Monthly Archives: May 2022

Feeling Stuck? Here Are 5 Ways to Progress Toward Your Contracting Business Goals

If you’re like a lot of people, you set a long goal and find it really difficult to make progress toward it. For example, if you’ve been hoping to become a licensed contractor and start your own business, the finish line might feel thousands of miles away. The good news is that you can work toward your goal, even if you still have a ways to go. Here are five things you can do to start making progress today.

Look at the Licensing Requirements
In order to apply for a contractor license in the state of California, you have to meet a number of requirements. These include:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have the experience and skills necessary to perform in the class of license for which you want to apply
  • Able to prove that you have four years of experience
  • Pass relevant exams
  • Pay for a bond

For most people, the four years of experience requirement is the most complicated and time-consuming one. There are some exceptions, depending on your level of education and experience. If you’re considering relying on one of these exceptions, you should research the details and make sure that you have the correct documentation.

Start Saving Money
Although you may not need hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a business, any amount that you can save in advance can help. Businesses often have options for funding, such as grants or business loans. However, those types of financing are limited, and they may increase your overhead expenses. Do what you can to start putting away savings, even if it’s just a little here and there. The ability to cover a few early expenses, like the $15,000 bond and the cost of applying for a business license, could help set your business on stronger footing.

Research Your Options for Running a Business
When you start a business, you’ll need to think about what kind of business you intend to run. Many contractors act as sole proprietors or independent owners. It’s also not uncommon to have a partner or small team of contractors who all have a stake in the business. In any case, you’ll want to decide if you want to create an LLC or some type of corporation. There are benefits and disadvantages to any business structure, so you may need to consult with a financial expert to determine which one is the best choice for your goals.

Build More Experience
California state law says that you can’t operate as a contractor without having a license. To get one, you’ll have to build experience in the right capacity. Look at the requirements for experience and make sure that your job meets the criteria. If it starts to feel like the time is taking forever, break it down into smaller pieces. Every time you finish six months or a year, give yourself a small reward to celebrate your achievement. You’ll reach the end before you realize it.

Start Learning on the Side
Running a contracting business requires a surprising amount of knowledge, some of it in fields you might never have imagined. If you want to hit the ground running when you start your business, the time to start learning is now. You might have a day job that focuses on the skills that you will need to perform services for clients. At night and on the weekends, consider filling in your knowledge with other business-related tasks. For example, you might decide to improve your math skills or learn a few basic accounting tools. That way, you can do a better job managing your income and expenses.

Starting a contracting business is easier when you have the right preparation. For more information about our exam preparation courses, contact CSLS today!

How to Supplement Your Savings When Getting Ready to Start a Contracting Business

There’s no doubt that running a business costs a lot of money. While you may take advantage of loans or credit for your business, it’s also good to build up some savings before you start. Here are a few ways you can add to your savings so that you have more working capital when you open for business.

Cut Expenses
One of the best ways to increase the amount of money you have available for savings is to trim back your expenses. These days, you might be paying monthly for a lot of subscriptions that you don’t actually use. Make a list of them, and determine how much they are eating into your budget. It might be easy to cancel a few of them or consider a more comprehensive service that costs less than the total. Be wary of cutting back too much, though. Drastic changes to your budget can often backfire, causing you to panic and overspend. It’s better to make minor changes over a period of months, especially if you’re looking for long-term improvements.

Save a Little at a Time
Saving money to start a business might seem like something you need to do in a grand fashion. However, even saving a little can make a difference. Get in the habit of putting away a few dollars here and there. If you’re in the habit of paying cash for most things, set a jar on your nightstand for the spare change at the end of the day. When you pay bills, drop $10 or $20 into a savings account. It may not seem like much in the beginning, but it will accumulate over time. Once you start to see your savings grow, you may be more motivated to save larger amounts.

