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Residential Contractors Career Information and Related Articles

Kaplan Career Toolbox Residential Contractor Articles

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How Do I Become a Contractor?

Are you thinking of entering the field of residential or commercial contracting? Entering a new profession—any profession—is a difficult decision. Whether you have years of experience in the construction industry or are new to the field, there are a number of items to think about as you take the steps to become a contractor. You should clearly understand not only what that new profession will be like, but the best path to success for you in that profession.


What is it like being a contractorWhat is it Like Being a Contractor?

A residential or commercial contractor is more than someone with solid construction knowledge or experience. While knowledge of construction is essential, successful contractors also possess a good understanding of business and sales concepts. To have a long and successful career as a contractor, you must serve your customers better than your competition AND you must make a profit.


What are the startup costs for a contracting business? What Are the Startup Costs for a Contracting Business?

So, you've considered starting your own business as a contractor. But have you thought about what the financial lift will be to get your business off the ground? This article breaks down some of the most significant investments you'll need to prepare for before taking the big leap into self-employment as a contractor.   



people working on a construction siteTips for Preventing OSHA's Fatal Four on Worksites

Worksite safety plays an important role in ensuring that risks of injury are reduced while on the job, especially when you’re working in construction or manufacturing. Wondering how you can work on preventing injuries related to OSHA’s “Fatal Four” accident categories? Take a look at this article to learn exactly what accidents fall under OSHA’s Fatal Four and the steps you can take to prevent them from occurring.


How to find your niche in the contracting industryHow to Find Your Niche in the Contracting Industry

Your customers want to know that they're hiring experts in the field. Set yourself apart by focusing your contracting business on a few niche offerings. This article will demonstrate how you can market your contracting business more efficiently by narrowing down your offerings to a few key specializations. 



What is the financial opportunity for contractorsWhat is the Financial Opportunity for Contractors?

If you are thinking of becoming a residential or commercial contractor, there are a number of factors to consider to set yourself up for success. As with any financial opportunity there is a degree of risk, so it is best to consider your options within the profession as well as research your local market. Then create a business plan.



A man at a computer thinkingHow To Implement Technology as a Contractor

Technology can be a great help to contractors looking to streamline tasks or obtain more business. The hard part is knowing how to start implementing technology at your company. Wondering how you can implement technology at your construction business? Take a look at this article for 5 ideas on how to get started, including tips on utilizing social media, project management software, and more.


Lots of buildings and treesGreen Building Trends Residential Contractors Should Know

More and more homeowners are interested in ways they can incorporate green building trends. As eco-friendly building becomes increasingly popular, contractors should be prepared to answer questions from curious homeowners on these top green building trends. In this article, we'll go over green building trends in general, in addition to the top 3 trends that homeowners are interested in.


People talking and connectingHow to Build a Network for Your New Contracting Company

Building a solid network of leads will help your new contracting company get off to a good start. However, gaining new leads is often a difficult task for contracting businesses that are just getting their foot in the industry. This article will give you several tips for networking and getting more leads in the contracting world, so that you can watch your new business take off.


people working on a construction site5 Construction Trade Jobs Set to Grow by 2029

There are many different types of construction trade jobs that you can pursue. This article will walk you through five fast-growing construction trade jobs that may interest you if you're looking for a stable, growth-oriented career that may continue to provide opportunities for you in the future. Take a look at these jobs to see if any of them fit your skill set and interests.


Resumes and a checklistHow to Hire Reliable Subcontractors for a Project

Hiring unreliable subcontractors can cost you valuable time and money, not to mention your reputation as a contractor. Avoid these messy situations by fully vetting your subcontractors before hiring them. This article will walk you through everything you need to consider when hiring subcontractors, including prequalification evaluations, networking tips, and more.


Buildings in the snowKeep Your Contracting Business Running in the Off-Season

The construction off-season in winter and fall can be a great time for your contracting company to focus on a few key optimizations that can make a big difference for your business in the long run. During the spring and summer, your business may not have had time to focus on things like marketing, networking, and expanding services. The off-season can be a useful time to learn more about new strategies and tools for improving your company.


