Monthly Archives: April 2021

Does Your Contracting Business Need an Office Manager?

When you run a contracting business, you’ll spend a lot of your time completing projects for clients. Unfortunately, that isn’t all you need to keep your business going. If you’re not able to spend enough time on office tasks, the flow for your business could come crashing to a halt. Here are a few ways you can tell that you need some administrative support.

Your Business Is Expanding
In the beginning, there may not be all that much to coordinate for your contracting business. After a year or two, or sooner if you’re in a field affected by the labor shortage, you may want to expand. Expanding your business increases opportunities, but it also makes your business more complicated. As you grow, you may need to hire more employees. A dedicated team of professionals could have coordinated schedules and other administrative tasks that take away from your time available to work on projects. At this point, most businesses need to consider hiring someone who can manage the day-to-day functions.

You Need to Coordinate Multiple Projects
If you only work on one project at a time, it may be relatively easy to plan your schedule. On the other hand, many contractors need to book out at least a little bit to keep their business is running. After all, some projects take a few hours, while others may take several weeks. If you are lining up multiple projects, you need to make sure that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, your employees, or your equipment. The last thing that you need is to double-book on two important jobs and end up having to choose one. Instead, having someone coordinate your schedule frees up more of your time for work, while ensuring that each project gets appropriate attention.

Your Response Times Are Lagging
When you run a business, you’ll spend time preparing to do work and doing productive work. While you’re working, you want to be able to focus on the project-related tasks at hand. Unfortunately, having a busy contracting business makes it harder to be available to answer phone calls or respond to customers. Over time, lagging response times may translate into fewer leads and a decrease in available projects. Obviously, it’s a problem you should try to prevent. If you notice that you are taking more than a day or two to get back to people, you may need someone who can handle that correspondence on your behalf.

You’re Forgetting Administrative Tasks
Before you start a business, you may wonder how anybody could possibly forget to complete regular tasks like sending invoices or paying the bills. Then you start a business, and it all begins to make sense. After a long shift on the job site, the last thing on your mind is more work extending into the evening hours. And yet, those administrative tasks are absolutely crucial to keeping your business functioning. If you are late in sending invoices to clients, you may have to wait longer for payment. That can throw your cash flow into chaos, making it harder for you to order supplies or handle expenses. If this becomes a problem, you should plan to solve it as quickly as possible.

You Need Someone to Coordinate Services
There may come a time in your business where you no longer have to perform all the work yourself, but you’re not yet at the point of hiring a dedicated staff. In this case, you might rely on outsourced services for things like payroll or marketing. But even if you have other companies that you pay to handle these aspects of your business, you still have to make sure that the work continues to meet your expectations. This means that you will need to be available to periodically check up on them, and communicate with them as necessary. Hiring someone to coordinate the services for you can give you one point of contact for updates while removing those responsibilities from your daily list.

Running a business involves a variety of jobs that you can’t always complete on your own. Bringing someone onto your team can help take the load off. To learn more about starting your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

5 Business Skills You’ll Need to Run a Contracting Business

In order to run a business, you need a balance of business skills. You don’t necessarily have to go to college to get a degree, but your business is more likely to survive if you aren’t starting the process at the entry-level. Here are five skills you can start developing now to help ensure that you’re ready to begin strong.

Simple Budget Management
You don’t need financial expertise to be a successful business owner, but you do need to master the basics. In the early years, you may rely a lot on your own ability to:

  • Set a budget
  • Track income and expenses
  • Balance a budget
  • Plan spending to maintain cash flow

Accountants can be expensive. And while you’ll probably need to hire one on occasion for some tasks, you may be left to do several aspects of financial management on your own. Try it out with your own finances, so that you can test your skills before your business goes live.

