You’ve decided to take the plunge and go into business for yourself as a general contractor. Congratulations! No long answerable to a supervisor or other so-called superior, you are now your own boss.
But after the glow of your decision fades a little, the question remains: what do you need to get started? You can’t just write the word “contractor” on the side of your car and go from there. Well, to be precise, you actually can, but it won’t do much good.
Here is what you need to launch that general contracting venture.
Establish A Base Of Operations
Maybe it’s just a single room in your house exclusively dedicated to your contractor business (an important distinction to make come tax time and you want to itemize!). Or perhaps you want to rent an office and storage space. After all, you ‘ll need room to store your equipment and tools, and space dedicated to the administrative side of your business.
Secure Your Starting Capital
Did you save up for when you would take this big step, or are you borrowing money from a bank or other lending institution? Small business loans are fairly popular, for example. But whatever the source, make sure you have seed money. After all, like the article “How to Start a General Contracting Business” says, “Contractors need tools, equipment, supplies, materials, employees, and other assets if they hope to compete with other companies.”
Get All Nice And Legal
Make sure you have the appropriate licenses, permits, certifications, and registrations. The requirements vary from state to state, so make sure that you are in accordance with your town, county, province, or state.
Any accident that can happen will happen. The wrong incident at the wrong time can wipe out a small business. Make sure that you have the right insurance set up. Meet with an agent and find out what’s expected of you. Also, see that you get bonded. Surety bonds are used to cover you for any work that you don’t complete.
And speaking of all this bureaucracy and paperwork …
Make Sure Your Taxes Are Squared Away
You just knew that taxes would be brought up, didn’t you? This is why that whole matter about the aforementioned home office is relevant. Arrange to meet with a tax accountant who specializes in small businesses and find out what kind of paperwork you need to keep track of during the fiscal year. This is especially important for the deductions you may want to claim. You need verification.
Decide If You’re Hiring Help
Are you strictly a one-person operation, or will you need assistants and other help? For that matter, will you be doing your own paperwork, or is someone else doing that for you? You should sit down and sort that information out because that will help you with the next step.
Establish A Budget
Make a list of all of your expenses; insurance, materials, utilities, vehicle, hired help. Create a budget that helps you get a grasp on where all of the money is going. That way, there are no surprises.
Put Out The Word
Finally, advertise yourself. People won’t buy something if they are unaware that it exists. You can do something simple like print up flyers, order business cards, or, if you want to spend zero money on promotion, create a business page on a social media network such as Facebook, and start spreading the word to family and friends. Hey, it’s a start.
Social media is also a great way to establish connections, and it’s amazing how much work you can get via word of mouth.
Follow these steps, and you’ll have a smooth launch. Now, get out there and start working. Good luck!