Making the transition from residential to commercial contracting can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be!
Commercial Construction 101: Starting Your First Commercial Project
Once you are educated on how to get started, some of the key terms, and the dos and don’ts of constructing a commercial building, you will be well on your way to taking a leap into an exciting new facet of your career in construction.
Is Commercial Construction Right For Me?
You may be asking yourself: should I take the leap into commercial construction? What will I gain?
Let’s discuss some of the ways commercial construction differs from residential so you can decide if this transition is right for you.
- Commercial construction is more structured than residential. You have the potential for year-round work and a consistent flow of jobs that you wouldn’t be able to get in residential work.
- Commercial construction often has a bigger payout. While you have to work faster and smarter, there is a likelihood you will be paid accordingly.
- On the downside, there are more hoops to jump in commercial construction. You’ll have to deal with increased safety regulations, permits, insurance, and other requirements you don’t need for residential construction.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to individual preference. Residential and commercial contracting both have their advantages, and it’s up to you to decide what you’re looking for in a career.
I’m Interested. What’s Next?
First, you’ll need to become certified as a contractor if you aren’t already. You’ll need to obtain licenses and permits based on what state you live in, and an educational site like RocketCert can help you with the tools you need to become certified and take that next step.
If you think commercial contracting may be right for you, let’s discuss a few tips to help you get started.
Creating A Budget
Commercial buildings have the potential to cost more than your average residential building, which means you’ll need a bigger budget.
If you aren’t an excellent money manager, now would be a great time to take a class, as you will be responsible for handling building costs that could add up to $40 per square foot.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a contractor is mishandling the budget. Creating a budget for your project and sticking to it will be instrumental in your success.
Private Vs. Public Jobs
There are several different ways to find a commercial contracting job. You can get a private job, which is led by an individual who sets their own rules and requirements, or you can get a public job that is advertised publicly and usually government-led.
Anyone can view public jobs, but private jobs are usually obtained through networking and personal industry relationships.
Choosing A Location
Where are you going to build? Scouting a good location for your project should be one of your first considerations. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself when choosing a location:
- Am I allowed to build here? Have I verified the zoning for this area?
- Will the surrounding buildings and businesses benefit or suffer from my project?
- Can the sewer lines in this area handle my project? How about the water lines?
- Is the infrastructure here prepared to handle a commercial building?
- If there’s an emergency, how close is the nearest medical center? How about fire hydrants?
This is by no means a comprehensive list but it can give you a good starting point to start asking necessary questions about your commercial building location.
Finding The Right Projects
When you’re just starting out, stick to projects within your capabilities. While it can be tempting to put in a bid for an impressive commercial project, stick to jobs you know you can hit out of the park.
While you’ll eventually grow to a place where you can deliver on the bigger projects, start with jobs you know you can nail so you can create good working relationships and start to build your network.
Transitioning to commercial contracting doesn’t have to be a pain. If you’re intrigued by some of the information discussed above, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Get your license and learn more about this exciting career opportunity.