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General contractors are always in demand, as people want to complete their home projects and get them done correctly. That said, general contractors are in even higher demand because many contractors are aging and people didn’t go into trades for years. In other words, there’s a huge business opportunity if you’re a handy person. We compiled a list of tips for building a general contractor business so you can get started easily; check them out below.

Tackle the Business Stuff Early

If you’re serious about starting your own business, then prove it. You should give your business a name. Even if you’re by yourself at first, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN allows you to open a business bank account. Additionally, you should have a solid website (even if it’s only a landing page) and be active on social media marketing. Finally, general contracting can be dangerous and open you to liabilities, so make sure you’re bonded and ensured––it’ll be expensive but it’s worth it and screams professional.

Be Available but Selective

Unless you had a customer base from the get-go, you’ll probably need to accept most jobs in the beginning. That said, as your name gets around over time you can (and should) pick and choose your jobs. It’s easy to look at a job and consider the $200 you might make off the job, but what makes more sense? A one-off job that pays $200 or a long-term job that pays $5000? We would hope you choose the latter. Another important aspect of being successful in contracting is your availability. Again, over time you can probably find a fairly regular work schedule but in the beginning, you just need to be available.

Surround Yourself With Great People

As your business grows and gains traction, you’ll probably realize you could use some extra help. Of course, you could hire people with little skill but they can offer labor––or you could expand your business by hiring people with skills you don’t have. For instance, if you don’t know plumbing, you should have a crewmember who knows plumbing. By hiring people with skills you don’t have, you can accept more jobs, and the customer only has to call you for service.

Stay on Top of Trends

Because a lot of general contractors are aging, they tend to have an outdated perception on a lot of jobs. You should know how to meet the trends that people are loving at the time, whether it’s color, palettes, or specific products like cable railings. A lot of older contractors aren’t familiar with cable railings, code and safety requirements, or how to install them properly––but you can.

As you might suspect, one of the last tips for building a general contractor business is providing quality work. You want to be the first contractor customers think of when they need work done, and the quality of your work plays a tremendous role in that.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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