Make Savings Automatic
The best way to get in the habit of saving money is to not force yourself to create the habit in the first place. You may have most or all of your bills on an automatic payment schedule for a similar reason. That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting one of them and dealing with a late fee. When you get paid, set your account to do an automatic withdrawal into a savings account. You’ll get out of the habit of spending that money because it will already be gone. Then all you have to do is make changes to the savings as your income or spending flexibility increases.

Consider a Side Hustle
These days, almost everyone has a side hustle. A side hustle is something that you do beyond your day job that helps you bring in a little extra money. For some people, a side hustle is an occasional thing, something that they can do whenever they have extra time. For others, a side hustle might be a part-time job. In either case, think about ways that you can monetize skills and talents that you already have. For example, if you like doing art or making crafts, you might be able to sell your creations on a site like Etsy. Then you can set your profits aside for your future business.

Learn While You Earn
The best side hustles are those that allow you to earn money while providing you with additional benefits. If your day job isn’t in the construction industry, you might consider a side hustle that helps you build the knowledge and experience you need to qualify for a contractor license. The labor shortage in construction is serious, and people who are interested in joining an in-demand field might have more flexibility than you expect. Look for companies that are hiring entry-level workers in your chosen field, and reach out to a few of them. You might be able to secure a part-time or full-time job that helps you move toward your goal.

Saving for your future contracting business is one of the best decisions that you can make. Getting the right preparation before you take the contractor licensing exam is another. For more information, contact CSLS today!

5 Things to Consider When Changing Careers to Construction

Changing jobs is one thing. Changing to a whole new career is a different matter entirely. If you’ve been thinking about starting a career in construction, there are a few things you should consider. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you make a decision.

Education and Training Requirements
As you start to browse through the types of jobs that you may want to do, take a moment to evaluate the education and training requirements for each position. In most cases, you’ll start out at a lower level and work your way up, but it depends on the field and the current demand. Many careers in construction do not require a college degree, but some of them may be easier to secure if you have one. Others might require a specific license or a certain number of years of experience. Factor these into your plans, and consider creating a career goal that involves a progression if necessary.

Income Expectations Over Time
Before you can choose a job, you’ll need to know if you can make enough money to pay your expenses. While income is highly dependent on the type of job you have, it also relates to your location and other aspects of the field. Do some research into the average salary for various positions, and be sure to factor in years of experience. If you can, search in your target ZIP code or region to get more detailed information. It’s also a good idea to look at how the average pay for the job has changed over time, to get a sense for what you can expect in the future.

Paid Employment or Run a Business
Many people decide to go into construction because they want to be their own boss or run their own business. However, this isn’t necessarily a requirement. There are plenty of licensed contractors who have paid employment in a larger company. There are benefits to both approaches. By starting your own business, you get to have more influence over the type of work you do, as well as how and where you do it. Paid employment in a corporation may offer you more stability and benefits, without all the extra work of running the business as well. It’s possible that you may choose one, and switch to another over time. Just in case, you should scope out your options for both.

Long-Term Location Plans
Before you start making plans for your career and training, you need to make sure that you know where you plan to be in 5 to 10 years. Although most people tend to live their whole lives within close range of their hometown, this isn’t true for everyone. If you live in a rural part of California, you might long to move to somewhere with a higher population of prospective clients. Similarly, you might be dreaming of moving to a different state with unique options and a different climate. Both of these choices could dramatically change your career prospects and the steps you need to complete in order to get there. Make sure that you feel confident about your expectations before you commit.

Career Goals
When you’re evaluating a change in a field or industry, you’ll have to consider several things. It’s important to figure out what kind of job you can get in the beginning, but you don’t have to feel like you’re stuck there. Do some brainstorming about what you want your long-term career to look like, even up to the point that you are ready to retire. There may be a few steps that you need to achieve in the middle, and you’ll need to outline those. Determine whether your ambitions are realistic, or if you’ll need to make additional plans to stretch your skills and experience to meet them.

Changing your career to construction is a big deal, but it may be one of the best decisions you ever make. To get started on your career path, contact CSLS today!

