Author Archives: makemeacontractor

About makemeacontractor

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.

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!

How to Stay Warm on the Construction Site

Working outside can be a great benefit for construction, except when the weather is bad. During the winter, it’s important to stay warm for your health and to help minimize the risk of injuries. With these tips, you will know the best ways to stay warm in most kinds of winter weather.

Watch the Forecast
Certain parts of California have a relatively predictable climate and a forecast that changes little from one season to the next. In other parts of the state, you can switch from cold to baking hot within the course of a few hours, particularly if you’re at a higher altitude. This change underscores the importance of watching the forecast as a way of planning out your workweek. If you can see heavy rains or snow upcoming, then you know that you’ll need to prepare to be colder. And since some of these storms can accompany other problems like mudslides, blocked roads or ice, you can prepare for those too.

Use Layers
When you were a kid, you probably had a parent or grandparent remind you to wear layers when you went outside. You may not have paid much attention to it as a kid, but it’s really important now. If you rely on a single heavy coat or coveralls to keep you warm in winter weather, you’re going to be playing a game of temperature control all day long. This exchange doesn’t do much for your productivity and can wear you out faster. Instead, wear multiple layers that you can add or take off when needed, including:

  • Long underclothing
  • Insulating layers
  • Outer layers with rain and snow resistance

And don’t forget to use layers for your head, hands and feet. A hat and gloves may not be sufficient.

Add Heat Safely
There are lots of ways to add heat to an outdoor or indoor space. You just have to make sure that the ones you choose are appropriate to the task and safe for the environment. For example, a propane-based heater may be a relatively effective way to provide additional heat outside. Inside, it’s a carbon monoxide nightmare. You also need to confirm that you’re not doing any work around it that could cause ignition. Indoor space heaters that run on electricity may be an alternative, but they are also a common cause of structure fires. Even the single-use heat packs that skiers use might be sufficient, but you have to be careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Take Breaks Indoors
If you’re doing a lot of work outdoors or in another space that is particularly cold, make sure that you have a warmer place to go to for lunch and other breaks. Even a single room with a heat source that you can turn on when you arrive and turn off when you leave could help you maintain a more constant body temperature. Many people use their cars as an additional method of heat generation, but you may come up against idling laws if you do. Try to scope out a few options near the jobsite as an alternative.

Change Tasks Regularly
One thing you need to know about working in cold weather is that it can aggravate some of the symptoms of repetitive stress. If you’re doing the same task over and over again for hours, your limbs or back may get stiff from the cold and repetition. This increases the likelihood of accidents, particularly if the temperature is low enough that you’re not getting good circulation to your fingers. Instead, try to change tasks on a regular basis, as frequently as every 15 minutes in cold weather. This allows you to work different muscle groups and keep your whole body in better working order during the day.

Staying warm during the winter is part of a construction job in many parts of California. So is a good foundation. To learn more, contact CSLS today!

Does Your Contracting Business Need a Better Cash Flow Strategy?

When you run a contracting business, you’ll quickly learn that cash is king. Without the money to keep the lights on and the bills paid, you wouldn’t have much of a business. But it can be tricky to get your income and expenses into a balance you can manage every month. Here are a few ways you can tell that your cash flow strategy needs an overhaul.

Mismatched Income and Expenses
It’s not uncommon for contractors to pay for the majority of the expenses for a project before they receive payment from a client. At times, this may be the only way that you can keep projects going. On the other hand, if you are regularly waiting much longer for payment than you have to pay your bills, you may have a cash flow problem. For example, if your suppliers bill within 30 days and you have to wait 60 days for payment, you may have as much as a month waiting to refill your account. For contractors who work on shorter projects, this can create a significant backlog. Extra money in savings can help, but it is not always enough.

