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How You Can Become a Home Builder

Contractor Tips , Posted by Charlotte Smith on

How You Can Become a Home Builder

Build it on up! 66,000 companies build homes throughout the United States.

If you want a high-paying and meaningful job, you should consider becoming a home builder. Unfortunately, you can't just walk onto a building site and expect to get a job. You need to spend extensive time researching the industry. 

Requirements to Become a Home Builder

How can you become an official residential builder? What resources do you need to become a successful custom home builder? What should you do if you want to start a home construction business?

Answer these questions and you can start your incredible career today. Here is your comprehensive guide.

Earn Your Degree

You don't have to get a bachelor's degree in order to run a home construction business. But it's generally a good idea to get one. It will let you receive training, make connections with other aspiring home builders, and give you a little credibility with clients. 

Take a look at programs specifically in construction management. Some schools don't offer it. If you're having trouble finding a program you like, you can major in urban planning, civil engineering, or architecture. 

Important skills for home builders include time management, financial management, and leadership. Consider minoring or taking a few classes in business and finance. You should also take a course in public speaking.

Many community colleges also offer classes on construction. Though going to a community college is not as prestigious as going to a four-year college, getting an associate's degree can still make you seem credible. Community college courses are cheaper than courses at other colleges, so they're a good option if money is tight.

Study Building Codes

Even if you don't spend time in school, you need to study building codes. Failing to adhere to codes can result in lawsuits and accidents. Buy books with your state and local governments' codes and spend time memorizing them. 

Keep in mind that building codes change from year to year. Keep up to date with the latest edits to your local codes. 

You should also remember that the codes vary from state to state. If your home construction business does well and you open a branch in another state, you need to know that state's codes. 

Talk to a lawyer so you learn more about the regulations that affect you. You should stay in touch with them, as they can help you review building plans and offer legal advice about your company.

Get Experience

Getting hands-on experience is the most important step in becoming a home builder. You cannot apply for a license in most states until you have at least three years of experience working on homes.

You can start getting experience early on. Many construction companies are looking for construction workers. The job requires a lot of physical labor, but you will develop physical strength and learn about what it takes to build a house. 

You may also be able to find administrative work. Some companies offer internships or apprenticeships. See what your different options are before picking one. 

If you can't find a job with a construction company, try finding a job related to designing or renovating homes. This will still help you develop your skills, and you may decide that interior design or landscaping is a better fit for you.

After you graduate, you should find work as soon as possible. A gap in your resume can make it hard to find a good job. You may need to work a few part-time jobs before finding a steady full-time position. 

Find positions at companies where you have a career trajectory. If you start working as a construction worker, you should eventually be in a position to supervise projects. If you find yourself at a dead end, you should transition to another company.

Build Relationships With Home Builders

The more connections you make, the easier it will be for you to find work. Make as many connections as possible with people in the construction and home industries. You should know carpenters, electricians, and plumbers who you can use for future projects. 

After you leave a job, you should get references from your employer. Keep in touch with them so you learn about job opportunities and encourage them to offer kind words for you to other people.

Do favors for them so they are willing to do favors for you. You can offer them your thoughts on their projects and give them resources you've found, like study guides for building codes.

You can join many different unions in the construction industry. Consider joining one so you can qualify for benefits and make connections with other members.

Apply for a Contractor's License

The requirements for a contractor's license vary depending on where you live. In general, you need to show work experience in the construction industry. A resume and a list of references are often necessary. 

You then need to register for a written exam. You will be asked questions about building codes, construction practices, and safety protocols. Your exam may have dozens of questions on it, so you spend time preparing for it. 

You can take classes so you are ready. Find a course specifically for the test you are about to take. If a course is too expensive, you can get an exam prep book and take practice tests after you've studied the course materials on your own. 

Take the exam after a few weeks of studying. Send your results to your state contractor's licensing board and wait to hear back about your application. In the meantime, you should continue to work for the construction company you are with. 

If you fail the test, you can retake it. Try to figure out what you did wrong and make improvements so you succeed. Take classes again so you stay fresh.

