How Do I Become a General Contractor?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2018
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To become a general contractor, you should gain a great deal of practical employment experience working in construction and consider receiving education in construction. While a particular education is not necessary for a general contractor, you may be able to find work more easily if you have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a subject related to construction. Professional work experience in construction typically is required for you to become a general contractor, so you should consider working in a field such as masonry, carpentry, plumbing, or electrical work. Once you have the education and experience you need, then you typically need licensing in your country or region as well.

A general contractor is someone who works on a construction site and oversees the individual sub-contractors and crews working on the site. He or she is typically responsible for ensuring a construction project is completed on time, within budget, and in a way that adheres to local legal codes. To become a general contractor, you should consider an education in construction. While an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not necessarily required to become a general contractor, it can make the process easier for you.

Work experience in construction is, perhaps, the most important requirement needed to become a general contractor. You should expect to complete several years, if not more than a decade, of professional work in construction to qualify as a contractor. This work can be gained in general construction, as well as in specific trades such as plumbing or carpentry.

In many countries, including the US, you need to have a license to become a general contractor. The requirements for this license can vary from area to area, including different states in the US, but all typically include a great deal of professional experience. You may be able to reduce some experience time required if you have a degree in construction, but this depends on regional or federal requirements in your area. Questions on the licensing test cover a wide range of construction subjects, including physical construction practices and laws and codes in your area governing safe construction methods.

Once you are properly licensed to become a general contractor, then you should consider ways to develop connections and relationships with clients. Your time gaining work experience on construction sites can help you meet other people working in different trades who you can then work with as a general contractor. You can look for opportunities to become a general contractor for a particular construction agency, though you may find it easier to start your own business and hire out your services to clients as needed.



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