How to Become a General Contractor: The Ultimate Guide

Written By

Corey Mann

Published On

Learn how to become a general contractor in your state

How to Become a General Contractor: The Ultimate Guide

Running a general contracting business can be a lucrative endeavor. In fact, general contractors can oversee a wide range of projects. However, do you know how to become a general contractor in your state? 

Specifically, each state has unique requirements and licenses you will need to acquire. In addition, you will need to put the right systems and processes in place to create a sustainable business plan. So, let’s take a closer look at general contracting to help you better understand the process. This ultimate guide will clarify the steps you need to take to start your business.

Discover how to become a general contractor with the right software

What is a General Contractor?

To understand how to become a general contractor, you must first know what a general contractor does. A general contractor, often called a GC, manages construction projects both big and small. This can include commercial construction or residential projects.  

They oversee the entire process, from planning to completion. This includes hiring and managing subcontractors, securing permits, and ensuring projects stay on schedule and within budget. 

Moreover, general contractors work on various projects. These can range from small home renovations to large commercial buildings. They coordinate all aspects of the construction process while working with subcontractors and other professionals. 

General contractors also handle unexpected issues that arise during construction. This requires problem-solving skills and adaptability. They need to ensure the quality of work and compliance with building codes and regulations. 

Overall, a general contractor plays a vital role in construction projects. They ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently from start to finish. This is not only crucial for project timelines, but also important for building trust and reputation with customers in your service area.

Obtaining a General Contractor License

To become a general contractor, obtaining a license will be at the top of the list. However, licensing requirements vary by state. Each state has its own set of regulations and criteria for licensing. Therefore, it’s essential to research the specific requirements in your state. 

This state-by-state directory provides the rules and requirements for you to consider. In general, you typically must apply for the license with the appropriate state board, pass an examination, pass a criminal background check, and confirm that you have the proper insurance. Some states also require proof of financial stability. 

Obtaining a license demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to the field. It shows you have the necessary skills and knowledge to manage construction projects. Additionally, it provides legal protection for you and your customers.

How to Become a General Contractor: 5 Key Steps

Do you know how to become a general contractor or where to start in your state? If not, we have you covered. There are a few key steps to consider before taking on the challenge. For example, the steps to become a general contractor include: 

  • Get the necessary education 
  • Gain hands-on experience in the field 
  • Obtain proper licensing and insurance 
  • Create a sustainable business plan 
  • Implement the right systems and process 

At surface level, these steps may seem overwhelming. Yet, it’s standard practice no matter what industry you work in. It’s important to check every box before starting your own business. If you aren’t prepared, then you’re more likely to run into operational issues, financial problems, or even go out of business altogether.

1. Get the Necessary Education

Education should always be a consideration to become a general contractor. While a college degree is not always required, it can be beneficial. Many general contractors have degrees in construction management, civil engineering, or related fields. These programs provide a strong foundation in construction principles and practices. 

In addition to formal education, taking courses in business management can be helpful. General contractors need to understand budgeting, scheduling, and managing people. 

Online courses and certifications can also enhance your knowledge and skills. Look for programs that cover construction law, safety regulations, and project management.

2. Gain Hands-On Experience

Experience in the field is vital for aspiring general contractors. Working in the construction industry helps you learn the ropes. This allows you to gain practical experience and learn from seasoned professionals. 

Hands-on experience teaches you how to manage different aspects of construction projects. You will learn about various trades, materials, and techniques. It also helps you build a network of contacts in the industry. 

In fact, many states require a certain amount of experience before you can obtain a license. Keep detailed records of your work experience. This will be useful when you apply for your license.

3. Obtain Proper Licenses

As mentioned earlier, each state has different licensing requirements. Therefore, research the requirements in your state. You can also visit your state’s licensing board website for detailed information. 

You will likely need to pass an exam to obtain your license. The exam tests your knowledge of construction practices, safety regulations, and business management. Study guides and practice exams can help you prepare. Overall, this is where education and field experience come into play. 

Some states also require you to complete a certain number of continuing education hours. This ensures you stay up to date with industry changes and advancements.

4. Create a Business Plan

A solid business plan is essential for any general contractor. Your business plan should outline your goals, target market, and strategies for success. It should also include a financial plan with projected income and expenses. 

Consider what services you will offer. Will you focus on residential or commercial projects? What sets you apart from other contractors in your area? 

A business plan helps you stay focused and organized. It also shows potential customers and investors that you are serious about your business.

5. Implement Effective Systems and Processes

As you learn how to become a general contractor, efficiency and communication will begin to stand out. That’s why you need the right systems and processes to help you manage projects more effectively. This includes project management software and standardized procedures.  

Software ensures consistency and quality across all your projects. Moreover, it makes it easier to train new employees and collaborate with subcontractors. 

Regularly review and update your systems and processes. This helps you stay competitive and adapt to changes in the industry.

How Leap CRM Can Help

Managing a contracting business can become overwhelming as you begin to scale. Therefore, Leap CRM will streamline your operations, help you nurture your leads, and manage every project you take on. 

It’s the best solution to elevate your operations and create the best customer experience that leads to more referrals and 5-star reviews. You can track your leads, collaborate with customers and subcontractors, and customize your entire workflow all within one single application. 

Furthermore, create and manage project schedules, assign tasks, and track progress. This ensures projects stay on track and deadlines are met. Better yet, you can also create quick documents, such as estimates, proposals, and contracts in just a few easy clicks. 

Additionally, Leap CRM offers partner integrations to expand the software even further. This includes measurement tools, manufacturers, financing lenders, sales tools, and more.  

Now that you know how to become a general contractor that thrives, it’s important to get the most out of your business. Obtain the necessary education and experience, get licensed, create a business plan, and implement effective systems. To get started with Leap CRM, fill out the form below and schedule a quick demo. See how Leap can help you scale your business and drive profits!

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