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 Fit More Studying for the Contractor Licensing Exam Into Your Day

Studying as an adult can be a lot trickier than it was when you were a kid. You’ve probably got a full-time job, and you may have other family obligations too. All that adds up to a day that is often more full than you think. And yet, you can still find opportunities to study. Here are a few ways to take advantage of quick moments to help you get ready for the contractor licensing exam.

Focus Your Goals
Most experts in productivity will tell you that you must have focused goals in order to achieve them. For example, if you simply plan to “get some studying done,” you might not achieve nearly as much as you’re hoping to get. Instead, take a moment to think about certain topics that you would like to study, and make a list of the ones you want to start with first. If you’re not sure how to refine your goals, try setting broad ones and then breaking them down into pieces. You’ll have a better time estimating how much time they will take that way.

Create Short Tasks
With your list of study topics that you need to master, you can start planning out short tasks. At the very beginning, it may be difficult to estimate how long you think it’s going to take you to do something. That’s why you may need to have some longer study sessions. On the other hand, if you want to re-watch a recorded lecture, you simply need to see how long it is to set an approximate time for it. Make a list of short tasks that last 5 to 15 minutes, particularly if you find yourself constantly strapped for time. Making a little progress at a time is better than letting days pass and realizing you haven’t studied at all. In small blocks, the hours will add up.

Book Study Time
Finding time in the margins for studying can be a way to get extra study time, but it probably won’t be sufficient. When you are new to a topic, you may need to immerse yourself in it for a couple of hours before you have some passing familiarity with the terminology or the processes involved. Short periods of time are better for refining your skills or reviewing in advance of the exam. If you finish every week wishing that you could have planned out more time for studying, you may want to start there first. Set aside a couple of hours once or twice a week to give you that foundation. You’ll find it easier to fit more time for smaller tasks if you feel like you’re making progress.

Use Multiple Formats
The thing about fitting studying into the margins is that you may end up doing it in a variety of places. As such, you’ll need to have multiple formats in which you can study or review. If everything that you do presumes that you have access to a desk with books and a computer, you’ll have a harder time listening to a lecture on your commute. Try to give yourself more than one way to study or review, even if it means recording yourself explaining a concept so that you can listen to it later. Review is a key part of recall, so it won’t feel like wasted time.

Avoid Big Schedule Changes
As with any schedule change, one of the worst things that you can do is to swap your time allocation to the extreme. For example, cutting out an hour of sleep abruptly to buy you more study time isn’t likely to make you more focused. Instead, you may end up more stressed and less inclined to study. Start by making slight changes to your routine, no more than 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Give yourself a week to get used to it before you change it again. You’ll be more likely to build reliable study habits that way, and you won’t up-end your home life as a result.

Finding time to study is a crucial part of passing the contractor licensing exam. For guidance in meeting the requirements to take the exam, contact CSLS today!

5 Ways to Be a Good Contracting Business Owner

One of the reasons people like small businesses is that they are unique. There’s a lot of opportunities to provide a one-of-a-kind service, when you own a small business. Of course, there’s a lot of unpredictability or inconsistency that can happen with small businesses, and it isn’t always a good thing. If you do these five things, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your clients happy.

Stay Organized
Have you ever gone to a business that didn’t seem to have everything together? It’s a nightmare. You ask questions and you worry that you won’t get answers with the right information. As a business owner, you need to stay organized. You should make a plan to attend to administrative tasks, as well as staying on top of each aspect of an individual project. That way, when someone calls you to request a bid or to get updated information about the status of a project, you won’t have to hunt through a pile of paperwork to figure out how to respond. If necessary, it’s worth hiring someone to help you keep track of it.

Return Communications
Experts often say that property owners should get multiple bids for a project before they choose one. In a lot of cases, clients end up going with only one or two because they couldn’t get responses from everyone else. As a business owner, you miss 100% of the sales leads that you don’t follow. You’re also more likely to lose out on repeat business, if you’re not in the habit of responding to client questions promptly and fully. You don’t have to answer the phone 24/7 or reply within minutes. Setting a goal to respond to all client communications within 24 to 48 hours could make all the difference.

