Break Stereotype: What You Need to Become a Contractor

While it is true that the majority of contractors in the US are men, there is also no reason as to why women cannot work in the field of construction and renovation just as well. In fact, quite a few women in the US are already getting into the field and seeing success. If the contracting business seems lucrative to you, then don’t let stereotypical mentalities and baseless social perceptions stop you from getting into it, because it can indeed be a lucrative business for those that know how to do it right, and since one’s gender has little to do with that knowledge, the requirements for becoming a contractor in the US are pretty much exactly the same for women, as they are for men. What these requirements are exactly is something that we will now take a brief look at.

Licensing

As you cannot do professional contracting work in the US without a license and a permit, it should be obvious that the very first thing which you will need in order to become a pro contractor is a license. To be eligible for a license, the person needs to have certain qualifications but this is where it gets a little confusing. The laws, regulations and eligibility criterions vary from state to state in the USA. Nevertheless, some of the common standards across most states are as follows:

* The applicant must be 18 or above, with at least a high-school diploma and a US citizenship or legal residency

* In case he/she doesn’t have a high-school diploma, a certificate of equal educational value must be presented

* The applicant must post a State License Bond in the name of the company

* Passport-size photos, along with copies of your existing occupational licenses (only if you have any) must be presented as well

* Any violation, legal dispute, liens, citations, etc. related to construction work that you were directly involved in earlier must also be declared

As you can see, the eligibilities necessary are actually quite elementary, but there will probably be added stipulations, depending on the state where you are trying to get licensed. For example, you may have to sit for and pass a written examination which will test your knowledge and skills pertaining to the contracting business. Additionally, proof of financial stability necessary to operate the business in question and reference letters from previous employers and customers might also be required. In short, experience and knowledge are essential for anyone to get into construction.

There are many resources online to help you learn this information, like the extensive OSHA 30 hour hour construction training.

Insurance

If you want to get into the construction industry with your own contracting business, you will need to have contractors insurance to be considered eligible for most jobs in all of US. In fact, it’s something that’s true for businesses that cater to specific installation/repair/maintenance/renovation jobs as well. Which means that someone with a carpeting or plumbing business will also need insurance to even be considered for most jobs nowadays. Aside from giving your business credence, contractors insurance will protect you in case of lawsuits and compensate the property owner if your company ends up causing accidental damage to the property or the people on it. It is not just a standard for all contracting businesses, but also a necessity for the sake of the business’s future.

Networking

You need to join a national contractor’s association such as the Associated General Contractors and the National Construction Trade Association because there is strength in numbers and unity. Also, it is probably a good idea to find an association at the local level as well. They might be able to help you even more in finding local jobs than the bigger unions. In any case, talking and sharing space with experienced leaders in the field will help you to grow as a businesswoman as they are a source of knowledge that cannot be Googled. The association will also let you know of the standard rates, regulations and plenty of other useful information relevant to the field and region you are currently working in.

Education

Graduate degrees aren’t necessarily a requirement to start contracting but then again, it certainly helps a lot if you have the credentials. The degree will give your business and your own professional skills infinitely more validation, in addition to making you more proficient in the field itself. One of the best suited degrees in the field of construction would be a Master’s in construction management, but even civil engineering degrees can be very useful and are highly respected.

These are of course, just the basics that we covered here today, but there’s a lot more. Nonetheless, if you are looking to break the stereotype and become one of the few female contractors in the United States, now you know how to get started on that path.

Thanks to Zoe Price

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