Starting a small business of any kind requires a great deal of thought, preparation, and planning. The sheer number of decisions to be made can be intimidating. Step one in this process is to separate out the things you can do something about, and control to some extent, from the things which are beyond your control, or anyone else’s. Restrict your thoughts and real efforts to just what you can get done for your small building company start-up.
- Skill level:
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Narrow your focus. Decide on what aspect of building you wish to concentrate. Investigate your local market. Look for what there is a real need for. (Is there a need for foundation contractors, framers, roofers, pavers, concrete finishers, electricians, plumbers?) Once you settle on an area you think you would like to concentrate on, move on to step 2 to continue your decision process.
Research the profit potential of your building choice niche or speciality. Look into the historical performance of this sector for your area. Examine real, current projects that are being completed right now. Establish ongoing activity level and prospects for future work availability.
Calculate your total investment. Include: tools, machinery and heavy equipment, labour, insurances, taxes, bookkeeping, other related daily operating costs, and your desired salary. Set realistic figures for the above cost considerations. Use figures based on current pay rates.
Get direct quotes from tool and heavy equipment companies. Contact insurance companies, tax preparers, and clerical help pools for exact figures. Add 30% to the figures you are given. Determine if you can make the kind of money you wish to make after adding in all these business costs.
Begin your next important phase of establishing your building company. Drug test and hire your employees very selectively. Find at least one future, potential, project foreman. Seek out the most verifiably experienced workers available. (They represent the quality of work your company will become known for.) Become well-acquainted with them, and establish a trusting, respectful working relationship that will encourage them to be responsible employees.
Locate and bid on available jobs in your area. Do not be overly-concerned with giving the lowest price. Submit bids within the upper budget range after you have calculated your costs and profit. Hunt out and place as many bids as you can find. Do not worry about not being able to get the work completed. You can always hire additional crews.
Tips and warnings
- Be honest with yourself and the figures you generate.
- Entertain worst case scenarios within your start-up plans.
- If you do not have at least 24 months total operating costs available, do not attempt this start-up.
- The number one reason for new business failure is insufficient operating capital in reserve.
- Operating capital in reserve is what is known in the business world as “staying power.” Your business can not survive without it.
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