Construction safety standardsHow to Improve Construction Safety Standards

Every contracting business needs a safety plan to keep their employees safe and secure. There are many moving parts to safety on the job, so having a plan is essential. Take a look at this article for tips on how to improve safety standards at your business, including how to plan, perform inspections, and make weather arrangements.


Take control of construction costs - image of a construction site and equipmentHow Can Contractors Take Control of Equipment Costs?

Costs of equipment and upkeep are a major concern for many construction businesses. It can be hard to keep costs down while on the job. This article will give you five tips for reducing the amount that you spend on equipment and upkeep, including preventative maintenance, training, storage, and more.


How to improve profit margins in construction5 Ways to Improve Profit Margins in Construction

Narrow profit margins in the construction industry mean that even one mistake on the job can mean big losses for your business. Learn how to improve your profit margins and minimize the chances of delays and other mistakes that could cost your business. In this article, you'll get 5 tips for boosting your business's profitability, including goal setting, productivity, and more.


Image of emoji facesHow Can Contractors Focus on Client Retention?

Retaining more clients means more money for your contracting business. Since the industry is always changing, you might find it difficult to keep up when other businesses offer new skills or talents. Take a look at these tips for retaining more clients and keeping your business top of mind amidst the competition.


Image people in gears that all connect to each otherHow Contractors Can Build the Right Team

Your team can make a big difference in what your construction company is able to accomplish. Are you hiring the right people and retaining your valuable employees? Even if you think you are doing your best in this area, take a look at these seven tips for improving your retention rate and making better hiring decisions. There might be something here that you haven't heard before.


Image of a house with a giant blue umbrella over itHow to Prepare Your Contracting Business for Emergencies

When your projects don't go as planned, it's easy to make rash decisions if you haven't taken steps to prepare for potential emergencies. Hasty reactions to emergencies could cause even more damage in the long run. If you have a plan of action when faced with an unfortunate event, you're upping your chances of making the best possible decision for your business. In this article, you'll learn how to prepare for potential emergencies you may not have even considered.


model of home and calculator and coinsTips for Reducing Costly Delays in the Contracting Business

As a construction pro, you've likely seen first-hand the impact delays can have on your productivity and bottom line. And while some delays are innevitable, many can be prevented. In this article we break down five tangible strategies for avoiding delays that you can put in place today to make your company more profitable and productive. 


Is Green Cement the Future of Sustainable Construction?

As important as cement is, the process to manufacture it is also a major cause of industrial air pollution. The production of clinker, a key ingredient in cement, is a chief source of emission of noxious gases, especially carbon dioxide. Could 'green cement' provide a sustainable and suitable replacement?


Extension for Certain Certified RenovatorsExtension for Certain Certified Renovators

On April 8, 2015, the Administer of the EPA signed the final rule to extend the certifications for certain individual renovators. This rule pertains to individual renovators who received certification prior to March 31, 2011. Read more to find out what this means for contractors. 


Four Simple and Affordable Lead Generation Ideas for Contractors

Leads are the lifeblood of every contractor's business. The long term growth and success of your business depends on your ability to attract and convert new business. We've put together this list of four lead generation ideas that you can begin using today to increase the volume and improve the quality of leads for your contracting business.


Contractors: Understand Your Local Market

To be an effective contractor, you clearly need the skill set necessary to successfully complete projects. But you also need to have an understanding of the geographical area, as well as the local real estate market and the competitive landscape of other contractors in the area.



Minnesota DLI Announces the 2012 IRC Code Adoption

It's official—the MN Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) announced that the 2012 International Residential Code will take effect January 2015. Read this article to find out what this means for your current building projects.



EPA Lead-Safe Certificate Expires Every 5 Years

Are you approaching 5 years since you become EPA lead-safe certified? If so, you will need a 4-hour refresher course to remain a certified renovator. Once your recertification course is completed, your certified renovator status is active for 5 years from the course completion date.