You may be required to participate in continuing education. This can mean taking online classes in a number of subjects. Take a look at your state's requirements and get your education done ahead of time. 

Unlicensed contractors face significant civil and criminal lawsuits. If you do not have a contractor's license, you can find work in the construction industry in another position. But do not work as a contractor without a license.

Apply for Additional Certifications

You can start working as a contractor once you've got your license. But getting certifications can help you learn about important areas like land surveying. You can develop a name for yourself as an expert in a particular field of home building and stand out from your competition. 

Each certificate is different, but most involve similar processes as getting your license. You need to submit an application that shows you have work experience in the area of your certificate. You also need to perform well on a written test after studying important concepts related to the certificate. 

It can take a few months to get one certification, so pick one that you think would significantly help your career. It should relate to your job experience in some way. 

Find a Niche

You can find a niche in several ways. You can specialize in building a particular kind of home.

Some people build and design farmhouse-style homes while others construct colonial homes. You can also specialize in one of the five types of building construction, such as building fire-resistant homes. You can even specialize in a particular client base, like large families or retirees.

Take a look at the home builders in your area and see what niches are missing. You should fulfill a need in your community, and your niche should have opportunities for expansion as time goes on. 

Once you pick a niche, you should commit to it. Get a certification or two related to your niche and make connections with people similar to you. Start advertising yourself as a specialized builder so people in your community know who you are. 

Receive Funding

When you're ready to start your business, you need to look for money. Most business owners get their initial investments from banks. You can also try going to venture capitalists or getting money from connections you have made. 

If you have a lot of money, you can self-finance your business. But you should still look for a partner or another backer. This will diminish your risk of losing all your money, and you can use that person's connections to build your business.

Talk to a financial advisor to look at your different options for funding. If you don't have good credit, you can find alternative sources. The Small Business Administration can back your loan. 

All of the money you receive should go directly into your business. Your first priority should be to find an office. You should then hire employees and buy tools so you can start projects as soon as possible.

Hire a Team

In order for your business to be successful, you need to have a good project management division and intelligent construction workers. You can supervise both departments. But you need managers for each one, and you need to hire many employees for both. 

Once your office is open, you should start interviewing potential employees. Talk to your connections and see if there are any promising workers in your area. If you're having trouble finding people, you should use LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job-searching platforms.

You can prioritize your construction division over your project management division, as long as you have extensive experience with managing projects. But you must hire multiple managers at some point. This gives clients a second opinion, and it lets you have multiple perspectives for each project. 

It is okay to hire consultants and other people at other companies to help you with projects. But the more resources you have in-house, the more credible you will seem. As your company establishes itself, try to hire interior designers, HVAC professionals, and other specialists.

Market Your Services

Clients can spread the word about your company to their friends and relatives. Yet it can be hard to grow your business significantly off of word of mouth. You need to take the initiative and market your company through aggressive measures.

You should go to as many home and trade shows as possible. People at the trade shows are actively looking for people to build their homes, and they may hire you on the spot. Prepare a good trade show display so you attract people to your company. 

Websites are essential marketing tools nowadays. Your website should give details about the services you offer, your experience, and examples of your previous work. You can start a blog and write posts about the construction industry, establishing yourself as a thought leader.

You must also use social media accounts. Share images of the projects you are working on and answer questions from your customers.

Remain in touch with your clients as the years go on. This will encourage them to reach out to you if they want another home built. This will also prompt them to recommend you to others. 

Start a Career as a Home Builder

If you want to be a home builder, you need to start now by gaining extensive experience in the industry, working on as many projects as possible. After you develop experience, you can pursue an official license as a contractor. 

If you want your own business, you need to think of a niche for yourself. Then you need to get money, employees, and clients. Be patient and make many connections.

It's hard to be a great home builder without educational resources. Lucky for you, Contractor Training Center has resources and in-house experts that can help you prepare for your licensing exams and submit a license application with ease.

Book a call with a licensing expert at Contractor Training Center to get started working towards becoming a licensed home builder today!