Keep Explanations Simple
It’s worth keeping in mind the people are hiring you for your expertise. This usually means that they don’t know much about how to perform the services you offer, and they probably won’t be up on the latest jargon. It might seem like you’re complimenting your customers by refusing to use plain or common language when you’re explaining something to them. But as a result, they may not understand what you’re trying to tell them, and provide inaccurate feedback as a result. Take the time to investigate easier ways to have a discussion, and follow up to make sure the client understood everything.

Aim for Excellent Service
Offhand, you can probably think of several small businesses that you prefer to use more than others. For example, there’s that restaurant not far from you that always gives you great service. People tend to remember things like this. If your contracting business relies heavily on repeat business, customer service is a big factor in a client’s decision to continue. Aim to provide the best service that you can in every step of the process, and set goals to help you achieve it. If you miss the mark on occasion, take the time to figure out why it happened and plan to correct it.

Invest In Your Industry
When you start your contracting business, you may have a lot of current knowledge about the latest trends and techniques in the industry. Over time, without investment, that knowledge will become obsolete to some degree. The best small businesses are the ones that are paying attention to best practices and implementing them in their processes. It doesn’t mean that you have to chase all the latest trends and radically change your Business from one year to the next. Instead, making a regular investment in your industry allows you to evaluate changes and determine which ones will be best to apply to your business directly.

Being a good contracting business owner will help set you up for an excellent career. To get started on the road to becoming a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

Tips for Working With Family and Friends in Your Contracting Business

When you think about starting a contracting business, it’s tempting to consider involving family and friends in the endeavor. After all, you know them and they know you. If you have a pretty good idea of their work ethic and what to expect, it can be a great partnership. It might also not work out the way you think. Here are a few things to consider before you make a choice.

Balance Skill Sets and Knowledge
Having a partner who can balance out your knowledge and experience is ideal. If you’re trying to do a complicated task, it’s smart to have two people who each have expertise in different areas. Two people who know the same things may find that their effort put together isn’t sufficient. If you’re thinking about going into business with a friend or relative a few years from now, you can tailor your education to suit it. That way, you can ensure that all the requirements for your business are met by one person or the other.

Identify Goals for the Business
Bringing two people with a long friendship together to build a business can be excellent if you have common goals. It’s a wise idea to sit down and outline what you expect to get from the business, as well as how you feel about taking risks. Misalignment on these basic aspects can lead to serious conflicts, and they may not take long to show up. It’s wise to be wary about a partnership of two people who are a lot alike. Sometimes, it’s harder to challenge a decision made by someone who acts just the way that you would. And it can also make you less likely to think about things from a different perspective. You want to partner with someone that you have a lot in common with, but perhaps not everything.

Evaluate Conflict Management Styles
When you evaluate a partner for your business, you might wonder how they act when they are under duress or facing a significant conflict. With a friend or family member, you probably have a good idea of what you can expect. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how their conflict management style meshes with yours. If you love to address a conflict head-on, you may struggle to engage with someone who needs to think over it. Similarly, if you like to take a day or two to calm yourself and think about a resolution, you might find it difficult to resolve conflict with someone who demands an answer right now.

Set Clear Expectations
With friends and especially with family, it’s tempting to bypass a lot of things that your business actually needs to run. You would never agree to a job without a clear, written expectation of requirements and payment. When it comes to a family member, it might be easier to let things slide. Instead, you should make sure that you are running your business much in the same way that you would with someone that you don’t know very well. This means that you should:

  • Set clear expectations for the business
  • Outline requirements for each job
  • Provide details in writing

That way, you don’t have to worry about anger or hurt feelings based on a misunderstanding that you can’t clarify.

