If you want to start your own construction company and become a contractor, you want to succeed. It’s not easy; many contractors start a business because they know and love their trade, but they’ve never been taught how to own and operate a successful business.
They have the skills necessary for their trade, but when you become a business owner, you need more than trade skills. You’re responsible for marketing, estimating, pricing, sales, production, customer relations, employee relations and bookkeeping. The ideal “Small Business Start-Up” kit for contractors would include:
1. The book, Markup & Profit; A Contractor’s Guide Revisited. Many construction business owners consider this book their business bible.
2. If you will be selling your services in the residential market, we recommend Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide.
3. The 6-hour class based on the Markup & Profit book. You can learn more about the class here. If you’d prefer to start with a more in-depth class, take Making the Numbers Work in Your Construction Business, a 12-hour online class (discounts for both books are available with this class). Access to the class doesn’t expire; if you want or need to refresh on a topic in a few years, login and watch it again.
We have a number of articles on our website that also provide valuable information:
- Michael discusses some of the basics in this article on Becoming a Construction Business Owner. His Ten Cardinal Rules for Construction Business Owners are outlined here.
- What type of contractor will you become? This article explains some of the terms in construction, explaining the difference between a general contractor, subcontractor and specialty contractor, and the difference between new construction and remodeling. Contractor Definition of Terms
- Pricing your work is an important thing to understand. It’s covered in-depth in the book Markup & Profit; A Contractor’s Guide Revisited and he talks about how to calculate your markup in this article. He also discusses charging your work by the hour in this article on how to handle a potential client who thinks your hourly rate is too high.
- If you’re not sure if you’ll hire employees or use subs to build your jobs, consider this article: Subs or Employees – Are Subs More Expensive?
- If you’re a specialty contractor wondering how you’ll find work, this article on getting business as a sub will give you a place to start.
- You’ll want to prepare for the future in this article on growing a construction business.
There are many, many more articles on this website, invest the time to wander around. Sign up for our newsletter. Our goal is to help construction-related businesses survive and thrive, so if you have questions, feel free to send us a note and we’ll get back to you.
Michael Stone, author of the books Markup & Profit; A Contractor’s Guide Revisited and Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide, walks you through some of the important issues in these short videos.