Becoming a General Contractor: A Basic Guide


How To Become A General Contractor

Unlike subcontractors, architects, engineers or developers, general contractors have to be on top of every single aspect of construction. The basic difference between general contracting and other kinds of roles in the industry is that general contractors have to know how to plan for and execute all the smaller segments of a commercial or residential project. However, if you feel like you have the ability to manage and understand all the complexities of being a general contractor — you should persevere. After all, half the daily work of being a general contractor is knowing how to manage different teams of workers and that only gets better with practice.

Prepare for and Pass the Exams

Before you can actually start working as a general contractor, you’ll need to get your license to do so. This means that you’ll need to first do a quick search on the license regulations in your state, city, or county. This will give you enough information about the exams or tests that they expect all general contractor license applicants to pass. In general, you should be prepared to be tested on having sound knowledge of contracts, the relevant legislation, risk control, business and financial management as well as technical knowledge of construction.

Create a Realistic Business Model

What counties or cities will you provide services in? What will your financial model look like? Will you do commercial projects or residential ones? Will you do remodels or new construction projects only? These are all questions you should be asking yourself, now that you’ve decided to take this step. Create a pricing plan, outline all the services you want to offer and don’t forget to make a business growth plan as well!

License Bonds and Insurance

In most states, license bonds and business insurance are compulsory before you can launch your business. License bonds are a guarantee that you’re bound to follow all the regulations for general contractor work, which is different from performance bonds (which are project-specific). Getting robust business insurance policies are also important because of how messy general contracting gets. Your workers, affiliates and clients will all want to know you’ve acquired business insurance before they work with you.

File for a License

Filing for a license can look different for every state. However, you’re usually required to submit a filled application form, an ID copy, exam results, possible background checks, financial documents and proof of your bon and insurance. However, consult with a friend in the local industry or the license office for your specific requirements.

Create a Name in the Industry

Once you’ve acquired all the paperwork, you’ll need to start getting the word about yourself out there. Start networking with suppliers, subcontractors, real estate agents and more. Making bids, for example, is a good way to get your toes wet. Just remember to enlist the help of an expert commercial and residential project estimation service like us to get your bid proposal prepared efficiently. At Remote Estimations, we provide all levels of cost estimation, from sitework and masonry estimating to structural steel and lumber takeoffs. Contact us at +1 (630) 20999-6501 to schedule a meeting with us today!

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