Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

What is Being a Contractor Like?

What is it Like Being a Contractor?

Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education
Updated: January 15, 2019

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. 

Being a Contractor Requires a Wide-Range of Skills 

  • Overseeing and managing the jobsite
  • Estimating change orders
  • Pulling permits
  • Speaking with prospective clients
  • Marketing yourself and your business
  • New and old construction knowledge
  • Effective communicator
  • Generating leads

One of the key decisions you need to make is whether, as a contractor, you will still be providing any physical labor on projects--most contractors do, at least initially.

As with any profession there are challenges and benefits to being a residential or commercial contractor. You can expect long days, long drives, physical demands, and that you will make mistakes. But you can also expect to create great relationships while helping people achieve their dream of building a home or buisness.

Free Guide: 23 Simple Strategies to Grow Your Contracting Business Today

Benefits of Being a Contractor

  • Non-traditional hours
  • Tangible accomplishments
  • Using your skills and experience to help people
  • Variety in your work and work environment

Challenges of Being a Contractor

  • Non-traditional hours
  • Managing client expectations
  • Managing a challenging project and/or jobsite
  • Can be physically demanding


To learn more about becoming a contractor in Minnesota, visit our Minnesota Contractor Licensing landing page.