Becoming a General Contractor


If you enjoy working with your hands and paying close attention to details, a general contractor job may be one that you’ll enjoy. Also known as a general manager, these individuals oversee building projects from single-family homes to multiple-story office buildings. They typically have a general knowledge of all the aspects that go into construction, but hire subcontractors to complete most of the work. For instance, he will hire an experienced electrician to complete electrical work, a plumber to do install plumbing lines and fixtures, and a masonry expert to install mason fireplace or other decorative features. So, how do you obtain the knowledge required to become a direct a construction project?Apprenticeships and EducationMany managers begin working with a construction company and work their way up the general contracting ladder. They experience several different aspects of the job as they work alongside current subcontractors and managers. Occasionally, one area of construction jumps off the page and supplies special enjoyment. This may eventually become their area of expertise. Once an aspiring general contractor completes up to five years of experience, he’s ready to begin studying to take the test for his own license.Construction personnel often supplement their experience with classes offered at a local trade school or community college. These classes teach skills like reading a blue print, understanding the legal terminology of a contract, planning a project, or following building regulations for local buildings. Sometimes, these classes can lead to an associate’s degree.Some aspiring contractors decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field like construction science, building science or perhaps structural engineering. These types of degrees offer classes in project development, financial aspects of construction like accounting and cost estimating, business classes, architectural science, engineering, and information technology. In today’s education-driven society, a bachelor’s degree is definitely an asset to on-the-job experience.The highest level of education a general contractor can obtain is a master’s degree in construction management. The master’s program focuses on preparing students who will take on large projects like office building or industrial complexes.Obtaining Your LicenseThe final step before managing a construction site is earning your license. Most states have similar standards of knowledge and experience for obtaining your official license. You will have to take a state-specific test, and once this is successfully passed, you can apply for your state license. Finally, you’re ready to pursue your career as a general contractor! Building Your ReputationOne of the most important aspects to building any business is developing a reputation for excellent and punctual work. In every job you do, whether during your apprenticeship or after you’re licensed, you need to focus on doing your very best. Besides building a reputation for excellent work, focus on people skills as you interact with clients, suppliers and professional architects. These all contribute to a reputation that leads to more clients through word-of-mouth recommendations! One of the biggest aspects to a good reputation is completing projects in a timely manner. Clients appreciate an accurate schedule just as much as an amicable business owner!

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