Business Communication
Learning how to communicate with your future colleagues and prospective clients is an important aspect of running a business. The tricky part involves understanding the best way to communicate as a part of your field. Every industry has its own preferences, but it’s reasonable to start researching how to:

  • Bid on projects
  • Respond to business inquiries
  • Send invoices
  • Provide updates to business or residential clients

If you tend to rely a lot on spelling and grammar checkers to find typos and other problems in your writing, consider using a free or paid service that evaluates your writing first. Create a few templates that you can use regularly so that you only have to change names and relevant details.

Basic Technology
In a connected world, people tend to assume that they already know all the technology that they will ever need to use. And while this may be true for a lot of people, it isn’t always the case. Research the standards in your chosen field. Look up software options and test out ones that are free or low-cost to use. If you aren’t accustomed to working with spreadsheets or PDFs, now‘s a good time to start. This investment gives you an opportunity to figure out how it will work for you well in advance of needing to use it in relation to projects.

Research
If you ever wanted to know when you would need all the research practice you got in high school, running a business is a good example. Before you can even start your business, you should probably write a business plan. And for that, you’re going to need to do tons of research:

  • How to open a business in your area
  • Who your competition is, and what they charge for services
  • Target customers’ preferences

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend ages at the local library hunting down periodicals. Most of what you need may be readily available through an online search, assuming that you know how to do it. Practice using different combinations of keywords to find what you need, and get more comfortable with Boolean search techniques. This work makes it easier to learn without wasting your time clicking on useless links.

Project Management
In order to run a business wherein you complete regular projects, you’ll need to pick up some skills in project management. It’s not enough to know your own role in the task and be able to fill it. As a business owner, you may need to manage several people completing different aspects and ensure that the final result meets specifications. Pick something that you’d like to do around your home or a friend’s home. Make a list of every aspect that you have to manage over the course of that project. Create detailed plans to handle each one. Once the project is done, make a few notes on what worked and what didn’t. That way, you can increase your likelihood of success in the next round.

Starting a business may take years of preparation, and these skills can help. For more assistance about what you need to open a contracting business, visit CSLS today!

Want to Start a Contracting Business? Make a Five-Year Plan

Going from your first day in construction to starting your own contracting business takes at least a few years. You’ll spend some time on the job learning skills, more time refining your knowledge and choosing the right field for you, and the last bit getting ready to launch your own business. Here are a few things to consider as you make a five-year plan.

Evaluate Future Job Growth
To start out, you’ll want to pick a field that has growth potential that can sustain you for the length of your career plans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps data on the anticipated job growth for most industries and specific jobs within the construction industry. This means that you can do a little research to see where the jobs that you’re interested in doing are likely to go within the next 5 to 10 years. You’ll need to have this information to determine what your competition will be like and how much demand there will be for your services.

Select Ideal Working Locations
As you’re starting to browse through the careers you could have within your chosen fields, you’ll want to select locations that will be the most likely to meet your needs. As a licensed contractor, you will be able to work within the state where you get your license. This means that if you’re planning on moving out-of-state, you may need to consider how getting a license in that state will affect your plans. If you’re planning to stay in California, the good news is that you’ve got a lot of options, from the most rural to extremely urban.

Research On-the-Job and Educational Opportunities
Many people get their start in construction by working under a licensed contractor. You don’t necessarily need to take an educational route, but that’s also an option. Some fields have lengthy apprenticeship programs that you might apply for. Selected candidates can receive an income while they get a thorough, high-quality education within the field. These types of experiences can qualify for at least some of the experience you need in order to take the contractor licensing exam. Research what’s available to you in the area, and don’t hesitate to aim high. You don’t know what you may be able to achieve until you try.

Explore Different Fields
If you’re brand-new to construction, the choices you would make might be quite different then they would be for someone who’s been working in construction for several years. In either case, it’s important to explore different fields and careers you can have within those fields. Research what you can expect from various jobs, including:

  • Income
  • Demand
  • Work environment
  • Clientele

This will help you to make a choice you’re more likely to be content with by the time you get your license.