Get Outside Opinions
Going into business with your best friend or a cousin you’ve known from childhood may sound like an amazing idea. It’s wise to get outside opinions on that. If you have a lot of people in your social circle telling you to reconsider for various reasons, it’s a good idea not to ignore them. Going into business is a big endeavor and it can cause a lot of stress for people in the first few years. If you notice a lot of signs that you and your partner won’t be a good match to run a successful business, it is better to know that before you get embedded in all the responsibilities.

Starting a business with a friend or family member is a common choice, but you have to do it wisely. To learn more about running a contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Handle Price Hikes in Your Contracting Business

The longer you work in the construction industry, the more you’ll understand the changes in supply pricing. Periodically, you’ll notice a steep rise in the cost of steel, lumber or other materials you need on a regular basis. At times, you’ll need to consider raising your own prices. Here are a few factors to remember as you make a plan.

Research Pricing Trends
The best way to start evaluating effects on prices is to research trends. When the price of a particular material seems to go up practically overnight, you want to have a sense of why this is happening. Sometimes, there is a disaster or conflict that makes it more difficult to source materials that must come from a particular location. In these instances, you’ll need to figure out how long prices will be higher and if you need to adjust your estimates as a result. This is also a good time to evaluate your supply chain and build in a few ways to get materials when supply is harder to find.

Balance Short-Term Price Increases
Keeping your pricing relatively consistent is a good idea. It’s not always possible, but it makes sense to keep your strategy such that you can easily replicate it for most estimates. If the price increases on materials or services are limited and temporary, you may be able to balance them out without having to raise your prices. Many contractors choose to offer a variety of services, some of which have lower margins while others have higher margins. This way, you can avoid cutting into your own profits too much without having to notify clients about price increases that won’t last more than a couple of projects.

Avoid Underestimating Costs
Ultimately, you have to keep your business profitable so that you can continue to do it. The best way to do this is to set a minimum margin you need to make off of various types of projects and stick to it. In an industry where the contractor who bids the lowest often gets the job, it’s tempting to trim your margins down to nothing, especially after material price increases. But over time, you may notice your profits dwindling down as a result. Try to build a little padding into your estimates for price fluctuations, so that you’re not always having to eat the difference when it comes time to get paid.

Decide When to Increase Estimates
Increasing your prices due to material price hikes is a strategic decision. If you think of it this way, you’re less likely to feel like you’re taking advantage of your clients. Inflation naturally increases the prices for goods and services over time. It makes sense that you may need to increase your prices as well. After researching pricing trends and investigating what you can reasonably expect for your services in your area, you can set new prices. You’ll want to give yourself some time to roll out the price changes. For example, you may choose to wait until you complete a certain number of projects before you move to the new pricing model.

Notify Regular Clients
Once you come to the conclusion that you need to raise your prices, you need to publish this information anywhere your old pricing system was available. You will also need to notify regular clients who may expect to use the old prices. Keep in mind that increasing your estimates is a natural part of running a business. Explain to your clients how your prices will change, and when they can expect those changes to go into effect. Reaffirm your commitment to providing a quality service. These steps will minimize hassle or confusion once you get to payment.

Figuring out how you want to handle price hikes is an important component of running a contracting business. For advice on the best path to get started, visit CSLS today!

Are Distance Projects a Wise Choice for Your Contracting Business?

As they say in business, you have to go where the money is. And sometimes, the money isn’t plentiful close to where you live or work. In this case, you might consider taking on a few distance projects to make you more money. Here are a few ways you can evaluate distance projects for your contracting business.

Evaluate Your Travel Options
To start out, you should get a sense for where you are willing to travel. For example, you might decide that you are willing to drive up to 200 miles, but you don’t want to go any farther than that. Your options depend on your location and other factors related to travel. In order to know where you are likely to travel, it’s wise to do some research into parts of the state with the most development potential. It’s too easy to rule out big urban areas as being already developed, but they are also ripe candidates for urban renewal. Try to get a sense for what the next few years could look like. An area with lots of development on the horizon may pose more interesting opportunities than one that is just about to conclude.

