Home improvement contractors may specialize in a particular type of home improvement, such as plumbing, heating and cooling, or carpentry. General contractor firms typically have several crews of workers, each specializing in a particular trade.
For example, a home improvement company that specializes in roofing may have a crew of carpenters to install the roof decking and flashing and a crew of sheet metal workers to install the shingles or metal roofing.
Most home improvement contractors are small business owners who employ workers. In some cases, however, a contractor may be an individual who subcontracts with other companies or self-employed workers. For example, a plumber who owns his or her own business may subcontract with an electrician to do the wiring for a bathroom remodeling project.
Here are tips to become a licensed home improvement contractor.
1. Education and Training
Most home improvement contractors have at least a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, such as an apprenticeship or certification. Many community colleges offer programs in construction trades, including carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. Some large home improvement companies offer training programs for entry-level workers.
Most states and localities require home improvement contractors to be licensed. To obtain a license, contractors must usually show proof of insurance, pass a business exam, and provide financial statements showing net worth and liquidity. In some states, contractors must also post a bond. The bond is designed to protect consumers from fraudulent or incompetent contractors.
Some home improvement contractors are certified by professional organizations. For example, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers a Certified Remodeler credential. To earn this credential, remodelers must pass an exam and have at least three years of experience in the remodeling industry.
The National Association of Home Builders also offers a Certified Graduate Remodeler credential. To earn this credential, remodelers must complete an accredited remodeling program and have at least two years of experience in the remodeling industry.
4. Get Bonded and Insured
In addition to being licensed, home improvement contractors must also be bonded and insured. The bond is designed to protect consumers from fraudulent or incompetent contractors. The insurance protects consumers from financial losses that may occur if the contractor is injured or damages property while working on the consumer’s home.
5. Build Your Business
After you have obtained your license, bonded, and insured, you are ready to start building your home improvement business. You will need to find a niche market, build a good reputation, and create a solid marketing plan. Remember that word-of-mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising. If you do good work for your customers, they will be sure to tell their friends and family about you.
6. Find a Niche Market
One way to set your home improvement business apart from the competition is to find a niche market. For example, you could focus on remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, or basements. You could also specialize in green building techniques or energy-efficient home improvements.
7. Build a Good Reputation
Another way to set your home improvement business apart from the competition is to build a good reputation. You can do this by providing excellent customer service and doing high-quality work. Be sure to get testimonials from satisfied customers that you can use in your marketing materials.
8. Create a Solid Marketing Plan
Once you have found a niche market and built a good reputation, you need to create a solid marketing plan. You should start by creating a website and social media accounts.
You should also consider using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make sure your website appears at the top of search results when potential customers are looking for home improvement contractors. You should also consider using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to generate leads.
If you want to become a licensed home improvement contractor, you will need to meet certain educational and training requirements. You will also need to be licensed and insured.
Once you have met these requirements, you can start building your home improvement business. Be sure to find a niche market, build a good reputation, and create a solid marketing plan. With hard work and dedication, you can be successful in the home improvement industry.