As the economy appears bearish, many are ditching mainstream education which requires student loan yet doesn’t offer placement guarantee and instead opting for the trade school and/or certification programs.

Home improvement contractor is one of the highly sought after professions right now. Many young ones are curious to know how to become a home improvement contractor Academic requirements are quite flexible, as such, you only need to obtain a certificate in the field of construction to get an entry level job.

For a detailed discussion, read below.

Degree requirement

Educational requirements needed for home improvement contractor job are lax. High school education is enough if you have professional experience. Luckily, getting a job in the construction industry is not very difficult in the US. If you don’t have any prior experience, all you need is Bachelor’s degree in the field of construction management.

There are many online programs nowadays saving student’s time by eliminating the need to visit campus. Having a degree in a similar field of education such as civil engineering, landscape architecture, etc also enables you to become a home improvement contractor.

License and registration requirement

A license is a must. In the United States, there’s no unified, nationwide licensing program and home improvement contractor’s are typically needed to show state contractor’s license. They may also have to obtain builders license. In some states, the two are different. Alabama is one such state. The laws of the state clearly distinguishes between a general contractor’s license and a builders license.

If the construction cost of a residential or commercial property is over $50000, the contractor working there needs to have a general contractor’s license. If the cost exceeds $10000 but below $50000, he is deemed a residential home builder and a builders license is sufficient. A business license may be additionally required as independent contractors are legally required to register themselves as business taxpayers.

One word of caution. Your license should always be a current one. So, don’t forget to renew your license every year.

Certification requirement

For home improvement contractors, there’s the option of getting voluntary certification. However, it’s not as simple as you’d think. To obtain the certification, one needs to have 5 years of professional experience in the construction/building industry. It is offered by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The certification they offer is quite comprehensive. It covers safety standards, knowledge in industry-specific requirements, state laws, etc.

The certification is a proof that the contractor has a certain level of professional knowledge and skill set. As a result, his odds of getting hired by a homeowner increases. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry certification is not the only type of certification. The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) certification can also help in making a career as a home improvement contractor.

Akin to license, certification should always be a current and up-to-date. If it’s too old, prospective employers may not hire you doubting your ability.

Obtain clients

This is probably the hardest part, more so if you are an independent contractor. Don’t feel demotivated, though. Obtaining clients for new contractors may be hard but not impossible. Since contractors operate locally, they need to rely more on word-of-mouth marketing than pricey means of marketing.

Posting on classified sites is a great idea. So is posting classified ads on newspaper. However, the latter is a bit expensive. Register your business with multiple yellow pages to increase the odds of getting a client. One surefire way to get reach potential clients is working as a subcontractor. Subcontractors work under contractors and are supervised by them. They get the chance to meet building inspectors and the chance to showcase their work.

Having a website also increases the possibility of getting clients. However, websites need marketing and online marketing can be expensive.

Retaining clients

Just as hard it is to get new clients, it is harder to retain them. The competition is fierce. If clients are not satisfied with your work or if there’s some unresolved complain, they won’t hire you in future. The key to growth is retaining your customers, which is possible if you maintain a base of loyal customers. Delivering high-quality work, attention to details and employing new technologies and raw materials can make it possible.

Know the code standards

Construction knowledge is a necessary condition in this trade, but not a sufficient condition. As an independent home improvement contractor, you must know the code standards for everyone involved in this trade including electric system installers, HVAC installers, plumbers, etc. Having comprehensive and detailed knowledge in your area of work means enjoying an upper hand over your competitors.

Scale up your business

Most people cannot think big. They only think of the worse outcomes, not of the best outcomes. Scaling up is possible when you think of both outcomes. To grow your home improvement contractor business, you need to hire additional laborers, sign up for new software for accounting or project management related works and build professional relationships with subcontractors.

Summing up

If becoming a home improvement contractor is your dream, understand that the dream can be fulfilled. However, you need to give your best and follow the advice given here in this article.

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