Estimate Travel Costs
Traveling to find work may be a no-brainer if you’re not finding a lot of opportunities close to home. On the other hand, if you have plenty of options in your area, you should balance out the cost and complication of travel with the benefits you can get from completing those projects. Create a detailed estimate with cost ranges for travel, including:

  • Gasoline
  • Wear and maintenance on vehicles
  • Equipment accessibility
  • Accommodations and dining

Expenses depend on the region and the time of year. However, you should be able to come up with some general ideas of what you can expect to pay for a project that lasts one week or two weeks.

Consider Climate and Weather
As you are evaluating your options, it’s important to consider climate and weather. It’s not just a matter of determining whether or not you are willing to work in excessively cold or hot temperatures. The climate based on the time of year may affect travel as well as work. For example, if you expect to travel regularly for work, you may need to factor in things like wildfire season, and have plans to be able to get to the project on time despite delays. You also have to be ready to work in the region, even if it is 115 degrees or buried in snow. It’s worth doing research into safe practices for extreme temperatures before you make a choice.

Create a Travel Plan
Once you’ve decided which scenarios would make you willing to travel, you need to make a travel plan that works for you and your employees. After all, you’re not going to make a sudden commitment to work for a week hundreds of miles away. Devise a notification system that provides enough time to prepare for travel, without compromising your existing projects. You may need to tweak it over time, but you should have a rough plan in place before you accept the first distance project.

Avoid Cutting Corners
You wouldn’t cut corners on any of your projects, whether they were local or far away. You should also avoid cutting corners in your business travel. It’s tempting to go for the cheapest accommodations and try to live off snacks to save money. But in the long run, you’ll find that this approach can make you dread the idea of travel, and make it harder to do good work while you’re there. Be reasonable about your expectations, and set a good example for your employees. As a result, you’ll find the experience more rewarding and do a better job.

Building a successful contracting business involves evaluating all your options. Getting your contractor’s license is another important step. To discover the benefits of expert exam preparation, contact CSLS today!

Ventilation Needs for Your Contracting Business

While you’re on the job site, there will be times when you are working inside a building or a space that isn’t well-ventilated. Without the right equipment, you could be putting yourself or your employees at risk. Good ventilation is the best way to protect your health, especially when you’re working with chemicals. Here are a few things you should think about when planning ventilation for your construction projects.

Common Types of Ventilation

The type of ventilation that you need depends on your working environment. In many cases, a building may have certain types of ventilation systems already in existence. There are a few common types of ventilation that you should know about, including:

  • Natural: Using windows and doors to provide fresh air
  • Exhaust: Using a fan to draw air out of the building
  • Balance ventilation: Provides a fresh supply of air at the same rate as exhaust

It’s worth keeping in mind that a structure that is enclosed but only partially finished may not have adequate ventilation. You should also know that natural ventilation is often insufficient, especially if you are working with anything that produces harmful exhaust.

VOCs and Chemicals
Although any business may have to deal with the side effects of VOCs and certain types of chemicals, construction makes both much more common. Building materials can off-gas VOCs like formaldehyde for years after construction is complete. However, they’re more likely to do so at the very beginning. As such, you should have a plan to air out rooms at various points in the construction process. This is also true for areas in which you will be using noxious chemicals. It may be necessary to use spot ventilation techniques and additional personal protective equipment to protect yourself and others working on the jobsite.

Fuel-Burning Appliances and Tools
Fuel-burning appliances and tools are popular on the construction site. They offer a higher amount of power without the need to connect to an electrical system. You might use them to provide heat on cold days. The chief concern is that fuel-burning equipment produces exhaust, which can turn into carbon monoxide. Certain appliances and tools are rated for indoor use because they contain a sensor that will turn them off of the oxygen level gets too low. However, sensors can fail, and you should not assume that an enclosed space is safe for using this equipment. You should plan to use spot ventilation and PPE whenever you’re using anything that burns fuel without an exhaust venting directly outside.

