Where would I start if I wanted to become a general contractor?
This post is in response to a question we received from one of our YouTube subscribers. I’ve answered the question based on the assumption that the person already had some sort of construction background.
One place to start would be to affiliate yourself with your local Home Builder’s Association. This is where I started as Ottawa has The Greater Ottawa Home Builder’s Association (GOHBA). Depending on where you live, you may also have something like RenoMark. Associations and accreditations like these will help build trust as it will show that you’re looking to continually improve yourself and will abide by a high code of ethics.
Associations like GOHBA will also have a lot of resources and potential partners for you. One thing I’ve noticed is that they have “competitors” who are willing to help each other out. I use parenthesis for competitors because I know that there’s more than enough work out there for all the companies who want to do things right and stay above the table.
You will also want to look into any licenses your area may require you to have. Although I am a licensed carpenter, carpenter’s are not forced to have a license in Canada if they choose not to. Additionally, here in Ontario, we don’t require any licenses to call ourselves a General Contractor however we do need to make sure we pay into the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) and it’s our responsibility to make sure our sub-contractors are doing the same.
One thing I’ve noticed when talking to many different contractors (some who have been in business 25+ years), is that they don’t have proper systems in place. There’s a lot of moving parts in construction and a lot of demand so it’s tough to find the time to create these systems to improve your business. This is why I’m working on a program that will help with this. In the meantime, we have a free spreadsheet that helps with estimating costs for residential projects.