Specialist or Generalist? How to Choose for Your Contracting Business

When you decide to run a business, you’ll need to determine how many different kinds of services you intend to offer. Some people try to spread out their offering so that they can take advantage of demand in different areas. Other business owners prefer to stick to one or two services only. Here’s how to choose which one will be best for your contracting business.

Predictability vs. Variety
One of the benefits of starting your own business is that you get to decide which kinds of services you want to offer and how much each service represents your workload. This means that if you like predictability, you may prefer to limit the types of services you offer. This gives you the consistency of knowing exactly what to order and how long it will take to do certain tasks, because you do it every week. But if you prefer variety in projects, you can also have that. The ability to think on the fly and change what you’re doing from week to week can help you avoid getting too bored or complacent.

Demand for Services
The demand for services in your area may dictate the types and range of services that you can offer. For example, if you live in an area with a sparse population, or if you work in a niche field, you may need to branch out more than other people. On the other hand, if you live in a heavily-populated area with lots of competition in certain parts of your field, you may need to restrict your services to ensure that you can land the projects that you need for income. This may change from one year to the next, so it’s worth doing some research in advance.

Year-Round Income
Construction often has busy seasons and slow periods throughout the year. Although this is dependent on the condition of the market, it also relates to the outside temperature and the population. In order to keep a business going, you need to bring in a regular income. Without it, you may struggle to pay yourself and your employees, as well as the bills. At first, you may find that it’s easier to offer a wider variety of services. This way, you have a better chance of finding interested clients no matter what the weather looks like outside.

Expansion Opportunities
How you choose your services also depends on the way that you can expand and grow over time. This depends heavily on your field. For example, if you focus too much on a broad range of services, it may make it more difficult to get into specialties after you’ve been in the industry for several years. By comparison, limiting yourself to just one or two specific types of jobs may leave you unqualified to step up to the next rung on the ladder. You probably won’t need to make a decision right off the bat. But keeping these factors in mind will help you determine which is the best way to go forward.

Long-Term Relevance
Once contractors have a solid business with an established clientele, they tend to stay in that role for a long time. This means that you might have your business for 30 or 40 years or more. Think about how your job is going to change in that period of time. When you select services that you want to emphasize, do some research and consider whether or not you will be able to adapt them to work with new technologies and even new ways of thinking. Staying relevant over a period of decades is the best way to ensure long-term business success.

Choosing whether to be a specialist or a generalist is just one of many decisions you’ll make when you start your contracting business. First, you need to get your contractor’s license. To get started, visit us at CSLS today!

 

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