Spot Ventilation Options
In most cases, you’re going to want to take advantage of spot ventilation. You’ve got a variety of possibilities, and you may need more than one:

  • Built-in exhaust fans
  • Portable fans
  • Open windows and doors
  • Air purifiers

Keep in mind that fans come with different levels of power, and the right one depends on the amount of circulation that you need. In some cases, a circulating fan that you might use at home would be helpful. In other cases, you’ll need a high-powered fan that can circulate hundreds of cubic feet within minutes.

Additional Personal Protective Equipment
Ventilation does a couple of things for the air quality of the job site. The first is ensuring that the workspace is generally free of harmful fumes. The second is protecting people who are in the workspace at the present moment. The efficacy of the second depends heavily on the type of ventilation, as well as what you’re doing. In many cases, it may make sense to use masks and ventilators with breathable filters during construction work. After all, ventilation can remove contaminants, but the system may not be able to neutralize the risk immediately. Your use of a mask or ventilator may prevent injury or long-term health concerns, in addition to any steps you take to increase ventilation.

Ventilating your workspace is one way that you can keep yourself and your employees safe. To learn more about how to run a contracting business, visit CSLS today!

Are Your Contracting Business Employees Hesitant About the COVID-19 Vaccine? Here’s What You Can Do.

Now that the vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available, a lot of Americans are looking to go back to some kind of normal. But even though all adults and many children can get a vaccine, not everyone wants to. There are a lot of reasons, and construction has the highest proportion of vaccine-hesitant workers. If you have a few on your construction team, here are a few ways you can help.

Ask for Input
In order to get a better understanding of the reasons that your employees don’t want to get the vaccine, you’ll need to talk to them first. There are a variety of possible explanations, including:

  • Concern about efficacy
  • Worries about side effects
  • Inability to get an appointment
  • Lack of paid time off

The answer that you receive will make it easier for you to address changes to your business to solve the problem. If you don’t receive much in the way of answers, you may need to back off and revisit the subject later.

Make Reasonable Accommodations
If you’ve looked at the news occasionally over the past few months, you know that there have been a handful of problems that people commonly face when figuring out how and where to get the COVID vaccine. Some people don’t know where the vaccine is available, or if they’ll have to pay for it. Others might worry about the time it takes, or what they will do if they have to schedule the appointment during normal business hours. You can do a lot to put your employees at ease by making reasonable accommodations for them to schedule and go to each appointment. For example, offering paid time off for the appointment helps employees because they don’t have to worry about losing money as a result.

Update Your Sick Leave Plan
There’s been a lot of conversation about the potential side effects of the COVID vaccine, and it’s worth adding accommodations for these, as well. It’s hard to predict how someone will react to the vaccine, although experts suggest that the highest likelihood of side effects will happen with the second shot. Some people feel slightly ill for a day or two, while others are knocked flat for several days. Some may have no side effects at all. This is a good time to evaluate your sick leave plan, and make sure that you can make room for people to recover. They’re better off staying home until they feel able to work the full day again.

Evaluate Incentives Carefully
It’s tempting to give incentives as a way to persuade your employees to take the plunge. In fact, several states have offered different types of perks for getting the vaccine, like participation in the lottery or even direct cash payments. If you’re thinking about employing these kinds of incentives for your employees, you should do so carefully. Not everyone has the ability to get the COVID vaccine, even if they wanted to. Some people have documented vaccine reactions, or have health concerns that make them unable to participate. You don’t want to leave them out by offering an incentive that they could never get.

Avoid Ultimatums
Requiring the vaccine for employees may not be the best practice. Some industries, like healthcare, can require it because employees who are unvaccinated represent a serious health risk to the public. Otherwise, such ultimatums are more likely to increase mistrust and stress among employees, rather than promoting compliance. In some cases, it could be illegal to set such obligations for employees. Instead of forcing your employees to prove their compliance or show reasons that they have not, it’s better to make it as simple as possible for them to get it and encourage them to do so.

