibly lead to a general contracting position for the most talented members of the team, but there’s still work to be done. Let’s take a look.
Becoming A Contractor
There are some very specific requirements for becoming a general contractor; these requirements can vary by state. Be sure to check with your state to find out what you’ll need to do.
States have general contractor licensing exams. These exams can cover a wide range of topics, including legal and safety rules and regulations, as well as the more nitty-gritty details of contracting work, such as HVAC systems and materials.
In some locales, contractors’ licenses are divided into classes: Class A, Class B, Class C, and so on. The license class determines the scope of the work you will be permitted to undertake.
You’ll also need to decide at some point whether to aim for a general contractor’s gig or one of any number of specialties. These can include concrete, electrical, drywall, and many, many others.
WikiHow has a good primer on getting licensed as a contractor.
Finally, you’ll need to stay apprised of not just rules and regulations, but insurance and bonding. Again, it’s important to check with your state to find out what’s necessary.
Quick note: You can always get in touch with the International Code Council (ICC). They can help you find info regarding contracting exams for your specific state.
Are You Cut Out For The Contractor’s Life?
The folks at Realtor.com have a good summary of what life may be like for a contractor.
“Contractors work with people, not just planks of wood,” they write. “They must know how to inspire people to do their best work and have the patience to work with clients who change their minds constantly or take forever to pick a paint color. The workday is filled with a dozen problems, and a good general knows there’s no profit in drama and is able to find solutions quickly and economically.”
Sound like fun? It is! Becoming a contractor may lead you to a fascinating and consistently engaging experience. It’s hard work, but the rewards are many.
We say give it a shot. Consider apprenticing with a construction company or working toward a higher degree in the construction trades. A successful contractor has an education, experience, and a wealth of knowledge on everything from state contractors’ requirements, licensing boards, liability insurance, and much more.
One doesn’t necessarily need a degree in construction management, although that doesn’t hurt. Some building contractors run small businesses of their own, and contractor earnings can vary depending on a number of factors. Just be sure to research what states require contractors to do in order to work in that state.
Good luck. We look forward to seeing you on-site!