The title “general contractor” gets thrown around a lot in the construction world but what do they do? If you’ve ever wondered what a general contractor is, what they do, or how (and why) you become one, this article has the answers you need.
What Is A General Contractor?
A general contractor oversees the daily operations of a construction site. That means that they’re responsible for:
- Hiring employees to work at the site.
- Maintaining safety.
- Providing building materials.
- Acquiring necessary equipment such as transportation and tools.
- Creating and executing the overall plan for the job.
The general contractor is second in command to the person that hired them to do the work. Everyone else on a job site refers to the contractor for instructions.
How Do You Become A General Contractor?
There is more than one path to becoming a general contractor, but the steps usually go something like this.
- You work in the field in a different position to gain hands-on knowledge and experience.
- You begin doing contractor license exam prep to gain the technical knowledge you need to pass the state licensing test.
- You take the test. The content covered and length may vary from state to state, but your exam prep will have prepared you for it.
- You pass the test and are free to begin doing commercial or residential contracting work.
- At this point, you decide whether you want to work as a contractor for a specific company or independently.
- If you choose option number two, you begin looking for a reliable crew and start meeting with potential clients.
How long this process takes depends completely on you. Some people work in other areas of the industry for years before getting their license and others do it right away.
Why Would You Want To Be A General Contractor?
If you don’t know much about the industry, you might not be sure what the benefits are to becoming a contractor. Here are a few of the top perks of general contracting.
- You can be your own boss by owning a small business.
- On average, contractors make about $50 an hour.
- As your own boss, you can choose what projects you want to take on.
- You can maintain an excellent work-life balance.
- You can choose who you work with. No more getting stuck with annoying co-workers.
- There’s a demand for general contractors in most places so you can choose where you want to live.
These are just a few of the major perks of becoming a general contractor. Research the success rate and financial status of contractors in your area to learn more.
What Else Do You Need To Know?
We’ve covered what a contractor does, how you become one, and why you would want to. That leaves us with a few other facts you should know about general contracting.
- Contractors need insurance to operate. The type will depend on where you are and what kind of job you’re doing.
- Networking is a huge part of the industry. The more people you know and are on good terms with, the more jobs you can find.
- The industry can also be competitive, so it’s crucial to always maintain a professional reputation.
- A contractor needs to be an effective communicator who can build trust with a client quickly.
- General contracting comes with all the responsibilities of other businesses including accounting, marketing, and making plans for the future.
Being a general contractor is a demanding but rewarding occupation. If you’re willing to work hard you can turn it into a highly profitable career.
Now you know what a general contractor is and how to become one. So start studying for your exam and don’t forget the perks you’re working toward.