It is Not a Secured Job
If you have a job already, then consider this point well before starting your venture. Just like any business, there are risks in the construction business as well. Especially so when you are just starting out. The rewards can be well worth it, but there is no job security when you are the boss!
Also, a contractor is, by classification, a freelance business owner, who works on contracts, and all contracts do eventually come to an end. That being said, if you can get past the initial break-even period, the business could be expanded and the ensuing profits can skyrocket to levels that the average employee can never expect to see.
Research, Learn and Apply for the Licensing Requirements on the UK Government’s Official Website
This is where it used to get really confusing and you had to do your own research and come to a conclusion regarding which licenses you need to do what. Nobody wants to get fined or even shut down by the government, six months into the business, but thanks to misleading articles all over the internet, it was a possibility.
However, that is no longer much of a concern, thanks to the UK government website. Follow this link and you will find the official Government of United Kingdom’s webpage that’s designed to help start-ups. The resources are extremely helpful for finding out exactly the kind of licensing certificates you will need in order to start a contractor’s business. It also provides detailed guidance on how to set up any business in the UK. There is a possibility of getting government loans from the site, too, if you are eligible.
As an example, let’s take the CIS. Every contractor must register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), in order to set up an appropriate business taxation system with the authorities. You can get full information about the CIS and register from the website directly. Just browse around, or search for IR35, to learn everything you need to about your IR35 status.
You Will Need Business Insurance
Even if you have just one employee, you will need business insurance to protect your business, in case clients and/or employees sue the establishment after a mishap. Sometimes, there may not even be a mishap and the claim might be fraudulent. Contractor’s business insurance will provide you with the money to fight against unjust lawsuits, and when the suing party has a legitimate claim, their insurance company will pay most, if not all, of the agreed upon compensation amount to the other party.
As a matter of fact, the client may not even deal with a contractor who does not have:
- Professional indemnity insurance – Pays for legal fees and compensation in case of a settlement with the client party
- Employer’s liability insurance: Pays compensation settlements to injured employees/surviving family
Get to Know Your Business Well
There are two ways to get into contracting work:
- Experience and contacts
- Education, training, experience and contacts
As you can see, there is a possibility to get into contracting without the proper education, provided that you have the background and experience. However, if you really want to understand your business, complete at least an online course on general contracting. Of course, if you are already a civil engineer or an architect yourself, that in itself should be enough. The point here is, it is best to have at least some education and training about the kind of contracting that you are about to undertake, or leading it will prove to be very difficult for you.
For example, a contractor who has no knowledge or formal training about roofing, cannot exactly supervise their roofers on the job. He/she will have to appoint someone else, or delegate the duty by promoting an employee. That may not be the most inspiring, impressive or cost-effective strategy when you are only starting out.
It is also a fact that recruitment, promotion and delegation will become the norm as your company grows, but when you are only starting out, it makes little sense to venture into a field of which you have little to no idea. A good number of successful contractors were once construction workers, roofers, etc. themselves. They had years of practical work experience to back them up before starting their own contracting work.
Learn to Use Applicable Digital Tools
There was a time when online businesses and offline businesses were considered to be completely separate divisions, but the lines have blurred and they may even disappear over the next decade. Amazon was once considered to be the Walmart of the internet, and now Walmart too is on the internet, playing dirty against Amazon by telling their supply partners to leave AWS! It does not matter what you do or in which industry you do it in, if you have a business, you need to utilize the available digital tools to their full advantage.
Since we are discussing construction work here, you will probably need to order and work with ready mix concrete on a fairly regular basis. Although ready mix concrete has multiple advantages, in order for it to be cost-effective as well, every order should be based on exact calculations and not guesswork. Work out what you need here with the concrete calculator UK contractors trust to be the most accurate. Mix It being a supplier of floor screed as well, you will also find that their concrete mix calculator can be used as a screed calculator too.
Enter the length, width and height of the concerned area into Mix It’s concrete calculator/screed calculator. Now tap/click on the “Calculate” button to see how much material you will need to order for the job. Aside from measurements in metres (default) their concrete mix calculator also accepts measurements in feet, inches, millimetres, centimetres, and yards. After getting and confirming the result, you can order the amount directly.
Similarly, you will most likely require other SaaS services and web tools as well, depending on the size, scope, location, strategy, planning, budget and target customers of the company. Common and sometimes mandatory digital aspects of running a contracting business include:
- A professional website with relevant resources, a proper introduction, and the necessary service and contact details
- Presence on Facebook with an official company page
- Social media, SEO and content marketing strategies for promotion and branding
- A dependable BIM or 3D modelling software
- Time keeping and location tracking tools for optimizing payroll management
- A payroll management and supply chain management software
Most of the basics have been covered already, and the rest will come from further experience as a contractor. Just keep everything we discussed in mind and start small until you gain the reputation and experience you need to sustainably grow beyond your current size.