Tips for Starting a Successful Subcontracting Company


Catch a glimpse of most city skylines, and you’ll see one or more construction cranes towering overhead. Take a stroll through the streets, and you’ll see scaffolding attached to the outside of buildings, watch cement mixers rumble through traffic, and hear jackhammers break up sidewalks.

For those looking for a lucrative line of work, construction provides a reliable means of earning a good living. And when it comes to making the most money possible across various projects and assignments, subcontracting is where it’s at!

Generally speaking, construction projects rely on three groups: owners, general contractors, and subcontractors. A single owner typically hires a single general contractor company that, in turn, employs a variety of subcontractors to complete various worksite tasks.

The result is lots of opportunities for skilled subcontractors to succeed. But reaching that point doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of experience and months of planning.

With that said, starting a successful subcontracting company is not impossible. Let’s take a look at seven tips for making it happen:

Get industry experience

Like any profession, experience will prove critical in achieving success as a subcontractor. Due to the complexity and danger of modern construction sites, worksite experience is essential in keeping you and your workers productive and safe. Spend a year or two working as a general laborer on several construction sites to get a real sense of the nature of the job. Apply for management positions to enhance your ability to run a crew of workers. Doing so will put you in the best position possible to launch a successful subcontracting company.

Secure the proper licensing and permits

The licensing requirements and permits necessary to operate as a subcontractor vary from state to state and country to country. Take the time to carefully examine the specific requirements in your region. Once you understand what’s required, move forward with obtaining these licenses and permits. The qualifications range from simply paying a fee to successfully passing an examination.

Obtain insurance

Construction sites are notoriously dangerous places. Your work is significant regarding safety and structural integrity; faulty work can lead to disaster. This all adds up to tremendous pressure on subcontractors to be bondable meaning bonded and insured to the hilt. Start with securing a general liability insurance policy. This will protect you in the event of property damage or bodily injury resulting from poor work. You will also need workers’ compensation insurance and a surety bond policy.

Have a website

It’s hard to trust an organization in today’s world if they don’t have a website. With this in mind, subcontractors must invest in a quality website and regularly update it. Doing so establishes a sense of professionalism and trustworthiness you will otherwise lose without a strong web presence. You might also consider creating a Facebook Business Page and Twitter account to enhance your digital presence further.

Search for new construction projects

You’ve got everything lined up. Now’s the time to start working. There’s just one problem; you don’t know where to look. Fortunately, there are several sites and services that make it easy to find new construction projects in your area. While most require a paid subscription, the small investment will be well worth the cost. It essentially puts you in the same arena as your competition, enabling you to swoop in and secure your first series of projects.

Learn how to bid

Becoming a subcontractor on a worksite requires more than simply saying you want the job. You’ll need to bid for it. While it’s theoretically easy to bid low to win the contract, going too low will rob you of any profit. It might even lead to cost overruns you will need to eat. With this in mind, subcontractors need to learn how to bid on construction projects. Generally speaking, it comes down to having a keen sense of costs and the ability to lower those costs through your own network of suppliers.

Do a great job

Last but not least, you need to do a great job! Poor quality work will not only open you up to the possibility of lawsuits but also condemn your professional reputation. Nobody will want to work with a subcontractor associated with poor quality work.

Construction remains one of the most booming industries on the planet. That makes it a golden opportunity for those looking for a lucrative career as a subcontractor. But there’s more to it than simply calling yourself a subcontractor. You have to make yourself one and follow through with exceptional performance and outstanding results.


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