When starting a construction business you will be providing your services to home owners, real estate developers and governments who develop public parks and other recreational areas. When starting a construction business you will be known as a contractor. A contractor is a person or firm who is contracted to build things. There are two types of contractors. There is a general contractor and an independent contractor. A general contractor manages a project and hires subcontractors to complete several parts of the project. For example a general contractor who is hired to build a house may hire a subcontractor to do the plumbing and another subcontractor to do the painting and so on. An independent contractor does not work for a general contractor; they work independently for their clients. As a contractor you will be expected to be knowledgeable about local building codes and ensure that clients are safe on the property you build.
Where will you work?
When operating a construction business expect to spend most of your time at the work site. Your construction business will be offering its services locally. You can decide how far you will travel for a project.
When starting a construction business your basic expenses will consist of building equipment, tools, supplies, reliable vehicle, general liability insurance, advertising and gasoline. There are also many costs associated with having employees such as workers compensation insurance, health insurance, taxes and paid vacations. You can decide to have uniforms for your employees as well. Your construction business should have a budget. It is important that you plan out your expenses and have an accurate idea on how much everything is going to cost.
- Gain Experience– Before starting a construction business it is a good idea to gain on the job experience by working for another construction business. Working for a construction business will help you get insight on what to expect and day to day operations. Also look for advice from construction business owners; just be sure they don’t think you are competition trying to get information from them.
- Continuing Education– As a contractor you should never stop learning; you want to keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in your industry. Here are a few places where you can further your education.
- Technical Schools– You can gain valuable knowledge and skills by attending classes at technical schools.
- Seminars– Instructional seminars can often be found in home improvement stores such as Home Depot. Suppliers of building materials may also present seminars. Be sure to inquire about them.
- Join an Association– Join an association such as the AGC. Associations may be offering conferences and classes.
- Magazines– Keep up to date with the latest trends by reading the industry magazines such as Contractor Magazine.
- Best team for the job– If you are a general contractor be sure you have reliable subcontractors. If just one subcontractor does a bad job on your project, your client will be upset and that is bad word of mouth publicity. Be sure you hire reliable contractors who will give you the quality work you expect.
- What to expect – Starting a Construction business is no easy job. When operating a construction business you will have to deal with poor weather, equipment breaking down, supplies arriving late and receiving the wrong materials.
Advertising a Construction Business
You can advertise your business through the methods listed below. I recommend experimenting with various advertising methods and keep track of which methods are more effective for your business. Stick with the methods that are bringing you high returns and get rid of the ones that don’t.
- Word-of-mouth– Word of mouth is the cheapest but can be the most effective form of advertising. Do quality work and leave your customers satisfied and the word will spread.
- Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, home repair stores and community centers. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byers on the street.
- Construction Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears. Network as much as possible. Seek recommendations from friends and family.
- Local.com Having a listing at Local.com can help people that are searching for your service or product locally find you.
- Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
- Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
- Newspaper classified ads– Newspaper ads in your local newspaper can help bring attention to your construction business. Check if your local newspaper has a home improvement section. Perhaps you can submit an article featuring tips and advice.
- Website– You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to general information about your construction business. Be sure your website has pictures of your best work.
- Yellow Pages– Consider buying an advertisement in the yellow pages of your local phone book. You can also include your business in the online version: YellowPages.com.