Monthly Archives: September 2020

Do You Have a Passion for Working in Construction? Here’s How to Tell.

Have you ever met someone who knew exactly what they wanted to do in life from the time they were a small child? Some people are like that. They are practically born knowing where to go. For the rest of us, it’s important to find a good fit. But having a career is so much better when you know you can bring passion to your work. Here are five ways you can tell that your passion (and your future) lies in construction.

You Can’t Stop Building Things
Like kids who can’t stop playing with Legos, there are adults who absolutely love building things. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re constantly creating new structures, however. You’ll know that you’ve got the passion if you are constantly finding new ways to rethink your living or working spaces. For example, if you’re always working on a personal home improvement project or helping your friends with theirs, this is a good sign that you’ll enjoy doing it as a career.

You Love to See Physical Results of Your Work
Centuries ago, most of the work the people did had some kind of physical result. They might create, produce or grow something that others could use or consume. These days, much of what people do for a living isn’t tangible. And while many people believe that these are rewarding careers, it isn’t the best choice for everyone. There are still millions of people who love to work with their hands and see something grow or change before their eyes. Construction provides an immediate reward of progress that can give you a sense of satisfaction with your effort.

You Love Active Work
One of the things that industrialization created for society was the ability to produce more while working less. Instead of having one person produce all components of a product, they are more likely to be in charge of one aspect of it. As a result, in the 21st Century, most people do not work on their feet. This is certainly true for people who have found long-term careers. And while many people find this approach very accessible, there are others who need more activity during the workday. If you find long hours spent outside to be the best way to earn a living, you’re ideally suited to a career in construction.

You’re Always Ready to Learn Something New
While construction is an extremely old profession, this doesn’t mean that it never changes. There are always new technologies and building practices to learn. The people who are better set for a career in construction are the ones who are willing to adapt over time. The last several years have brought significant changes in the construction workflow. As such, some tasks are easier to do and provide a better long-term result. But in order to develop skills in those innovations, you have to have some courage and a love of learning. Always wanting to find out what’s next on the horizon will serve you well in this industry.

You Take Pride in Building on Ancient Tradition
A mix of old and new practices is what makes up the construction industry. You might build something in a way that people have been doing it for 500 years or more. In fact, there’s a whole niche of the construction industry in period construction and renovation. If the process is solid, there may be no reason to change it. But at the same time, there are new developments that can make things better, stronger or more likely to last. Your interest in honoring the past while you create structures for the modern world are signs that you will enjoy this career now, and in the future.

Working in construction might be a job, but it could also be a passion. To find out how you can take advantage of your interest in construction to build a great career, contact CSLS today!

How to Choose a Contractor Licensing Exam Prep School

When you’re getting ready to take the contractor licensing exam, you’ve got a few ways to prepare. Of course, you can study from home. But having someone with the experience to help guide you through what to expect and fill out your knowledge can save you a lot of hassle and stress. This is what exam preparation schools do. With these tips, you’ll know how to choose the best one.

Comprehensive Learning Options
Not everyone learns in exactly the same way. Some people benefit from in-person instruction, while others prefer to study on their own. When you are looking for schools that will help you prepare for the contractor licensing exam, you want as many options as possible. A good system will give you several choices, such as:

  • Live instruction
  • Online courses
  • Self-paced programs
  • Additional practice

This way, if you’re not sure which learning environment is best for you, you can try out a little of each and decide.

Convenient Locations
If you’re going to take advantage of in-person instruction or classrooms where you can practice some of your skills, there needs to be a location convenient to you. For example, CSLS maintains more than two dozen locations across the state of California. This makes it easy for anyone who wants that experience to find a location in their area and receive it.

Construction Focus
There are hundreds of schools that specialize in exam preparation. This does not mean that they will be able to give you adequate preparation for the contractor licensing exam. Many national companies try to do too much, by offering exam preparation for testing in a wide variety of different industries. But this may mean that they cannot specialize in construction as an industry, and specifically the rules concerning becoming a licensed contractor in the state of California. Finding a school that focuses on construction, and what you can expect when you build a career in the state, will give you a better preparation for your career in the years to come.

High Passing Rates
Going to school for exam preparation is a great tool to make sure that you understand all of the concepts covered, as well as what to expect from the exam itself. One of the best ways that a school can show you their success rate is through a higher rate of students passing the exam. While you look for this data, keep in mind that the number of times it takes a person to pass an exam matters. Schools with a higher rate of students who pass the contractor licensing exam on the first try may be a better investment in the long run.

If an exam prep school is confident that their preparation classes will help you to pass the exam within the first couple of tries, they may offer a guarantee to that effect. Guarantees indicate that if you follow their guidelines and do not receive the desired result, you may be able to get at least a portion of your investment back. This is an opportunity to read the fine print, because guarantees don’t usually come without requirements. Check to see how many opportunities the school gives you to attempt the exam before you request a refund. Confirm that the requirements for the guarantee are clearly outlined and easy to understand.

The right exam school will make you feel much more prepared to take the licensing exam. To find out more about what CSLS can do for you, visit us today!


How Your Contracting Business Can Tailor Communication Based on Generation

As a general rule, you’d like to get back to your clients when they have questions. This is particularly important at the early stages, when they aren’t yet your clients. The thing is that communication is highly specialized, with preferences that tend to run along generational lines. If you talk to a baby boomer like a Zoomer, there’s going to be a lot lost in translation. But the same is true for the other way around. Here are a few observed communication preferences that your contracting business can use to get your message across.

