Going Solo: How To Become A Contractor

If you have been an employee for many years, perhaps with an established asphalt paving company, you may have dreamed of one day striking out on your own.

There has never been a better time to get into construction. With a surge in domestic house building, any profession connected to the industry is in demand.

But whether you are working as a driveway paving contractor or at an asphalt company, the advice for anyone in construction looking to branch out by themselves is pretty much the same.

GENERAL ADVICE

Firstly, pay attention to our blog on how to start a business (Seven Ways To Set Your Business On The Road To Success).

This helps talk you through the basics of what is needed to open any kind of business. The topics include getting registered correctly, having a business strategy and more besides.

MENTORING

Working for yourself can be daunting. Not to mention, lonely, sometimes.

If this is your first time going it alone, then there’s no need to try and do everything by yourself.

There are assistance programs out there, which exist to help small businesses such as yourself. Try your nearest Small Business Development Center or an organization such as SCORE Mentors.

For females starting out in the construction business, there might be help at hand through the Women’s Business Centers.

Any of these groups will be of assistance, with matters such as the planning process and starting out.

SCORE, in particular, can provide mentoring from within the construction business and it doesn’t have to cost a dime.

More help is at hand, through the US Small Business Administration. This state organization can help with things such as writing your business plan, which may seem daunting to the uninitiated!

If you’re a veteran, then more help is available in the form of the Veterans Business Outreach Center. This organization can provide support in the form of financial advice, mentoring and workshops.

FINANCE

Finance is crucial to any business, but never more so than in its infancy.

Having enough to live on, especially when you are starting out, will be a major concern. Remember, you might not see the money you are owed for some time and will still have to pay for materials and other costs upfront.

If you don’t have savings to cover this, you will need to weigh up your options. This could either be borrowing from a bank, a credit union, a business or getting investment. You may find family and friends can assist you.

But if none of these are an option, or you simply have to mix your finances, then there is always the possibility of a loan from the SBA, via their loan program.

INSURANCE AND LICENSING

It is very important to ensure you have all the correct permits and insurance for your fledgling business.

Permits And Business Licenses

As well as an all-purpose business license, you will find you probably need a more specialized permit as well.

Make sure you double check the requirements for asphalt paving contractors in your state.


Insurance and Bonds

You may also need a bond as well the right kind of insurance, to ensure your new business stays legal.

Your state may have additional insurance stipulations, especially for worker’s compensation insurance.

If you are to become an employer, check out the insurance required for this in detail.

Once again, the SBA can provide assistance.

THE INDUSTRY REGS

As you will already be aware, the construction business is a highly regulated area. All your requirements must be carefully checked. These areas include, but are not limited to;

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Make sure you know just what is expected of you, by checking out all the industry guidelines and safety rules, in full.

Your new business should have a health and safety strategy. If you are to become an employer, you need to heed the words of OSHA well.

HIRING

It is not just health and safety you need to be aware of. It is also all the rules around the hiring of staff.

Before you become someone’s boss, it is essential to read up on all the laws around hiring contractors and staff.

Want to know more? Read more about going solo in our blog Seven Ways To Set Your Business On The Road To Success.