Using Credit for Cash Flow
Credit can be an excellent tool to use to help cover minor shortfalls on occasion. However, when contractors begin to rely on credit as a way to fund every project, they may start to run out of options. After all, you can only use credit so much until you run out of money. On top of that, the more debt you have, the more you have to pay in interest and regular payments. As a general rule, experts recommend the contractors try to minimize the amount that they spend on credit for projects, particularly if they are waiting for a payment at an undetermined point in the future.

Trouble Getting New Credit
When you’re using credit for cash flow, the cycle of debt can begin to create other problems for you. For example, you might use a line of credit as a way to get supplies for your projects. Once that line of credit runs out, you may think that you can request an extension or get more credit elsewhere. Of course, this depends on a variety of factors, and you may not have an attractive borrowing record yet. If you find that you’re constantly running up against your credit limits and looking for options to add more debt to buy you more time, you may need to rethink your cash flow.

Regularly Declined Purchases
If your cash flow situation becomes serious enough, you may find it difficult to get the supplies that you need or equipment rentals. It’s not uncommon to negotiate an arrangement with your supplier where you buy materials on credit and then pay them back once you have received payment on your invoices. But if your clients aren’t getting back to you on time, your suppliers may decide that it’s too big of a risk. If you have a flexible line of credit, but you’re finding that you can’t use it, you may need to think differently about the way that you are utilizing credit in general to assist with your cash flow.

Paying Yourself Later
When you have more bills than you have income to pay them, one of the first places that you may look to trim back is your own paycheck. If you have employees, you’re required to pay them. But it’s tempting, in the midst of a cash flow problem, to think that you’ll pay yourself at the end of the next project and catch up. The problem is that over time, you can build a backlog of income that you’re not taking. And eventually, you won’t be able to keep doing work if you’re not getting paid for it. It’s better to think about ways that you can re-order your expenses to work with your projects, or incentivize clients to pay more promptly.

Learning how to analyze and manage your cash flow is one of the most important things you will do as a contracting business owner. To learn more about becoming a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

5 Household Goods Your Contracting Business Can Use at the Construction Site

When you start your contracting business, you’ll need to buy a lot of tools and other things for use at the construction site. But not everything requires heavy equipment or industrial materials. In fact, some of it might be easy to get at home, or cheap to source from people you know. Here are five practical things you may be able to find inside your own home.

Towels and Washcloths
There’s no denying that construction can be very dirty work. You may have a lot of sweeping or wiping to do, especially if you work in fields where you have to clean everything up at the end of the day. You can easily blow up your consumables budget by buying single-use paper towels, though. Instead, take a look in your linen closet and see what you don’t use anymore. Old towels or washcloths can be bleached to remove stains, and they will also remain absorbent for many years. If you’re just trying to wipe up a mess, and you’re not dealing with harsh solvents or other noxious cleansers, you may get a new life out of them before you toss them.

Stationery
At home, you probably have a supply of pens and pencils. You might even have a drawer where you like to keep them. But if they’re not getting used at home, you don’t necessarily have to invest a ton into buying them, especially for your contracting business. There is a time and place for having branded pens or notepads with your company logo. While you are running some figures or double-checking your numbers, you can use just about anything. Clear out your junk drawer or your home office, and bring the extras to work. That way, you can save your stationery budget for high-quality implements you can hand to clients before they sign a contract.

Organizers
You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on specialty tool organizers or boxes that you can use to separate small pieces. Of course, you may already have something like this at home. And if you don’t, you may not have to waste a ton of money on buying something that is specifically designed for a workshop. Plastic containers don’t hold up as long as metal, but they’re perfectly acceptable to hold your paperclips or screw bits. As long as the environment isn’t too harsh for the container, you can freely repurpose what you already have.

Technological Devices
If the idea of having to buy a lot of equipment for your business makes you feel broke, you’re not alone. While technological devices are certainly handy to use for your contracting business, you can’t always afford to buy them at the same time as investing in construction equipment or other expenses. Look for recent castoffs from your friends and family, especially these tools:

  • Landline phones
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Printers

Some people like to upgrade their devices yearly, which means that you might be able to get a recent model for a much lower price, or even free.

