Construction is a massive operation in the United States. It accounts for hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it’s not going anywhere. As long as there is infrastructure and development, there will always be a need for builders and contractors.
If you’ve spent time as a laborer or even if you come from a business background, contracting is a lucrative career path. So let’s break down everything you need to know before taking the leap and becoming a self-made registered contractor.
Find Your Niche
Your first consideration should be getting a license relevant to your state. For instance, Florida contractor exam prep and license test are different from Texas’s. Then, know that there is more than one type of contractor, and getting your license depends on which one you want to be. Each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and you must determine what is right for you based on your history and specific skill set.
This is the person who runs general remodeling, renovations, and ground-up construction. If you ever had a new kitchen installed then you’ve worked with a general contractor. This is a management position: you’re more likely to be poring over budgets than swinging a hammer.
If you are already a master of your trade, this is a great option. Specialty contractors focus on one aspect of the construction process, like electrical, masonry, or carpentry. If you’ve spent your career working only in concrete or blacktop, for example, you may already be on your way to specialty contracting.
This usually depends on what your individual state requires. Plumbing, heating, and refrigeration are all tasks that require specific licenses in some states. These are considered more dangerous and essential aspects of construction and only the best workers out there will get certified as mechanical contractors.
The study, Study, Study
If you are used to working long hours outside with power tools, you should know this can be a bookish job. There are countless rules and regulations, specific not only state to state but even county to county!
The minimum education required is a high school diploma or equivalent, as you need math skills and comprehensive drafting knowledge. Financial literacy is a plus when dealing with both large contracts and tough clients looking for small budgets.
And of course, there will be a test. The contractor exam varies from state to state, and you have to prepare specifically for wherever your business will be based. Contracting in Florida is notoriously difficult — requiring a state license, registration, financial statements, and 4 years of relevant work experience. Some other states are more easy-going.
There are plenty of online resources that have tailor-made exam prep for every state and situation. But it is up to you to put the work in and show how committed you are to starting this journey. There is no shortcut to hard work, and that holds true for studying just as much as construction.
Set Up Shop
Once you’ve passed the test and have your license, it’s time to start putting your new skills to use. If you’ve already worked in construction, then reach out to your network and advertise yourself.
Determine if you want to work independently and start a small business, or if you are more suited to joining commercial projects. Running your own company gives you full control, but working with a large corporation can be more financially stable in hard times.
Whatever you choose, this can be a great job to support you and your family. A successful contractor generally makes between $50,000 and $100,000 annually. Control your path and take the next steps to become a contractor.