Keep Learning as You Grow
For most people, becoming a licensed contractor is a step they take on a career path that will continue to change for decades. This means that once you get started, you’ll keep adding onto your knowledge and experience. That can make you a better business owner and someone who is more likely to be able to meet the changing needs of clients in the future. Taking an ambitious, positive attitude about career development is an excellent way to start.

If you’re just starting out on your construction career path, you’ve got a few years to ensure that you do it right. To find out the benefits of becoming a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

How Does California’s New Wildfire Prevention Plan Affect Your Contracting Business?

In early April, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $500+ million spending plan to help prevent damage from wildfires in California. Many aspects of the plan relate to building new construction and retrofitting existing buildings to minimize wildfire spread. Some experts believe it is necessary, while others worry that it could negatively affect the construction industry. Here are a few things you should know, so you can see how the plan may affect your contracting business.

Fire-Resistant Building Materials
One of the chief components of the new plan, as it relates to the construction industry, is the use of fire-resistant building materials. This change may seem fairly obvious, as something that is less likely to catch fire will also be less likely to spread it. However, fire-resistant building materials also change building practices and the costs involved with the project, according to industry experts. If your contracting business is obligated to use steel or concrete instead of lumber for building, your estimates will change. In many cases, they could go up significantly. On the other hand, many of these practices are already in use in certain parts of the state. For example, many regions require new construction to include fire-resistant features like fiber cement siding or fire suppression sprinkler systems

Fire Safety Standards for Development

Limits on development may create complications for the construction industry as a whole. The governor’s plan includes requirements on developments at the edge of cities and suburbs. These are the areas that are closest to wildlife and vegetation, and more likely to be first burned during a wildfire. The plan indicates that these developments must include a fire break, which creates a specific distance that builders must maintain between a development and surrounding vegetation. Opponents of the plan say that these regions are already the heaviest focus for development in California at present. With these limitations, it may be harder to get approval for new construction, which is desperately needed in the state. Of course, these limits would be much less likely to affect construction in urban areas.

Home Hardening Retrofits
Setting rules for new construction is an effective way for the state to minimize the risk of wildfire damage, but it is not sufficient. There are millions of homes in the state that may not have the protections necessary to minimize a wildfire. For example, older homes often use inflammable materials as part of construction. Roofing or siding made out of wood has accounted for significant damage from California wildfires in the last 20 years. Newsom‘s plan includes funding to promote what experts call “home hardening” retrofits. Home hardening is a process wherein a professional inspects a home and identifies several upgrades that could decrease the likelihood of burning, such as:

  • Installing fire-resistant roofing and siding
  • Upgrading to multi-paned windows or tempered glass
  • Installing fire rated doors
  • Building decks with fire-resistant materials and minimizing fire-prone décor

A complete retrofit may not necessarily set an existing home on the same level as new construction, but it could make a big difference. Contracting businesses that focus on safety retrofits may be able to find a steady source of projects as part of the plan.

How Your Contracting Business Can Plan for Change
Changing the way that an industry works in order to prevent environmental disasters is usually going to spark controversy. And regardless of the side you choose, your contracting business is likely to be affected by it. It’s worth considering whether you might change course or look for opportunities that come as a result. In either case, you may want to:

  • Update your experience working with fire-resistant building materials
  • Research common retrofits that you might be able to offer during renovations
  • Stay current on the latest building guidelines, particularly as they relate to your region

That way, you can see where the industry is headed and ensure that your business is ready to meet it.

Maintaining a contracting business in an area that’s prone to wildfires takes creativity and innovation. For more information about how you can take advantage of the latest knowledge available in the construction industry, contact CSLS today!

Are Smartwatches a Good Idea for Your Contracting Business?

 

 

 

 

 

As a business owner, you’re probably accustomed to using smartphones for communication and research on the job site. But what about smartwatches? These devices are smaller, handy and attached to you at all times. Here are a few ways to determine if adding smartwatches is a good idea for your contracting business.