Cleaning Supplies
You’ll find that a lot of the cleaning supplies you use on the construction site are the same as the ones that you use at home. Of course, there are a few differences, and you should make sure that you are always using the right cleaning products based on the spill or pile. But for many messes, a broom is a broom and Windex cleans windows. If you stock up during a big sale and find out you’re not going through it as quickly as you expected, you can bring it to your business for faster consumption.

Buying supplies for your contracting business feels like a lot of effort, but you can make it easier. When you’re ready to start your career path to becoming a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

5 Ways to Manage Air Quality for Your Contracting Business

Air quality is a regular concern in construction, but especially during wildfire season. Poor air quality minimizes your visibility, but it can also make you sick if you are exposed to it for long hours throughout the day. If you still have to work outside, even when the weather’s smoky, you need to protect yourself. Here are five ways you can manage air quality on the construction site.

Check the Forecast
If you’re not sure what the air quality is going to be like during the day, your best bet is to start by checking the forecast. Although weather forecasts usually focus on sun, temperature and humidity, the National Weather Service often includes details about the air quality as well. Pay attention to the progress of wildfires in your area, and make a plan for the days that you know the air quality will be particularly bad. In some cases, adjusting your schedule so that you can do outside work during times with better air quality can save you a lot of complication and discomfort.

Minimize Emissions
Although much of your outdoor air quality is based on your general environment, the use of construction equipment can make the air quality around you even worse. For example, if you are running fuel-powered equipment, you will generate exhaust. As it accumulates, you may notice certain detrimental health effects. Proper ventilation is key, especially if you are doing work in a confined space. Limit your use of equipment that generates dust or fuel byproducts, wear proper protective equipment when you do, and ensure that every space gets proper ventilation.

Purchase Filtering Equipment
You are probably familiar with personal protective equipment (PPE) that construction workers use to protect themselves from hazardous substances on the job site. But you can also use PPE as a way to filter out smoke and particles in the natural air. The simplest tools at your disposal are an N95 mask and protective goggles. These tools are much more likely to be effective if you can get them fit-tested, which means confirming that they are actually providing a tight seal. When the air is particularly bad, you may choose to upgrade to equipment that provides a higher degree of filtration with cartridges that you can replace.

Provide Air Quality Break Areas
No one wants to work outside all day in poor air quality. At times, you might need to adjust the work you plan to do during the day to minimize exposure to the environment. On days when the air quality is moderate, you may be able to help by providing indoor break areas with improved air quality. Consider purchasing and using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, although you will need to replace the cartridge on a regular basis. Being able to take breaks inside and breathe generally clean air will make it easier to put a mask back on and be productive when you go back outside.

Work Inside When Needed
There will be moments where the air quality outside is so bad that you simply cannot get work done. If the visibility is low and the smoke in the air is high, you put yourself and your employees at risk for injuries and other health concerns. It is much better to spend a day working on tasks that you can complete in the shop and waiting for the air to clear, than it is to spend the entire day outside and feel too sick to work the next day. Keeping safe is the best way to ensure that your business can continue to operate.

Handling poor air quality is a common part of running a business in construction. For more information about how you can be a better contracting business owner, visit CSLS today!

How Your Contracting Business Can Handle Animals on the Construction Site

Every now and then, you may find animals on the construction site. Sometimes, a runaway pet looks for shelter. In other cases, it’s wild animals you have to worry about. You don’t want to get hurt, and you want to avoid hurting them as well. Here are a few things that you should know if you encounter animals on the construction site.

Control Entrances/Exits
The best way to avoid an unexpected encounter with an animal is to control entrances and exits. You may need to build some kind of fencing around the job site, particularly if you are engaging in dangerous activities. At the beginning and end of the day, you should plan to run the perimeter of the fence to see if there are obvious gaps where an animal could get in. Do the same with doors and gates. If your entrances make it easy for animals to enter, you’ll be more likely to have problems with them. At job sites near wooded areas or waterways, you may need to upgrade the type of entrances you use for security.

