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I often run into people who like the idea of running their own home improvement business but are afraid to take the leap because they don't know all the steps in learning how to become a general contractor.  While every state has slightly different rules for setting up a contracting business, the following timeline should be a useful, general guide in transforming your dream into a real world enterprise. First of all, you need to come up with a name for your business and register it with the state.  In most cases it makes sense to get set up as an LLC, but check with an attorney to see what all your options are.  Also be sure to open a sales tax account so that you can pay the state any due taxes from services provided.  You also need to check with your state to see if a general contractor's license is required.  Some require it and some do not.  If yours does, don't fret.  As long as you know your stuff you should not have any trouble passing the exams. Next, you should get your communication systems in order.  You can use your cell phone if you want, but I recommend setting up a dedicated business line as it will make you look more professional and will help cut down on the number of late-night calls.  Also make sure you have a computer and internet access available to you.  This is vital for everything from email to accounting. Now you need to line up a group of subcontractors who you can trust and who are reasonably priced.  Have your team in place so that when the calls start coming in you'll be ready to roll without any delay.  Make sure you understand each subcontractor's pricing structure so that you don't shortchange yourself on large projects.  You also need to keep in contact with these guys at all times so that you know what their schedules look like weeks and even months out.  Planning and thinking ahead is key when you are a general contractor. Last, but not least, get your marketing plan in place.  Flyers and postcards are always a good start, but be willing to use the internet, too.  Web marketing offers a huge amount of leverage if done correctly and can serve to propel you past your less internet-savvy competitors.  Of course it should go without saying that you need to have a business website and email account set up. That's the basic rundown for how to become a general contractor.  As you can see, it's really not that difficult and you really have no excuses for not starting that business as soon as possible.  Trust me that once you've decided to go for it you will never look back, and you'll probably kick yourself for not having started sooner.


Scott W. is the guy behind The Rich Contractor blog, where you can learn more about how to become a general contractor.

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How to Become a General Contractor.txt