Is Your Smartphone Accessible During Work Hours?
Before you make another device purchase, it’s worth considering how you use the ones you already have. If you’re like most people, you and your employees have a smartphone. You might use it to pull up information about a project that you’re working on, communicate with other people on your team, or let clients know about your timing. If your smartphone is easily accessible while you’re working, you might not need to add another device. However, if you’re constantly finding that you missed a call or an important reminder because your phone isn’t where are you can easily get to it, a smartwatch might be a worthwhile investment.

What Do You Need to Do With the Smartwatch?
There is a pretty wide range of smartwatches on the market. The right one for you depends on the tasks that you need to do with it. On the lower end, some offer little more than telling you the time or covering distance. They may be rugged and built for heavy use, but they might be more practical for hikers than the construction site. On the other end, smartwatches may be able to meet most of the functions you get from a smartphone, such as:

  • Tracking calendars
  • Communicating with clients via phone, text or email
  • Looking at construction plans

Keep in mind that the most capable smartwatches may have a variety of features that seem interesting but that you don’t need. If you’re going to buy one in particular, make sure that it can do everything that you are most likely to use it for.

How Would You Use a Smartwatch During Regular Tasks?
Using a smartwatch is supposed to be a lot easier than working with a smartphone, especially if your hands are busy when you get an important phone call. It’s worth testing out different options to see how they would work while you are engaged in particular tasks. For example, if you want to be able to receive reminders so that you don’t miss an important meeting, a smartwatch connected to headphones may be quite useful. If you wouldn’t be able to hear someone talking due to the noise from the equipment, then you might not be able to take phone calls with it. Don’t forget that the clothing and protective gear you wear may affect how you interact with a smartwatch. You might need to purchase gloves that will allow you to operate the watch while wearing them.

Do You Need to Sync the Smartwatch with a Particular System?
As you’re looking at all the tools that smartwatches can give you, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment or system to make them work. Some watches will work with either iOS or android. That gives you a lot of flexibility, especially if you’re considering the same watch for multiple people. Others require you to sync them with a particular smartphone in order to access those features and services. If you’re just buying for yourself, it could be easier to make a choice. If you’re considering them for your company and team, you might want to call for some collaboration, so that you get an option that everyone can use.

Smartwatches are just one tool that contracting business owners used to keep every aspect of their business is running. To find out more of what it takes to become a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

 

Who Should You Hire for Your Contracting Business Team?

Your contracting business might just be you at first, but you should plan to change that over time. After all, if it’s just you, then you have no one else to help you shoulder the load of running all aspects of the business. You don’t need to hire a huge staff, but a few specific hires could be a big help. Here are five roles that you may want to consider hiring for your contracting business.

Project Manager/Team Lead
Working in construction often involves wearing multiple hats for different roles, and this is how a lot of businesses can end up in trouble. If you are trying to work on multiple projects at the same time, there’s a chance that you may accidentally overbook yourself or your equipment. A project manager can oversee all the people working on the project, as well as equipment that you need to buy or rent and supplies for the job. If you don’t have the ability to have a dedicated project manager, even designating an employee as a team lead with appropriate responsibilities can help to ensure that the project finishes with fewer problems.

Office Manager
There are tons of administrative tasks that you need to do in order to run your business. Without them, you may not be getting paid, paying your bills, ordering supplies or responding to clients. An office manager has the ability to ensure that all of these administrative tasks get done, even if you are outsourcing certain services like marketing or accounting. They can also serve as a point of contact for these services so that if there are questions or concerns, you are not interrupted in the middle of your project.

Accountant/Bookkeeper
Making sure that you are up-to-date on your expenses and taxes is crucial. Without it, your business may come crashing to a halt. There are a variety of different services that you may need in this area, including:

  • Invoicing
  • Accounts payable
  • Payroll
  • Year-end reconciliation
  • Tax preparation and filing

There’s a lot of software out there that you can take advantage of to help you keep your cash flow under control. For some of these tasks, you’re going to need someone who is trained and has the appropriate expertise. The good news is that by making an investment here, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress trying to figure it out on your own.