Research Local Rescue Organizations
For many people in construction, the question is not when they will encounter an animal, but rather who they should call when they do. If someone’s lost pet wanders onto the job site, it may be relatively obvious what you should do. But for any other type of animal, you may not know. And in fact, being unable to act can put you at greater risk. Before you work on a job site in an area that is less familiar to you, do a little research into local organizations that handle wild animal rescue. That way, if you encounter a snake or an injured rodent, you have the right number to call and you can do it immediately.

Set Safe Rules for Interactions
As a general rule, your safest bet is to avoid engaging with the animal directly until you can contact the proper authority. Even a lost pet that appears friendly could be sick, injured or otherwise unsafe. As you research local animal handling organizations, find out how they want the public to respond if they find one of these:

  • Mountain lions
  • Snakes
  • Biting or stinging insects
  • Domesticated pets
  • Livestock
  • Rodents

Write out a safety plan and make sure that anyone on the job site has access to it. In areas where animal encounters are common, you may need to practice following a routine to normalize it.

Buy Protective Equipment
You probably don’t need to outfit yourself like you are about to spend a week hiking in the wilderness. However, a small amount of protective equipment may make a big difference. For example, the ability to make loud noises can frighten off predators that might otherwise try to attack you. Wearing protective boots and tucking your cuffs into your socks or gloves can reduce the likelihood of insect or rodent bites. If all else fails, there are certain types of repellent sprays that you can use either as preventative or as acute protection during an attack.

Stay Aware
Hopefully, you have created a space on the job site that is harder for animals and insects to invade, so that you can focus on your work. But early in the morning, and right around sunset, you should pay extra attention to your surroundings to confirm that you are working alone. People are at higher risk for injury when they are distracted and do not notice a wild animal coming into their space. Working with others, and having a system where you watch out for things that the other person might not see, minimizes the chances of a surprise attack by an animal.

Minimizing wild animal interruptions on the job site can make it easier for you to get your important work done. To learn more about how you can prepare for the contractor licensing exam, visit CSLS today!

5 Reasons to Consider Hiring an Accountant for Your Contracting Business

If you’re good at money management, you might think that there is no reason to hire an accountant for your contracting business. Some business owners don’t, especially in the first few years when they’re working to get established. But there are reasons you may want to hire one, especially if you struggle to keep your focus on your books. Here are five.

You’re Not a Tax Expert
Many people choose to calculate and file their own taxes. When you start a business, it’s tempting to think that it will be easy to manage your business taxes as well. And if you don’t have a lot of business expenses or purchases to make, that might be close to the truth. On the other hand, hiring an accountant to do your taxes is a relatively minor investment. In exchange, you’re more likely to learn about less-known deductions and credits that your business may be eligible to claim. An accountant is also more likely to get everything correct so that your tax forms are accepted without dispute.

You Need Someone to Manage Your Financial Records
Maintaining financial records is a crucial task for your business. Without it, you may be stuck in a panic when someone asks you for an updated form. For example, if you apply for a loan, you may need an updated profit and loss statement for the application. If you have investors, you’ll need to show them updated financial records for your business activities as well. Just like your taxes, these records can be complicated and easy to make mistakes. In this case, it may make sense to hire a regular accountant who can handle these tasks on your behalf. You’ll need to provide the data, but an accountant can process and use it to generate the required reports.

You’re Not Sure if You’re Following Financial Guidelines
There are a lot of financial guidelines that you may have to follow as a contracting business owner. For example, if you want to bid on public sector projects, you need to confirm that your rate structure for employees complies with local guidelines. Do you know what these guidelines are? Which forms do you need to fill out and submit along with your bid? If these questions fill you with dread, then you might need an accountant to help you sort through them and determine which ones apply to your business. This way, you can avoid the stress of being unsure if you’re following the rules, with extra support in handling these administrative tasks.