Generation Z
At the oldest, members of generation Z are in their early 20s. They have never known a time when internet was not freely accessible, and only the oldest of them can easily remember a world without smartphones. People in this generation are extremely adept at using technology and will often expect businesses to be able to respond in kind. This doesn’t mean that they prefer not to have face-to-face contact where appropriate, however. Rather, they prefer a fluid set of options that they can indicate based on the type of communication. For example, they’re very familiar with email but would probably prefer a text message for timely communications.

Millennials, currently in their 20s and 30s, may have different communication preferences based on where they sit in that range. Given that the median age for a construction worker is late 30s or early 40s, you may fit in this category yourself. Research indicates that Millennials prefer to avoid phone conversations where possible. Many people in this generation say that they don’t answer calls unless they know the person who is calling. While this doesn’t apply to everybody necessarily, it does mean that you’re more likely to reach people in this generation by text or email.

Generation X
Generation X comprises people who are in their 40s up to their mid to late 50s. Given the rise of digital technology in the 1990s, you may notice an abrupt shift in preferences between younger generation X and older generation X. For example, people in their 40s may be equally adept at using text messages and email. They’re probably also happy to accept phone calls, but somewhat less likely than their older cohorts. By comparison, older members of generation X may be more comfortable with emails than text messages. As they head toward retirement, they may be unfamiliar with other types of communication or collaboration software.

Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are more likely to have the most traditional communication preferences of any age group you’re likely to encounter. This group ranges from their late 50s to their mid-70s. They grew up in a time when television was relatively new technology, to say nothing of computers and smartphones. They may own a smartphone, but they are much less likely to use it for functions beyond making phone calls and taking pictures. They would often prefer to receive a phone call than an email, although they can usually manage either. They may be able to send and receive text messages, but it would be wise to ask first.

Tips for Good Communication
Ultimately, the best businesses will ask clients about their communication preferences and then stick with it throughout the transaction. No one in any generation likes to be classified based on the highlights of their age group, especially when it’s used to mock them. You’ll find teenagers who love to make and receive phone calls, and baby boomers who love all the latest technology. Your best bet is to offer a variety of options, and make sure that you can operate within that framework.

Communication is one of the best soft skills you can develop for your business. If you find that you’re struggling to communicate with your clients, try a new method and you’ll usually notice an improvement. For more information about running a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

5 Benefits of Taking Practice Tests as Preparation for the Contractor Licensing Exam

You’ve spent years learning skills and weeks or months practicing the details. Now, it’s time to practice for the exam. The best way to ensure that you know what to expect from the contractor licensing exam is to take practice tests. This may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it’s actually one of the most useful tools you can use. Here are five reasons you can benefit from it.

Find Out What to Expect from the Real Exam
One of the biggest reasons that people struggle with taking exams is that they don’t know what to expect. No matter how much you can practice skills, hit the books and re-read your notes, there’s no replacement for knowing just what the exam is going to be like. This is even more important for people who haven’t taken multiple choice tests in a long time, as well as people who struggled with them when they were in high school or college. Having the opportunity to test it out in a stress-free format can make it easier for you to pay attention to what you see and to how the test goes.

Fill in Information Gaps
For a lot of people, taking a practice test is a way to find out what they don’t know as well as what they do. You may be an expert in certain parts of your field. But if the test doesn’t focus as much on those, you may have parts where you struggle to know what the best answer should be. While practice exams aren’t going to be exactly the same questions, they often cover the same subjects. Once you’ve taken one, you’ll have a concrete list of items that you need to study.

Address Issues with Testing
Everyone has quirks about the way that they take tests. If you don’t know what they are, they’re more likely to come up at the worst possible moment. For example, if you tend to gloss over the questions and just look at the answers, you’re more likely to choose the wrong one. It may be something as simple as getting tired halfway through the exam. Practicing with exams of the same length and for the same duration of time can make it easier to spot what’s likely to go wrong. If you can take it in a setting with similar seating and lighting, you’ll get even more information.

Learn to Pace Your Timing
Having a few hours to take an exam may make it seem like you don’t need to pace yourself. In fact, learning how to use your time wisely is an important benefit of practice exams. If you think you have all the time in the world, you might be tempted to get lost thinking about all the different aspects of the harder ones. But by the end, you could find yourself rushing to finish the last ones. By practicing with the same time limits, you get a sense for how long you need to devote to each question, and how much time you have to do it. This makes it easier to keep a steady pace that can avoid building tension over time.

Overcome Test Anxiety
Test anxiety tends to involve a variety of possible problems. For example, if you are unsure of what the test will be like, you may be worried that you haven’t studied enough or that you don’t know the right subjects. Having an opportunity to practice helps you to fill that in and know what you’re likely to see. You may also be anxious about taking a test because you need to perform on the fly. Being able to think quickly and come up with an answer is an important part of running a contracting business. The good news is that practice can make the unexpected into a common task that doesn’t bother you as much. You might have been afraid of driving at first, too. But after a while, it’s just something that you do.

Passing the test is one of the final steps you need to get your contractor license. To learn how CSLS can help you prepare, contact us today!