Little in life is quite as empowering and thrilling as starting your own business, and little is as stressful. When you’re entering the contracting industry, there’s much to be done. Luckily, Tennessee is one of the best states to get started; the construction industry is continuing to grow even in today’s less-than-stable economy. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about launching a successful contractor business in Tennessee.
Obtaining a Contractors License
First and foremost, you need to get a contractors license if you want to work on large projects and for small projects on properties available to the public. Without this, your business will be stuck in still waters. To make sure you don’t spend too much time passing the test, you can take advantage of Tennessee contractors license exam prep services online.
A contractor’s license ensures you understand the business and legal aspects of operating as a contractor in Tennessee. The exams you must pass will vary slightly based on exactly what type of work you will be doing. You must also have proof of applicable insurance.
If you know that the contracting industry is the right job for you, it’s advisable to start with courses at a trade school and then employment under another contractor. This helps ensure you have all the information you need and can gain the experience to get started.
Understanding the Legalities of Tennessee Building Permits
As a contractor, you will be responsible for pulling any permits required for a project. Building codes are established at the district and city levels, but all must meet the state-level requirements. Some new contractors forget to consider HOA bylaws as well. It’s worth asking your client if they are in an HOA and ensuring they have gotten any necessary approvals— or to help them submit the proposal. Some HOAs are fairly lax about renovations, whereas others will threaten fines and legal action if a fence is too tall. As a professional, it will be up to you to try and protect your client from an expensive mistake.
You also need to ensure you have the right permits to protect yourself. Large renovation projects and builds must be inspected regularly. Without the proper permits, you could face fines or even legal action. You will also take a major hit to your reputation, which is essential for any new or small business.
Know Your Finances
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of starting a new business is getting your finances together. You will have a lot of startup costs, from insurance and licensing to purchasing tools. Securing proper funding is crucial, whether you use traditional means like bank loans or turn to crowdfunding platforms.
To seek funding, you should have a solid business plan that discusses start-up and operational costs, your plans for marketing, and any potential revenue sources. While licensing and insurance are typically part of what you use that funding for, you can make a solid impact on your business plan if you can share credentials.
Branding and Marketing Your Tennessee Business
Branding refers to your business’s unique identity. It’s how potential clients recognize you and how you stand out from the competition. This involves a unique logo, but most business startups don’t realize that branding extends to finding a color scheme and preferred font— even a certain tone that you write in for emails or adverts. Marketing then takes your branding to promote your business through advertising and social media.
Marketing is a difficult but essential aspect of starting a business. You want to establish an online presence, but you can also use social media and word of mouth. The more professional your web presence is, the more likely clients will choose you for their home projects.
Testimonials and reviews are also important. If you start with another contracting company but decide to create your own business, be honest with your boss. They may be willing to write a referral for your work, and they may have feedback from clients you worked with specifically to help promote you.
Have a Plan for Growth
As your reputation grows, your business will see more clients. It can be challenging to manage a growing workload alone. You may find yourself needing to build a team, which involves evaluating and hiring people who will represent your company.
Have a clear list of requirements for potential candidates so you know what you are looking for. You want to consider licensing and certification, attention to detail, and work ethic. Recruiter companies are a good resource if you aren’t comfortable with evaluating potential employees, and they can help you narrow down what you want in a team member. Always perform a background check and a social media check for potential employees. You want to be absolutely sure that you can trust them, especially around your clients and their property.
Starting your own contractor in Tennessee can be challenging, but with the right experience and training, it can be incredibly rewarding. It’s all about turning your passion for construction into a thriving business to serve the needs of communities throughout Tennessee.