Are Zoom Towns the Future of Residential Construction?

At the beginning of the pandemic, millions of people rushed to small towns as a way to get away from large crowds and metropolitan-level restrictions. Now that the country is reaching a new normal, experts aren’t sure if that is going to change. There’s been a huge increase in population in so-called “Zoom towns”–less-populated regions with a labor force focused on remote work. Here are a few things to know about Zoom towns, and how they might affect residential construction.

What Are Zoom Towns?
For centuries, people have been talking about the flight of rural populations into major metropolitan areas. As the country’s production shifted away from the industry, a lot of the factories and manufacturing facilities went with it. People who lived in small rural towns watched as much of the population fled to the cities for better jobs.

But the pandemic changed this dynamic. In fact, experts estimate that as many as 5 million people left major cities in 2020, looking for places where they could spread out. With many of the country’s businesses providing options for remote work, there wasn’t much reason for people to stay in areas with a high cost of living. Especially if they could live somewhere cheaper and collaborate over zoom. A handful of smaller cities have had a significant increase in population as a result.

Why Are People Relocating?
There are a variety of reasons that people might choose to relocate to a smaller city, including:

  • Less traffic
  • Cheaper real estate
  • Larger homes

With the explosion of the real estate market in 2020, the cost of housing is a big deal for a lot of people. Living in a large metropolitan area is often the best opportunity the people have to earn a higher income. But those big cities often have big rent or real estate prices to go along with it. People who had the option to relocate to a city with a lower cost of living while keeping their high-paying city jobs saw a big difference.

How Do Zoom Towns Affect Real Estate Markets?
It’s not surprising that tens of thousands of people relocating to a small city increases the housing prices there. Suburban America has had decades to get used to the idea of bedroom communities–places with cheaper real estate close to a large city. Zoom towns are similar, but proximity isn’t as big of a concern. People aren’t as worried about time spent on the commute if they can work remotely. As such, they are more willing to pay higher prices that they can support by keeping the same income. In the zoom towns, the cost of housing is consistently going up.

Are Zoom Towns Sustainable?
Many experts think that the pandemic has revolutionized the way the people think about working in a traditional office, but it hasn’t got rid of the idea entirely. A lot of businesses still see benefit in having employees located nearby, even if they aren’t necessarily expecting everyone to spend all of their work time at the office. And ultimately, the people who move to smaller cities for cheaper housing may ultimately miss living in a major metropolitan area. Although experts aren’t anticipating the kind of drop seen as part of the housing crisis as some people move back to the bigger cities, growth in zoom towns is likely to slow down.

What Does This Mean for Construction?
People who work in construction have had to learn that they can’t just follow the latest trend, if they want to have a viable business model. Anyone who watched the housing bubble reach the pinnacle and pop should understand the risk of thinking that you can’t lose. Otherwise, if the pandemic leads to a moderate shift in the way the population spreads out over an area, construction businesses can be flexible to work with it.

The pandemic has changed the way people conceive of where they want to live, and construction may have to change with it. To learn more about what you’ll need to run a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

Is 2022 a Good Year to Start a Residential Construction Business?

These days, it’s hard to know which part of the construction industry has the most demand. The drive to build is strong, but there are a few obstacles that you should know about, as well. If you’re thinking about getting into residential construction for your contracting business, you’re in good company. Here are a few reasons to consider it for the future.

In the next few years, the sky is the limit for people who want to get started in construction. The idea of pandemic closures of entire industries is fading into the past. Additionally, investors are recognizing the importance of residential housing, and they are putting billions of dollars into it. With the decade-long labor shortage in construction, there’s a lot of availability for people who are ready to start a business and help to increase the pool of available housing in the state.

Supply Chain
There’s no doubt that the supply chain has taken the construction industry on a roller-coaster over the last couple of years. If you’ve been paying attention to it, you’ve probably noticed the cost of common materials like lumber or steel rise dramatically, only to plummet a few months later. The good news is that most of the supply chain problems that were common early in the pandemic have significantly improved. You might have to have a little more protection built into your contracts, and you may need to come up with more than one supplier for the most common materials. But otherwise, you’ve got a lot of options to make it work.