Marketing Manager
In order for you to get clients on a regular basis, customers have to know that you exist. And while word-of-mouth is a practical tool in many construction industries, it may not be sufficient. Marketing is the way that you promote your services and ensure that you have a steady stream of possible leads. Sales provides qualified people who can answer questions for potential customers and explain how your company beats the competition. This is another field that requires expertise, so it’s worth hiring someone to make sure that you can get it right and keep up with the latest trends.

Labor Support
Once you have at least a small team of employees, you need someone who can support them. Otherwise, you’re on the hook to answer phone calls or respond to text messages when people have to call in sick or have questions about their paychecks. Being responsible for all of your employees can take away from the time that you need to work on projects. Hiring a human resources manager or even someone who is dedicated to labor support can save time and ensure that your employees get the answers and assistance that they need.

Running a business sure involves a lot of roles. If you feel the most important ones, you’ll have more time to focus on a great finish for each project. To start on the path of becoming a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

How to Say No to Prospective Clients for Your Contracting Business

Although landing a client and a new project is a great thing, sometimes it just isn’t going to work. There will be points where you’re too busy to take on the job within the time specified. There will also be clients proposing opportunities that just aren’t the right fit for your contracting business. Learning how to decline these projects is a skill, and it can be difficult to do at first. Here are a few ideas.

Decide If It’s No, or Just Not Right Now
The first thing you should do is qualify the nature of your answer. In some cases, a project simply won’t work for your contracting business. These opportunities could cost you money if you try to make them fit, so it is easier to simply decline. In other cases, the projects may be appropriate under different terms. It’s important to confirm that you know where you’re going with your answer before you give it. That way, if you want to leave the door open to negotiation, you can save the opportunity for a later date. There’s no guarantee that you will be able to secure different terms with the same client, but it may be worth asking.

Decline at a Good Time
As with other types of business communications, there are better times to make tough decisions, and there are worse times. The last thing that you want to do is decline an offer when you are feeling tired, overworked or frustrated. Saying no during a bad moment may make you come off more negatively than you expected. If it’s an existing client or colleague that you’d like to continue working with, you should hold off until you have an opportunity to think clearly and communicate professionally. It’s not necessary to wait days for the chance to decline a project. However, making sure that you’re in the right headspace will help you protect those professional ties.

Be Clear About Why You’re Declining
When you know that you’re going to say no, the best thing that you can do is make it clear and simple to understand. If you are rejecting the offer because you don’t want to work with the client, it’s more practical to say that your business isn’t a good fit for their needs. This sends a clear message to the client that you are unlikely to accept future work from them. On the other hand, if you’re declining because the rate is too low or the timing doesn’t work for you, you can outline these in your rejection. This can give the client the opportunity to change their offer, in the hopes that they can secure your services.

Aim for a Professional Tone
Part of running a contracting business involves learning how to maintain professional communication, even when the news you have to share isn’t good. Clients may take your rejection with grace, or they may react to it with anger. In some cases, their reaction will confirm for you that it was a wise decision not to accept the work. And yet, it’s better not to descend to their level, especially if they start showing obvious signs of frustration. Such behavior rarely leads to good things for your business. Avoid saying anything you wouldn’t want one of your mentors to read aloud to you.

Know When to Continue Negotiation
Although some clients may get irritated when you tell them that you can’t take on the project, others will react by trying to negotiate. Negotiation is another skill that can help support your business, but you need to know the right time to engage in it. If you’ve decided that you are not going to take on the project no matter what the client offers, there’s little point in negotiation. All it would do in that case is waste your time. But if the project is appropriate and interesting to you, negotiating might be the key to getting the terms to a level that you would accept.

When you run a contracting business, learning how to say no is just as important as saying yes. To get started building your construction career, contact CSLS today!

How to Get the Most from Your Contracting Business Workspace

If you’re like a lot of contractors right now, you’re trying to figure out ways to make the best of a workspace that’s not the jobsite. But even when you have more freedom to move around, you still need to think about using space efficiently. Here are a few ways you can evaluate your workspace and make it more productive.