You Want Help Planning Your Spending
In the early years of your business, cash flow is everything. Before you increase your own income or invest further in your business, you must make sure that you have adequate funds to keep the business running. The problem is that you may not know what you need to make that happen. And if you make errors in your estimates, you may end up without the money you need to pay yourself or your employees. Accountants do more than just file your taxes or fill out other forms. They can also help you look at your income and expenses, and create a plan that you can follow for several months or the next year.

You Don’t Have Much Business Support
There’s a reason that many licensed contractors are self-employed. In the beginning, you might not have anyone else available to work with you. Being able to make all the decisions can be nice in that you don’t have conflict when it’s time to make a choice. But it also means that you don’t get input from others, which can be a problem when you’re making a decision without a lot of information or experience to guide you. In this case, it makes sense to consider hiring an accountant to help you evaluate financial choices and select the one that works best for your business. This way, you have an objective expert who can provide you with an appropriate level of support.

Handling your business finances is less stressful when you can hire a professional accountant to ensure everything is correct. For more information about starting your own contracting business, visit 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!

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 Reasons to Incorporate Your Contracting Business

Before you start your contracting business, one of the things you’ll have to think about is how you want to structure it. Some contractors prefer to use a sole proprietorship or S Corp. Others want to create a C Corp. In any case, you should consider incorporating so that you can protect yourself and your business growth over time. Here are a few reasons you’ll be glad you got it right from the beginning.

Keep Your Business and Personal Finances Separate
When you first start your contracting business, you might think that operating as a sole proprietor is the easiest. After all, you’re the one doing the work. Why should you have to incorporate so that your clients can pay you? The answer might surprise you. One of the best things that you can do for your contracting business is to keep your finances for the company separate from your personal finances. You’ll need to have some way to separate them in order to do your taxes, but there are other reasons you can benefit from it. Even if all you do is create an LLC and a separate bank account, you’ll notice the difference come tax time.

Limit Your Personal Liability
Every now and then, you might read something in the news about a client suing a company for some kind of wrongdoing. When you have an established company, you can limit the ways that you are held personally liable. It’s a good form of protection to have, even if you’re not likely to make mistakes or make clients want to sue you. The security of keeping your personal life and your business life separate is vital. Without that separation, clients may be able to go after you personally, as well as your business. Sometimes, it can make the difference between keeping your business running and keeping yourself on stable ground.

Establish Credibility
When you’re first starting out as a business owner, you need all the credibility you can get. It’s common to choose a formal business name, even if it includes your own name, when you incorporate. You’ll also show potential clients, future employees, and other contractors that you have done the work necessary to create an actual business. In a world where almost anyone can design advertisements or business cards, whether they are a licensed contractor or not, that credibility might translate into more opportunities to help your business grow.

Create Opportunities for Funding
In those early years, you might be working hard to keep your cash flow on the level. Having access to funding, even the occasional small business loan or line of credit, can help you get what you need when you need it. But in order to qualify for a lot of these funding options, you’ll need to be an established business. With an active business license and the permits you need to operate in the area, you’ll make it easier to prove to potential lenders that you mean to make good on any loans they are willing to offer.

Make It Easier to Expand
Ultimately, your goal as a business owner will be to expand over time. You might not anticipate becoming a large corporation with thousands of employees, especially not quite yet. But after a few years, you may have a handful of employees and really wish that you had taken the time to incorporate at the start of everything. You’ll notice the difference every time you have to manage payroll. Getting ahead of the process doesn’t put you at risk, and will make it easier for you to grow over the next several years without having to make a big or sudden change.

Incorporating your contracting business as lots of potential benefits, even from the very beginning. To discover how you can run your own contracting business, visit CSLS today!