Opening a new construction company today may seem like a bold choice, but investing in this sector could be a very wise move, indeed. The real estate market is gradually returning to normal, and there is a renewed increase in the number of investors willing to invest in construction. Starting now is also a great way to get in on the ground floor, as it were, for any big projects that are sure to come in the next few years.
It’s important to think of your construction company as you would any other entrepreneurial project. This means creating an effective and complete business plan, predicting potential future issues, and making sure you have the capital to get started. It also means that you need to plan for your growth, and are already thinking several years into the future, seeking government contracts and more permanent staff.
Read on to learn the key steps to opening a construction company and setting yourself up for success.
Draw up a business plan
No company can survive without a business plan. A description of the business, its structure, services, overhead costs, funding sources, etc. will go a long way in helping you make all the right moves. It’s also important to clarify whether you will do new construction or renovations. Are there competitors in the area working in the same field? How are their earnings? Is your area still evolving with lots of building going on, or are there many historically important sites you can specialize in? All these questions will help you figure out what to do.
When you’ve got your business plan all mapped out, you can use it as part of your company’s portfolio when you go searching for investors. If you’re looking for inspiration or help with writing this, check out our blog post here, which dives deep into the details.
Name your business
It is an obvious thing to do, isn’t it? Naming your project will help give it life, and you can start putting that name in all of your documents. Once you have decided on the name of your construction company, you can begin to think about advertising and marketing. More on that below.
One thing that many people let bog them down, in the beginning, is coming up with the perfect name. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for this. In fact, it’s something you can outsource. Our business name generators have helped thousands of people do this after they’ve answered a few simple questions. They will generate a list of suggestions that are unique and well-suited.
Before codifying your business name in any official way, you will need to check and make sure no one else has it. Many construction companies are named after their founders, in which case there should be no problem. However, if you’d like to think outside the box, you can check the US Patent and Trademark Office list of registered companies to ensure that yours is unique.
Location is key
You will need to find the perfect place for your business. Of course, the bulk of your construction work will be done on-site, but you will need a tasteful office that will act as a meeting space for clients. It will also be the hub for your operations.
Think about what style of building you will be doing. If you are looking for up-scale renovation work, you will need to position yourself in a place that will catch their attention. However, if you will be looking for mostly large contracts, your business will rely more heavily on projects that you seek out. This will allow you to be located in an industrial estate or a less urban environment.
One important thing you need to know is where you will store your equipment. When not in use, machinery, scaffolding, mixers, power tools, and protective equipment will all need to be properly stored and maintained. If you are looking to save on costs, in the beginning, you can rent a warehouse and set up your office there. However, if you can afford separate storage and office space, you’ll have more flexibility with your office location.
Now that you’ve got your name, your niche, and your neighborhood all decided, it’s time for some clients. Aside from the traditional print flyers, billboards, and TV and radio ads, today’s media landscape is perfectly suited to targeting clients. From social media to podcasts, email to pay-per-click advertising, it’s easy to get the word out.
However, before you start telling the world to check you out as a business, it’s important you have a place for them to see. You need a website.
Build a website
It seems odd that a literal brick-and-mortar construction company would need a website. However, today’s consumers always check out a place online before giving them any business. Give them a place to learn more about you, your projects, your portfolio, and even read some customer reviews.
If you decide to apply for government or municipal building contracts, you will want to have a professional website that any constituent can find. Remember that these government bodies are accountable to an entire population. Typically, they will only award jobs to companies that are the most professional and deserving. Put your best foot forward with a website.
As you well know, houses don’t build themselves. Neither do websites. However, not everyone is an excellent coder or loves working on the computer. Fortunately, websites such as Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace make it very easy to construct your site. Think of these platforms as the solid foundations, and your content and text as the upper levels and flourishes that will make your future projects unique. With a strong base, you can make a beautiful website that requires no knowledge of computer code.
Domain name for your construction business
We discussed above the importance of your business name. Almost equally important is your domain name, or web address. The two should be the same, or very close to each other.
A good domain name is easy to remember, easy to spell, short, and mirrors your business name.
What happens if you have a great business name but the domain for that name is taken? This happens more frequently than you might think, and can be extremely frustrating.