Create Stations
An inefficient workspace is going to cost you hours in wasted time per week. To cut down on time spent moving from one side of the workspace to the other, create a set of stations for each task. You may not have a large warehouse where every project has its own spot. Still, taking the opportunity to organize your equipment based on the task makes it easier to get started, do the work and finish up for the day. Don’t forget to include a station for handling mail, invoicing and a place to keep your laptop and printer.

Plan Layout by Project
Having a set series of stations makes sense if you do very similar types of projects over and over again. If the services you offer are quite varied, you may need to take a flexible approach to structuring your workspace. In this case, you might want to plan the layout of the work area based on the needs of the particular project. Draw out a rough layout for each so you can repeat it later. If you are running more than one at the same time, you may have to split it in half or thirds. You’ll want to use organizational tools that are easy to move around, so that you can adjust it on the fly to create more space or design a different set of workstations.

Consider Adjustable Carts
In the middle of a crisis when most people are trying to maximize their home workspaces, you may not have a lot of room to move. If you are trying to do modular construction in a small workspace or garage, you may not have the ability to move from one station to another. In this instance, you want to make the stations come to you. Portable carts come in a variety of sizes, with the ability to customize them to hold tools and materials. Leaving room on one wall for a number of carts allows you to quickly pull one in for use, and then put it back when you’re ready to grab another one.

Organize Inventory Based on Use
If you’re like a lot of people, you organize inventory and equipment based on the way you think you should, not necessarily the way that you actually use it. For example, it may seem to make sense to keep all of your supplies in one place. But if you find yourself having to walk away from the workspace constantly to grab your supplies, you’ll waste time with this organizational setup. Instead, think about organizing your inventory and supplies based on the project. It may increase the time that you spend counting what you have left, but you’ll more than make up for it by having everything you need right where you need it.

Reduce Excess Clutter
In a small workspace, there is simply no replacement for a regular clutter management strategy. If you’re the type of person who prefers to clean up after you’re done with the project, this can lead to a lot of debris and waste in the corners. Over time, this can minimize the size of your workspace and increase the likelihood of injury. The best solution is to find organizational tools for papers that you need, and adequately-sized waste receptacles for packaging and buy products that you want to recycle or throw away. Keeping excess away from your workspace also minimizes visual clutter, which can make it easier for you to get work done.

Working from home or in another small space requires you to maximize efficiency so you can keep completing projects. These tips smooth out the rough edges. To get started building a great career in construction, contact CSLS today!

5 Ways to Build Flexibility into Your Contracting Business Income During a Crisis

When you’re trying to establish or run a business in the middle of a crisis, you’ll hear a lot about protecting cash flow. In truth, cash flow is important, but flexibility is too. You want the ability to make decisions just in time, so you have the benefit of as many facts as possible. Here are five things to do to protect your business’s income during a crisis.

Stay Put
If you’re living or working in an area where the cost of living is high, it might seem to make sense to move somewhere that is cheaper. After all, housing and workspace rentals can be some of the highest single expenses for independent contractors. However, by moving, you’re cutting off at least part of your income and adding a ton of immediate expenses to the list. Moving to a smaller or cheaper area also limits the number of clients to replace your income. If it is possible for you to remain where you are and stay current on your bills, that’s probably the easiest way to keep more of your liquid assets.

Avoid Diving Into Expensive Markets and Luxury Services
If you were planning to move to an area that’s more expensive or start offering high-end services, it might be a good time to rethink these measures. While a lot of people will move from a lower cost-of-living area to a higher one because there are more jobs there, this doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to land them. During a crisis, when there are many more contractors seeking work than clients creating projects, it’s best to stick with the essentials. And in most cases, that involves sticking with the area you know and the work you can do with the least amount of complication.

