Going It Alone As A Contractor – Can You Do It?

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

The world is developing at such a high speed that there is always a market for construction companies and building contractors: and that’s a fact. For every new building going up, there is a team of people behind it from the design phase to the development phase. If you’re tired of working for a construction company as an employee, and feel like you could get more work at a better rate by striking out alone, you should consider contracting. Those who make the leap from working for an established business to working for themselves can already see the huge advantages of doing so. For those who haven’t yet dipped a toe in those waters, the idea of working for a steady business and then choosing to work for themselves is going to be a daunting one. Research is a good thing, but it can also put you off of a choice that you could make to work for yourself. You don’t have to be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone, but you do have to be ready to take that leap and believe in yourself that you can succeed as a self-employed construction worker.

You may be told by others in the industry that contracting has no security. When you line that up alongside working for a company with a steady salary, sick pay and all the benefits that come with a job, it can easily look like there is no security with contract work. It’s something that does give most budding contractors pause for thought. However, it’s important to remember that in this day and age there is no such thing as job security. Companies go bust all the time and people who have been in secure jobs for many years are suddenly expendable. It’s not a nice position to be in, but if you can see that there is room for you to go it alone then it’s a risk you should take. Most people who choose to contract out are those who are sick of being told what to do at work and sick of working to put money in the pocket of their employer, especially when they know they can get a good rate of work and pay without them. Not only could you choose to start your own business, but you can shop for trucks that would suit your size of business, you could shop around for pension plans that are private and you could choose to pay into a rainy day fund every month so that you are covered on the days that you are too sick to work. You can also ensure that there are fewer rainy days, because you can set your own hours at work.

A question that many construction contractors ask is what they should do if they don’t pick up any contracts, and this is where your business skills come in. If you have the right equipment, experience and qualifications, there is always going to be work available for you to pick up. You can market yourself online just like every other business out there and choose to pick up work as a freelancer with other companies to keep your work regular. You won’t get the same benefits as a permanent employee, but that is the whole idea – you are paid a higher rate because you’re NOT an employee. All you need to do is spend time browsing through the Facebook marketplace, online selling sites and jobs boards and find jobs that are suited to your skill set. You could also choose to market yourself locally and in the community as someone who can not only do residential work, but commercial work as well. Schools often need outside caretakers to manage any onsite issues. Hospitals are similar, and by marketing yourself as a freelance contractor you can take on the odd jobs that need doing and build yourself a good reputation. Taking advice from business planning companies on how to market yourself is a smart step in the right direction for your contracting endeavours, as they can explain to you how you can do well.

The one thing you should ensure before you break away from a permanent and secure employer, is that your skills are up to scratch. Taking on courses in different areas of construction and taking advantage of on the job training should be the first thing that you do before you leave your full time job. Once you’ve gained the right skills, your marketability goes through the roof and people crying out for your skills will be able to find you. Your level of experience will increase with time, and the feedback that you gain from your contracting clients is going to be very valuable to you as you market yourself. Ensuring you are a total professional with each job will gain you the reviews and reputation that you want to help you build momentum in your contracting efforts. Eventually, you could decide to take on some help and become the boss of your own company of contractors. This type of career advancement doesn’t just do well for your wallet, but for your credibility. More and more people would become contractors if this type of route was recognised, and the ironic thing is that it’s right there for the taking – you just have to be brave enough to reach out and grab it.

You don’t have to pile in tons of money to go it alone, either. Choosing to shop around for a vehicle and the best equipment is going to be up to you in terms of what you spend. Most of your cash will go on things like insurance, fuel and materials, and if you can you should invest in a proper uniform for your job so that you are easily identified. Make sure you have the right permits in place for your work as well as the right vetting and background checks, and you are good to go. Contracting doesn’t have to be scary – so be bold!


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