Here is how to become a general contractor with no experience.
A general contractor is saddled with a lot of responsibilities when it comes to construction projects.
As the person in charge of the day-to-day running of activities, such a professional also responsible for interfacing and coordinating with other professionals. This is meant to ensure the success of a project.
But enough of that already!
How can one become a general contractor without prior experience? Is it possible?
Steps to Becoming a General Contractor Without Experience
Becoming a general contractor is possible without prior experience. However, you’ll need to start the process of learning the ropes. The question on minimum qualification requirements will naturally follow. You’ll need at least a high school diploma to become a general contractor.
But lately, there seems to be a shift from the set benchmark.
In other words, there’s an increasing demand for an associate and bachelor’s degree. This includes years of construction industry experience. Experience has increasingly determined who qualifies as a general contractor over academic experience.
While training to become a general contractor, you get the opportunity to also train. When applying for a license as a general contractor, education plus work experience can be combined. So for instance, if a 5-year contracting experience is required, 2 years on-the-job experience plus a 3-year academic program being run concurrently can be accepted as adequate.
So, yes! You can become a contractor without prior experience only when you’re are willing to commence the process of learning. Joining an apprenticeship program is one way of gaining this critical experience. You don’t need to worry if you have no educational qualifications. This can be obtained on the job.
Where Do You Live?
How does this matter? Your location determines the requirements for operating as a contractor. There are common requirements for qualifying and practicing as a contractor in each state. These include licensing requirements plus other registrations. However, not all states require that contractors be licensed. Nevertheless, you might be required to do so at the local (city or county) level.
Certain states will require you to sit for a course for a length covering several hours. After this, you’ll need to be assessed. You must pass such tests and exams to qualify. So, your state will determine what requirements you must meet to become a general contractor.
Handling contracting jobs within or beyond a specified threshold might determine what requirements apply. Some states will demand that you register with the state’s department of works or related agencies if the cost for the contract is beyond $2,000. Others specify contracts above $50,000.
Writing The General Contractor License Exam
One of the hurdles you must cross to become a general contractor is by taking or writing a licensing exam. Each state has its requirements. A state like North Carolina, for instance, offers a 42-hour preparation course. Typical course topics include employment laws, blueprint reading, safety, information on the process of application and licensing requirements.
Other course topics include building and administrative codes and insurance requirements. These courses must be attended to be well prepared for the test. There is an online preparation material which helps in this regard.
Taking The Apprenticeship Route
In addition to your coursework and training, you’ll need the edge apprenticeship provides. This enables you to have an all-round balance in your quest to become a general contractor. Though we’ve touched on this, it will be necessary to reiterate the need to combine your licensing exam and coursework with some form of apprenticeship.
This gives you the hands-on experience required to ace your test or exam. Plus, your period of experience is crucial during the issuance of general contractor licenses.
Qualifying as a general contractor won’t guarantee a successful takeoff of business. Remember, you are in this to build a business by providing construction solutions. The best way to begin will be to enlist the help of professionals. This is a necessary investment as they help provide the needed structures to launch successfully.
Getting the services of a lawyer or accountant or both will be a good place to begin. It will be great if you possess accounting skills too! That way, you create a structure that rigs your new construction business for success.
Get Involved With Fellow Professionals
One of the fastest ways to learn a lot is by getting in the mix of things. In other words, you’ll need to leverage the experience and reach of other contractors. Consider the fact that these contractors have handled a significant number of contracts and also worked for multiple clients. This gives them an advantage.
If you prefer not to undergo apprenticeship training, getting involved with fellow professionals helps you play catch-up. This option is still beneficial if you’ve got the experience. Networking helps in creating awareness about your business. Through such awareness, you get referrals. Clients are more likely to contact you for their construction needs when referred by other contractors.
Getting such an advantage means you’ll need to pay back someday. It’s about enhancing opportunities within the network which is beneficial to all members. Plus, you get firsthand information that isn’t readily available outside the group.
A contractor with no prior experience can be quite nervous on their first contract. This is natural but can be effectively managed when the procedure is adhered to. You should be able to demonstrate to your client your ability to get the work done. Showing clients your formal training credentials won’t be a bad idea.
Such clients should also understand that you have little to no experience. However, you have a total understanding of what needs to be done and will give them the best service. A lot of clients will appreciate your honesty and will give your services a try.
Having no experience isn’t a sufficient reason to stop you from becoming a general contractor. There are successful contractors today who started with no experience at all. Your case can’t be any different if done right. Here, we’ve been able to show you just how to achieve your aim. By following the above procedure, you stand to benefit immensely.