What You Need to Know to Become a General Contractor

What You Need to Know to Become a General Contractor

General contractors do incredibly valuable work for an astounding array of construction projects. These managerial-level workers are a critical part of any construction team’s on-the-ground staff. 

If you’re interested in possibly becoming one, the good news is that it’s a gratifying and lucrative career. Here, we discuss what this career path offers and how to pursue that dream! 

What Is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a skilled overseer tasked with the day-to-day oversight of a construction site. Their work includes doing things such as acquiring both the materials needed for the successful completion of a construction job as well as hiring the labor and human resources required to see a job through to its end. 

This skilled, managerial-level position requires training, competency, and experience. Due to the nature of the work done by these professionals, the steps to become a G.C. can be very demanding. You may have to pass business management and construction development exams. For this reason, many interested construction workers and other construction professionals seek general contractor classes to prepare for the rigorous licensing tests. 

How to Become a General Contractor

While becoming a general contractor (G.C.) differs slightly from state to state, generally, anyone who wishes to move up not only needs experience but potentially a license, good financial standing, insurance, and more. It may sound overwhelming, but there is a straightforward path through this.

Get Experience

The first thing that someone needs before they get more responsibilities is experience. While the precise level of expertise may differ, most states require some prior experience on a construction site. G.C. licensing boards will ask you to verify this experience by filling out a form, such as this one from Virginia. 

Pass the Licensing Exam

Once a prospective general contractor has verified their experience, the next step is to pass a challenging exam that tests them on basic building knowledge, project management, business law, and more. Local testing authorities will administer these exams according to the requirements of the state where one lives and seeks to work. 

Establish Your Business

Once you’ve passed the G.C. exam specific to the state you want to work in, you can congratulate yourself! But know that you are not in the clear yet. 

You’ll need to establish your company, including registering the business, applying for an employer EIN for taxes, and deciding on a suitable business structure

Verify Financial Standing

Once you’ve established the business, the next step is to verify your financial status and provide proof of liability insurance. Insurance protects you as much as the customer should any mishaps occur while on the job. 

What to Know Before Working With a General Contractor?

Here are 7 tips for working with contractors.

  • Get a detailed quote
  • Ask about the subcontractors
  • Set up a time to talk with the contractors
  • Plot a timeline.
  • Prepare for problems.
  • Check the work of contractors on a regular basis.
  • Offer kind gestures.

How Do I Get Started as a General Contractor?

Steps to Starting a General Contractor Company

  • Consider the Benefits and Disadvantages of Beginning a New Company.
  • Write a Business Plan.
  • Get a license, a bond, and insurance.
  • Choose a Company Name.
  • Incorporate Your Company.
  • Create a business bank account.
  • Hire Subcontractors.
  • Create and Identify Your Brand

What Do You Learn as a General Contractor?

A bachelor’s degree typically requires four years to finish, and a prospective contractor’s courses may cover structural science, construction, economics, statistics, and other financial topics. A few schools offer distinct degrees in development and management.

Do Contractors Make Good Money?

Contractors earn greater compensation than employees. It’s that easy. This is due to the fact that contractors charge more and are able to retain a greater portion of their salary than employees. Contractors often charge higher rates, pay lower tax rates, and can deduct business expenses.

What Are the Benefits of Being a General Contractor?

The Benefits:

  • The possibility of earning more. Working as your own boss provides greater control over the hourly or per-project rate offered to clients.
  • More flexibility on and off the job.
  • Qualified contractors may select the clientele with whom they wish to work.
  • An adaptable career path.


To become a G.C., any would-be managerial-level professional needs to prepare, have a strong track record, and be willing to showcase how they stand above their fellow construction workers. It’s a challenging process, but once you have that license in hand and start your first job, you’ll be glad you went through the process.

Ready to get started building and profiting? If that’s you, you ought to consider attempting to become one of the few, one of the proud, general contractors. 

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