Consider Multiple Viable Income Streams
When the immediate future feels highly variable, it is hard to tell how work is going to pan out in three months, six months or a year. If you’re only offering one service and it’s not in demand, or you suddenly have tons of other contractors to compete with for a limited set of jobs, it might be time to branch out. An economic downturn isn’t a good situation to leap into a market in which you have limited experience or ability. However, if you have services that you know how to do and you’ve already got the skills and credibility, it may not be difficult to add them to your business. Keep an eye on overhead and the supply chain, as those might have changed since you did these services before.

Keep Funds in Multiple Places
As a contractor, most of your assets are probably related to equipment and inventory. When you’re worried about future income and cash flow, you want to keep an eye on where you’re putting your money right now. Sure, you need to upgrade equipment so you can keep working on projects. Switching to rentals, minimizing your stock of inventory, or repairing equipment that you already own outright can help to keep your assets as liquid as possible.

Implement Practices to Maintain a Steady Income
Crises that trigger large-scale economic problems often bring out the scavengers, and you don’t want to get caught in a bad arrangement. It’s tempting to relax your payment intervals in the hopes that you’ll land more clients that way. And while giving clients all the time they need to make a payment is more likely to appeal to clients, you’re not always securing the right kinds of clients. Someone who is trying to take advantage of your worry to get a lax payment standard is probably going to make you fight for every dime. Following your original billing practices is the best way to ensure that the money keeps coming in.

Ensuring flexibility for your business doesn’t mean that you have to be flexible in your business decisions. In fact, it might mean that you’re less flexible than you were before, so that you protect your ability to make quick decisions later on. For more information on building a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

Is Construction’s Labor Shortage Getting Worse for 2021?

For a couple of years, construction experts predicted that construction would reach a peak in 2019 and then trend slightly downward. Of course, that is not quite what happened. In the wake of the pandemic, as the world is starting to come back to a new normal, construction is surging. Yet, the labor force is not sufficient to meet it. Here are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you’re thinking about starting a career in construction this year.

The Labor Shortage Depends on the Field
In an industry as large as construction, which employs almost 8 million people nationwide, quantifying the labor shortage is complicated. Experts estimate that the shortage approaches 500,000 workers at this point, and could reach 1 million by the end of the year. But you’ll notice differences depending on the region and the type of construction, as well as the individual fields. For example, interest in new construction for residences expanded last year beyond what experts were expecting. This means that construction companies building homes had more demand than commercial construction.

Skill Development Is a Necessity
It’s tempting to think that if there is such a labor shortage in construction, all you need to do is show up. And while it is extremely important that people make the decision to pursue work in the industry, skill development is also a necessity. After all, when all those electricians and engineers from previous generations decide to retire, those positions will become open for people who are coming in with the right training. Certain fields are badly in need of candidates who are willing to put in the time necessary to pick up the expertise.

Experience Is Key
Of course, in order to take advantage of the flood of new construction jobs, you need to build the right kind of experience. If you want to take the contractor licensing exam, you usually need to prove that you have about four years of experience in the field. College degrees may be able to cover a portion of that, as well as additional training. But the good news is that everybody else getting in on the ground floor is going to face the same obligations. The sooner you start, the sooner you can build the qualifications necessary to get your license.

You’ve Got Room to Grow
When you have a growing industry like construction, you should know that the labor shortage often exists vertically and not just at the entry-level. This means that if you are interested in upward mobility, there may be roles that you could get as you build experience and credibility. If you’re looking for a career that allows you to move upward into construction management or executive positions at large construction companies, now may be an ideal time to start showing what you can do.

Now’s the Time to Get Started
The flow of the construction industry can be cyclical at times. People will move into the fields that are the most in-demand. Otherwise, the industry will shrink somewhat without them. There will always be a need for construction, but the number of people in the industry goes up and down with that demand. Right now, you have an excellent opportunity to enter the field just as businesses are desperate to hire people who have the right skills and dedication. This means that you might be able to secure a reliable job and build the foundation for a great career you could have until you retire.

The construction labor shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, and it might even be getting worse. With a contractor license and the right kind of exam preparation from CSLS, you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime. For more information, contact us today!