Career Building: How to Become a General Contractor With No Experience

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 23, 2018

Oct 23, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Life as a general contractor can give you the chance to live on your terms. But if you don't have much experience, you might worry about how you can actually get started.

The good thing is that it's not too hard to become a general contractor, even if you're starting from the very bottom.

This post will provide you with a guide on how to become a general contractor with no experience. By the time you're finished, you'll appreciate how easy it is to get started on this path, no matter where you're actually starting from.

Let's begin!

What is a General Contractor?

When it comes to contractors, a huge number of roles fit this category. You could be referring to someone who does roofing work, painting, flooring, plumbing and so on and so on.

A general contractor, though, is not the same as a normal contractor.

The job of a general contractor is to manage large teams of contractors. Thus, the life of a general contractor is not as 'hands on.'

A lot of the work of a general contractor is making sure everything goes to plan.

General contractors work closely with clients so that they can develop an understanding of the project in question. They'll need to know what the client wants from the end product.

The general contractor then has to communicate this vision to the other contractors. They'll need to check in from time to time and be sure that everyone is on the same page.

The general contractor will also need to ensure the normal contractors can complete their work properly. They'll need to get a hold of the proper permits required to complete the work in question. They'll also need to think about sourcing the raw materials needed to work on the project.

If there are issues of any kind, during the project, the general contractor will need to take care of them so that the project doesn't come to standstill.

Becoming a General Contractor

If you want to become a general contractor there are two paths you can follow.

The first is to work in the industry for a while.

Yes, this post relates to becoming a general contractor, even if you have no experience. But you have to take a moment to think about what's possible if you do have experience.

Even a relatively small amount of experience instills confidence in a potential client that might be thinking of hiring you. If you have some experience you can also see how other general contractors work. This'll give you the chance to learn how you should handle projects, once you become a general contractor.

Look for job opportunities that promote the individual roles associated with general contracting.

An example role could be the hiring manager for a construction project or firm. Another role might include someone that's in charge of sourcing materials.

The other option is to get a Bachelor's Degree and this is a great route to take.

It increases the odds that a potential employer is going to take you seriously. If you have a degree, it means you have actual verifiable skills for the role in question.

These skills hold a lot of value because they're going to be in line with certain best practices. This means your degree will provide with accurate knowledge surrounding important matters. An example of this might relate to the interpretation of building codes.

Get the Right Certifications and Licenses

The certifications and licenses you need will depend on the location you're working in. To prevent any issues, make sure you check with the local authorities. Don't assume you do or don't need a certain document.

A lot of regions ask that general contractors have some kind of license.

This license will act as evidence you have experience in the world of construction. The experience is normally related to a certain number of working years. This could be as a normal contractor on a commercial construction site where you practice things such as budgeting.

To get this license you'll need to take an exam.

This exam must have a passing grade, such as 80%. You may also need to go through a background check, which can take some time. There may even be some investigations into your finances, to ensure you're able to operate as a general contractor.

Some regions also provide contractors with specific certifications. These certifications will highlight the individual's ability to work on specific kinds of projects.

A general contractor may have a certification which highlights their ability to work on 'green' projects. Having these certifications can help improve the odds that you'll win certain jobs. Especially if clients are looking for general contractors that have these certifications already.

It can be a good idea to stay on top of any developments. As soon as there's a new certification released, think about getting it. This'll help you remain competitive.

Still Wondering How to Become a General Contractor with No Experience?

The life of a general contractor can be exciting. You'll be working on big projects and you'll be in charge of a lot of people.

If you're wondering how to become a general contractor with no experience, hopefully, this post has provided you with some guidance. But it's worth noting that a lot of regions need for general contractors to have some kind of experience.

For many clients, it's vital that the people they're hiring have some knowledge of how the industry works. This often comes in the form of having spent time working with other general contractors.

If you can combine on the job experience with a degree, though, there's going to be a lot of opportunities out there for you. If you can also get the latest certifications, you'll find it a lot easier to succeed as a general contractor.

Interested in starting your own roofing business? Check out this post for some tips!