What we recommend is trying for a domain name first, and when you find one that you like, taking your business name from that. It’s a way of working backward to find the perfect solution. Our domain name generator is a great tool for this, you can try it out here.
Social media is your friend
Did you know that you can make social media accounts for your business? Most social media platforms have business account capability, meaning you and your company can have separate online identities. The benefits of this are obvious, particularly when we consider a potential client looking for information. They want to hear about your business, not browse photos from your recent vacation. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are all excellent ways to engage with your local community and find business.
If you’re not sure how social media can help you professionally, consider that Facebook is the perfect place to post your hours, your telephone number, and your location. It also frequently updates your activity, meaning people can tell with a quick glance at your page whether or not your business is open, on task, and engaged. Instagram is ideal for posting photo diaries. For example, a renovation of ‘before,’ and ‘after’ would be an instant way to show off what your company can do. Meanwhile, over on Twitter, you can keep up with news and municipal happenings, and TikTok is a way to show off some DIY tutorials. TikTok is great as it shows people your know-how, and you become a trusted expert in their eyes.
When you interact in community groups and public forums, you can create a strong network from which to draw inspiration (and get recommendations!)
Quality over quantity is true for engagement as well
You don’t have to sign up with all of the social media platforms, not at first. But whichever you decide, you need to remember to keep it up-to-date. Holiday hours, staff changes, and upcoming and completed projects should all be posted (and hopefully chatted about positively).
Don’t be afraid to give your business accounts and blog a personality. Some companies go for humor, others for authority.
Whichever you decide, focus the content on your business, without talking about your competition or other construction companies. Stay positive, and customers will appreciate your professionalism.
Structuring your business
Just like any project (physical or otherwise!) the proper structure is critical. Businesses can be structured in a variety of different ways, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The structure will depend on how big your company is, how protected you want to be from potential monetary issues, whether you plan to expand, etc. The general categories are sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLC).
It’s clear that we are now entering some complicated territory, and you would do well to contact a local business tax accountant or lawyer to advise you on your specific case. That being said, if you decide to go the LLC route, there are many online aids available to help. In order to ensure that you find the most useful one for your needs, we have compiled a list of the best LLC services that we’ve reviewed. You can read more about them here.
Apply for licenses
It can be all too easy to get bogged down in bureaucratic red tape, so we suggest you get a jump on these keystone pieces of paperwork as soon as possible.
The construction industry is intensely regulated — as it should be! Imagine how dangerous unregulated construction in a heavily-trafficked area could be. So in the interest of safety, there are building codes, electrical codes, engineering standards, plumbing codes, the list goes on.
In order for your construction business to be able to build or renovate any type of structure, you will need to be a registered, regulated, and licensed builder.
Depending on where you live, this may require entry into certain guilds or applying for permits. Put reminders in your calendar for dates of expiry and renewal on these essential documents, as they will require you to maintain them.
A successful business owner understands the importance of hiring the right help and delegating jobs. For many, this is almost always bookkeeping. But if you have a good head for numbers and are extremely organized, maybe you can take this role on yourself.
One indispensable role is that of administration or office clerk. The tasks may seem simple, but it is very easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. They will build up quickly and often have overlapping time frames. For example, investors may need information, or you may need to apply for a grant, in which case you need to have up-to-date employee information at all times. Combined with having the current status of projects, problems, and funding. Payroll needs to go out on time, tax information needs to be sent, supplies need to be ordered, seasonal staff need to be hired, and new project proposals need to be written and sent. These things can all happen at the same time! So if you’re busy organizing the actual construction on-site, you will need someone to take care of the rest in the office.
While construction can provide good entry-level jobs, there are some areas that absolutely require a skilled tradesperson. Electricians and plumbers, in particular, need to be very sure of what they are doing. You will need to ensure that all the people who set foot on your building site are there with the best qualifications possible, in order to deliver the best work.
Starting a construction business can seem like a great idea in a growing area. After all, the need is visible! Above, we outlined some of the most important areas for you to develop before jumping in feet first with a new company. After all, with the investment of time and money it entails, you need to be sure it is done well. So, take your time and put a good foundation in place before you start building your construction empire.
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