Having a vaccinated population is one way that the construction industry can get back to a new normal. To learn more about building your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Spot Scams in Your Contracting Business

In your personal life, you’ve probably learned how to spot a few scams. It helps you avoid financial loss and major embarrassment. But you should also know that there are people who will target businesses with scams, too. Here are a few red flags you should watch for, as well as a few ways you can protect yourself.

Asking for Personal Information
Like many personal finance scams, business scams often operate around getting access to your sensitive data. For example, a scammer might send you an email or a text message pretending to be from your bank or other trusted institution. They make a claim about something related to your account, and offer a link for you to provide your login credentials. If you fall for it, they may gain access to your account information. To avoid this problem, don’t click on links provided in emails. If you’re not sure whether or not the communication is real, log into the account the way you normally would.

Using Abnormal Forms of Communication
Financial institutions usually have preferred methods for communication, and they will often make these clear on their website. Scammers might take advantage of an unusual type of communication as a way to catch you off-guard and make it easier to bypass your natural defenses. For example, you might not think anything of a spam email or letter that comes to your business mailbox. But what about a text or a phone call? The IRS is famous for repeating that it never requests sensitive information over the phone. They do this because so many scammers use that method to get people’s information. In short, if it’s not the normal way that your financial institution would contact you, you should not consider it a safe method.

Refusing to Put Details in Writing
Although many of the most common scams come in the form of phishing, there are other types that you should be aware of as well. As a business, you may interact with lots of other businesses that provide products and services. Some of them may be legit, while others might not. One way that you can tell that someone is not dealing with you on the level is a lack of written evidence of any negotiation. Someone who is planning to take your money and run, or provide you a shoddy service for the money, wants as little of a paper trail as possible. If they ask you to take their word for it or promise to give written records after the fact, it’s wise to refuse agreement.

Pitching Fake Services
As a small business owner, you may be meeting a lot of responsibilities for your company and therefore don’t have a lot of time to research. Sometimes, someone running a scam will offer to perform a service that they convince you is necessary. It might include placement in a directory or participation in some kind of awards program. And after you have made a deposit or another form of payment, you discover that the thing you’ve signed up for doesn’t actually exist. These scams can be pretty common, so you’ll want to watch out for them. Every time you get an offer for a service like this, do some research into it and see if it actually benefits your business.

Making Unrealistic or Illegal Offers
As a general rule, if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Some scammers will offer to handle certain aspects of your brand management, by eliminating negative feedback or providing positive reviews for your business. Even under the best intentions, services like this can be sketchy. In certain instances, they are also illegal. Just keep in mind that nothing in business is truly free and services that promise you the world are unlikely to be able to deliver it. Always ask for references and follow up on offers before you make any commitments.

Running a successful contracting business includes being able to spot the most common scams targeting businesses. For more information about getting ready to become a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

Concrete Alternatives for Your Contracting Business

Concrete is a big part of construction. The problem is that it’s not the best for the environment. Of course, that also means that sustainable building experts are always looking for alternatives that perform much like concrete without all the complications it presents. Here are a few options you can consider for your contracting business.

Green Concrete
Although no concrete is going to be truly sustainable, there are ways to decrease its carbon footprint. One of the major problems about concrete is that it is heavy and strong but does not necessarily last. That means concrete ends up in a landfill several years after its original application, in a lot of cases. Green concrete seeks to reclaim certain aspects of the manufacturing process. For example, green concrete manufacturers might use recycled materials in the production of new concrete. Sometimes, they can even use old concrete to create new concrete. This decreases the amount of raw materials needed for production and minimizes waste in the landfill.

Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is becoming a popular building material for its durability and low maintenance needs. Fiber cement uses a combination of natural fibers, minerals, water and heat to create a surface that is less likely to break down over time. The manufacturing process creates fewer carbon emissions, making it a more attractive option for siding and more. Due to its construction, it is less likely to crack or wear out. As such, it can remain on the building for a longer period of time without replacement or extensive repairs.

