Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? To help people create their dream spaces? If you have a passion for renovations and construction work, then you should consider working for yourself as a general contractor! Arizona has a high demand for contractors, and it continues to grow. Thanks to a strong economy and booming population numbers, there is no shortage of work. The time is right to carve your own legacy into the Grand Canyon State.
The Benefits of Being a Contractor
Working as a contractor provides freedom and flexibility. You get to choose the projects, set your own rates, and create the schedule— so long as it aligns with your client’s timelines, of course. You can take control of your career and follow your own policies. If your business starts to boom, you’ll be in charge of hiring and can ensure you hire skilled, reliable employees that you get along with. And you get to build and renovate all day and make lasting business partnerships.
Steps To Get Started: Turning Passion to Profit
Embarking on any new career requires planning and preparation. It also requires experience— you need to work with another contractor for a few years before you can set out on your own. This experience helps build your skills, trains you for the future, and gives you an in-depth look at the work involved. It can also help you choose a niche if you don’t want to be a general contractor; you can go into plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and more.
The Boost From Prep Courses
While you’re gaining practical experience in the field, you can also hit the books. You’ll want to go through a prep course for the Arizona general contractor license. This prep course will help cover the types of questions that will be on the licensing exam, provide reference material you can use during the exam, and discuss the different license sub-types you can apply for after passing the exam. Once you finish the course, you can take everything you learned into the exam— do note you have to be 18 and have completed the work experience requirements.
Taking a prep course significantly increases your chances of passing the license exam on the first go. You need to pass before you can apply for your license. Also, keep in mind that applying for any of the licenses includes a fee, so you’ll need to budget for the cost. If you decide to specialize, it wouldn’t hurt to take some extra continuing education courses in your chosen field, or acquire additional licenses and certifications.
Building Your Business: Thriving in a Competitive Environment
Once you’ve obtained your licenses and certifications, it’s time to create your business. You’ll want to start with a business plan that outlines your strategies, including financial, growth, and marketing. One thing you’ll need to decide is what type of business structure you’ll follow. You’ll also want to look up expected costs like tools and equipment or insurance payments.
Market Yourself Effectively
Having a strong online presence is essential for any business. You’ll want to create a professional site that is easy to navigate and showcases your expertise through a portfolio and any accolades or certifications. You can collect testimonials from satisfied customers, but it will be more in your favor to ask that they review you through third parties like Yelp, Angie’s, and Google. You can still quote the review on your website, but potential customers can see that the client wasn’t just saying something nice to your post-project survey. Social media can also be a fantastic tool. You can display current and previous projects, discuss industry trends, connect with past and future clients, and more.
Another marketing tool essential to contract work is a well-designed business card. Something that gives the essential information and keeps you in your customer’s mind without looking over cluttered.
Don’t Forget To Network
Finally, you’ll want to build strong networks: a business network, a peer and vendor network, and a client network. Your business network will be with people in fields that relate to construction but don’t compete— think architects, interior designers, lenders, and real estate agents. These are people you can recommend to your clients and who will recommend you to theirs. A peer and vendor network is fellow contractors, subcontractors, and specialists who can help complete projects and the people who provide your materials. Working together, you can leverage each others’ strengths, share resources, and build a solid team to win bigger contracts. When you have a strong relationship with vendors, you can access low prices and set your own rates more competitively as a result. The client network is when you’ve made such a great impression that your clients come back for future projects and refer you to their friends, family, and coworkers.