A general contractor is the person or firm in charge of a construction project. While they once consisted of an entire team of skilled workers (such as a concrete team, an electrical team, and a carpenter team), their function today is most often to line up and manage subcontractors. In essence, they manage and oversee the construction of the building project, from start to finish.

Being a general contractor is a dream of many in the construction business. If you are interested in starting a company in the industry, then the tips below will help set you off on the right foot.

1. Know the Trade

It is near impossible to become a general contractor without prior experience in the construction industry. Most general contractors have at least five years of experience with the contracting process before making the jump and opening their own business.

2. Know What You Want

It is essential to have a goal and business plan in mind, no matter what kind of company you want to create. Starting a business is always tough and having a specific (positive mindset) and an idea of what you want will greatly help you get it off the ground.

3. Research the Industry

Even those with experience in the construction industry would do well to research, research, research before opening a general contracting business. There is always more to know about field. Research the market and find out what clients are looking for. If possible, spend time talking with other general contractors. They generally have the best advice for up and comers.

4. Take Care of Legal Requirements

There are numerous legal requirements you need to sort out before opening your business. First of all, you will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Special licenses and permits from your local area as well as a standard business license are also needed to become a general contractor.

5. Work Out Pre-Launch Details

A lot of things go into opening a new business. For starters, you need to open a business bank account and find good insurance. General contractors often pay big bucks for insurance. However, paying this money for good insurance will pay off in the long run.

6. Find Customers

One of the most difficult parts about how to become a general contractor is finding your first customers. Promotion is key. Focus on marketing from the get-go using flyers, word of mouth, social media, and anything else you can think of. It is a great idea to launch a website and a blog.

7. Set Up a Home Base

Many people start their general contracting business from home, at least at first. These types of business run smoothly from home and this cuts the amount of money you will pay for rent, taxes, and insurance. After your reputation as a general contractor is firmly established, you can consider renting or buying a commercial space to expand your growing company.

Of course, these steps in themselves won’t make you a general contractor. But they do offer a solid outline on how to become one.