Steel
Steel is a strong, durable building material that can be a way to minimize use of concrete in construction. You probably already use steel, but you may not necessarily know all of its benefits. Steel is less likely to corrode or break down over time, which gives it a longer possible lifespan. It is less prone to fluctuations in the pricing market compared to lumber, so it’s easier to estimate how much you can expect to pay for it from one year to the next. It is also one of the most recyclable building materials. That means you can use steel that has been mostly recycled, and expect that when the building is no longer needed, that steel can be recycled once again.

Wood
Wood is an age-old building material, because it is widely available almost anywhere. The chief benefit of wood, in comparison to concrete, is that it is a renewable building material. If trees are planted at a reasonable rate to replace the ones that are harvested for building, there will always be enough wood. In addition, treated wood is often durable enough for use in multiple projects. There is a healthy market for reclaimed wood from old buildings that have been demolished. The trick for construction businesses is to ensure that the wood you buy for your projects is sustainable.

Bamboo
Bamboo is emerging as an effective alternative for both concrete and wood. The problem with concrete is that it generates significant carbon emissions in manufacture, transport and disposal. The problem with wood is that it can take years or even decades to replace the species commonly used in building. By comparison, bamboo only takes 3 to 5 years to regenerate. Companies are still coming up with the best ways to use bamboo. However, the latest innovations are increasing its strength and durability, making it an effective building material at least for small structures.

Figuring out how to use less concrete is a sustainable act for your contracting business. To find out more about what you’ll need to run a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Tell Friends and Family You’re Starting a Career in Construction

Every career change starts with a lot of thinking on your part. It’s exciting and full of questions and dreams about future opportunities. While your friends and family members might be as eager as you are, there are some who could need some persuading. After all, changes can be unexpected. Here are a few ways you can show your loved ones all the reasons to look forward to your construction career.

Talk About the Labor Shortage
For decades, the discussion about careers has centered around one specific point: Can you get a job doing the work you’re working toward? Long ago, your career was often set for you by your parents. These days, pursuing a particular career only works if you have a decent chance to get the job you’re looking for. The good news is that construction has virtually boundless opportunities at the moment. If you’re dedicated and willing to work for it, you’ll find careers with great pay and wonderful job security until you’re ready to retire. So many other industries can’t even hint at that kind of potential anymore. Now your loved ones need to hear it.

Show Your Enthusiasm
When you’re listening to someone who is really excited about something, that kind of energy is contagious. It’s easy to feel optimistic about career options when you feel good about them. So take a moment and think about all the things you’re looking forward to:

  • Do you love seeing a project through to its conclusion?
  • Do you enjoy building things from the ground up?
  • Have you always wanted to start your own business or be able to set your own terms for your work?

These are all benefits that you can get from a construction career.

Describe Construction’s Future
Construction is both one of the oldest professions and one of the most modern. Everyone needs a place to live, work, shop, relax, etc. And since buildings don’t last forever, there’s a regular cycle of renovation and new construction needed. With advancements in the industry, you can find plenty of ways to do what construction does best while learning and using the latest technology. To put it plainly, construction is a lot cooler than it used to be. And it will continue to get better over time.

Explain Your Career Options
As with any career change, it’s good to show that you have options for growth and upward mobility. Take a moment to share the types of jobs you’re looking to have, not just once you’re done with training but 10 or 20 years in the future. Within any field, there may be lots of ways that you can perform the same type of job. For example, some contractors prefer to start their own businesses. Others want to work with a larger firm that offers a variety of services.

Walk Through Your Career Plan
With any career worth pursuing, you might have to spend a few years investing your time into practicing your trade. If you were going to college to get a degree, you’d have to put in a similar amount of time, or even more. Your friends and family members want to know that you have a career plan in mind, not simply a job that you can have for a time. Show them what you plan to do for the next five or 10 years, like getting your contractor’s license or starting your own business. They’ll appreciate the investment you have already put in and will be able to see that you have a good plan in place.

When you’re excited about your career in construction, your family and friends will be happy to see you so committed to your future. To get started, visit CSLS today!