Consistent demand is a major feature of the residential construction industry at present. Millions of people in California need homes, and there simply aren’t enough existing homes to accommodate them. This is a problem that the state government was trying to address five years ago, with only some improvement since then. Although demand might shift from one area to another, depending on a few different factors, the push for new housing will probably continue several years into the future. So if you’re looking for opportunities to get your business established in residential construction, now could be a very good time.

Right now, residential construction may offer a degree of flexibility that commercial or industrial construction can’t. Experts say that there is a big change happening in the way that businesses conceive of commercial and office spaces. While there are several pandemic-related changes happening to residential construction as well, they’re not causing unpredictable levels of demand. By starting in residential construction, you may have more options to determine where you want to establish your business.

How to Get Started
Of course, in order to start a contracting business in 2022, you need the right qualifications. If you have been thinking about applying for your contractor license, now is a great time to make progress toward your goal. Being a licensed contractor isn’t just something that you must do in order to run a legal business in California. It’s also a great way to establish your credibility and prove to prospective clients that you know what you’re doing. CSLS offers a variety of expert exam preparation courses that are tailored to each exam.

This year might be one of the best times to start a business in residential construction. To learn more about what you’ll need to get started, contact CSLS today!


5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Contracting Business

Spring is a time of renewal for a lot of people, which often involves some cleaning. Although you might use this time to air out your home and get ready for warm weather, your business could also use a little clearing out. Here are five tips to help you use the spring to get ready for the summer busy season.

Detail Your Vehicle
If you’re like a lot of contractors, you practically run your business out of your construction vehicle. You may spend much of your time driving to client sites. This means that your business vehicle acts as a face for your business, or a kind of advertising. Not unlike a billboard, you want your vehicle to look its best. Arrange for a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Schedule service and check the condition of the tires. If the vehicle needs a few cosmetic repairs for chips and dents, now is a good time to do it. That way, when you arrive to meet with a client, you can provide a professional look from the beginning.

Service Your Equipment
For the construction equipment that you own, you need to have a plan to service it regularly. One of the problems that business owners face is finding time to take care of their assets. But if you don’t, you may find that your equipment breaks down or wears out long before the end of its natural lifespan. Before the start of the busy season, invest some time into having your equipment serviced. For small tools, it might be enough just to inspect them and test them out yourself. If they are showing signs of damage, you’ll have the opportunity to get them fixed or replace them.

Organize Your Files
Keeping your files organized is one of the most important things that you can do when you run a business. This is true even if you keep a paperless office and rely mostly on electronic or scanned documents. Take a moment to go through your files, and make sure that everything is in order. If you had a few months when your attention to filing was a little more lax than you’d like, now is the time to come up with a system that works for you. Remember that this isn’t necessarily a task that you have to do personally. Many business owners hire an assistant to help keep track of files that might get lost otherwise.

Train Your Employees
If you’ve got a bit of downtime, you should give your employees an opportunity to take some training. When finances allow, going to a construction conference is a great way to learn more about new technology or innovations that can help you run your business more efficiently. Even if you don’t have employees yet, you should use the spring as an opportunity to see what’s new and expand your horizons. If nothing else, take the time to refresh your training on first aid and other safety concerns. You’ll recoup your investment with fewer accidents and lost time on the job.

Contact Past Clients
If you work in a field that relies on a predictable clientele, you should plan to reach out to them. Clients tend to forget about contractors when they aren’t in desperate need of a particular service. It’s good to remind them that you exist. If you’re thinking about offering a referral program, now is a good time to let your satisfied clients know about it. And if you are in the process of expanding your services, you can inform them so that they can decide if there is something that you can do for them this year.

If you want to have a good busy season this year, your contracting business will need to prepare. These tips can help. For more information about running a contracting business, visit CSLS today!