How to Start a Contracting Business in the US

There are a lot of things that one must do when trying to start and build a business. And then there are the things that vary by industry. A manufacturing company, for example, is governed by a series of regulations that do not apply to an accounting firm. That said, since contracting and construction are fields that are consistently growing throughout the western world, we thought today would be a good day to take a look at the tasks someone must complete if he or she wants to start a contracting business in the United States.

1. Get Your Licensing Ducks In a Row

Before you even think about trying to attract customers or hire employees, you must make sure that your company has the proper licensing, bonding and insurance. The regulations surrounding these things sometimes vary by state. The best way to start this process, then, is to talk with your city or state’s licensing department to find out what is needed.

You should also note that “insurance” in this case, does not refer simply to your small business insurance (which you will also need). It refers specifically to contractor insurance, which covers a variety of crucial liability issues not covered in a simple SBI policy.

2. Get Intimate with Regulations

The construction and contracting industry has some very specific and important standards and regulations that every contractor and contracting business must abide. You can find most of them in the guide published by the Small Business Administration.

While you are familiarizing yourself with what will, essentially, become your standards and practices, you are going to need to build an OSHA Plan. OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Act and it governs the things that must be put in place to guarantee that your work sites and offices will be safe for your employees.  Both the OSHA website and the US Department of Labor website have resources you can use to help you with this project.

3. Write Your Business Plan

A business plan is fundamental in every industry. It is what you will use to prove to lenders and investors (and potentially even clients) that you understand your industry and that you have a solid grip on how you plan to stake your claim within it. Your business plan will be helpful for you as well, because it can serve as your roadmap for building your company and cohesively pitching your plan to investors.

4. Secure Financing

True, once your legal issues are sorted out and squared away you can try to take on clients. Unfortunately, the deposit you get from your clients is not going to be enough to cover the entire cost of the job you take on—especially if you need to hire a crew to help you do it. It is better to look for grants, loans and investors to help you come up the capital you need to get your business up and running and finding the clients whose payments will fund the rest of your operations.

5. Hire Employees

It is possible to run your company entirely by yourself, only hiring crews when you need them. If you are good at what you do, though, it is better to have a staff and crew already on your payroll so you can simply roll from one job to the next without any hiccups.

6. Market Market Market

Construction companies need to be marketed just like every other business. It is important to have a website, a social media presence and to make sure that your community knows your company exists.

Really, in most respects—save for the details involved with the legalities—the process one goes through to set up a contracting and construction company in the US is not all that different than the process for setting up a contracting and construction business anywhere else.

 

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