How To Get Started As A General Contractor?

Every economic downturn in the past was followed by a boom in the building sector, which raised the demand for experienced contractors above the supply. If you learn quickly and work hard, commercial contracting and building may be gratifying. 

However, after years of working for someone else, is it time to become a general contractor? Even whether it’s merely an installation, service maintenance agreement, or repair, the project is your duty. Although becoming a general contractor is difficult, you are your own employer and accountable for your own success.

General Contractors Eligibility Criteria 

The following are the prerequisites for general (or prime) contractors:

  • GED or high school diploma.
  • being able to lawfully work in the United States
  • a good work history 4 years at the journeyman level or higher in the previous ten years
  • the contractor’s license test is passed

Opportunities are made available by a general contractor license, but you must have prior training and expertise. Commercial general contractors have years of expertise in the field, as well as the necessary qualifications and licenses. 

Some even get Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees for a more up-to-date understanding of the market. Specialty contractors in plumbing, HVAC, or electrical work may desire to start their own general contracting firm, but owners must be aware of the requirements to do so.

Preparation Courses For General Contractors

For those interested in becoming GCs, many building industry organizations provide training programs. You might, for instance, take a course offered by the Associated General Contractors of America or North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Building Trades Academy. 

With regard to design, safety, building rules, building materials, inspection processes, cost estimation, and even labor legislation, these courses equip you with the practical knowledge you need to manage a construction project.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in construction management is an additional choice. A degree in construction management, which often includes instruction in structural engineering and business management, can assist you in becoming a general contractor (GC) or open the door to chances in construction leadership. Remember that in the majority of states, a degree or educational certificate won’t be enough to obtain a general contractor license. You will still require practical experience.

Work Experience For General Contractors

Your state’s qualifications for a general contractor license will vary, but you should have some professional experience in building and a firm grasp of the many crafts involved. Although some general contractors may start out in other professions, like HVAC specialists, plumbers, or electricians, many general contractors start out as carpenters.

Different trades require different approaches to learning them, but they all normally require a mix of classroom instruction and supervised job experience, frequently through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs, which can run up to four years, are frequently sponsored by unions or professional associations.

Without a formal training program, it is also feasible to get professional experience in the construction industry, albeit this can be more difficult. Finding a business with helpful staff ready to hire you as a “helper” doing odd things before exposing you to more difficult ones is typically necessary for doing this.

Carrying your own company insurance is a smart choice, even while you’re in training. You might not always be covered by the insurance of a contractor that hires you if you’re an apprentice, subcontractor, assistant, or if you run a side-hustle contracting firm. Mistakes can happen.

If you are interested in more articles like this, here’s one about structural inspection costs.

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