How to Start Your Own Small Construction Company

by Ian Linton; Updated September 26, 2017
Framework at construction site

Starting a small construction company that can grow depends heavily on economic conditions. With higher numbers of construction starts, increasing employment in the industry and growth in spending, the construction industry is set for expansion, according to research firm Jones, Lang, Lasalle.

Develop Essential Skills

To start and run a small construction company, you need an understanding of construction techniques, so you can plan and estimate projects. You need good supervisory skills so you can select and manage employees and contractors on site. To acquire or improve skills, you can use the education and training resources of an organization like the Associated General Contractors of America.

Research Market Opportunities

Small construction companies can take on a range of projects, including new builds, refurbishments and extensions to existing properties. You may decide to specialize in small projects such as loft conversions or patios, or tackle the construction of small houses or commercial buildings. If you have traditional construction skills, you can offer a specialist service in renovating or repairing historic buildings.

Build a Team

You require workers with a range of skills to complete different types of projects. You may decide to employ full-time workers with general building skills such as bricklaying, plastering and carpentry. To provide customers with services such as plumbing, electrical work and decorating, you can hire subcontractors or self-employed specialists on a job-by-job basis.

Set up Operations

To work efficiently, invest in essential equipment including cement mixers, ladders and power and hand tools, as well as a small truck to transport equipment and materials to site. To store equipment and materials securely, rent a yard with lock-up facilities. Identify suppliers who can provide specialist equipment such as scaffolding and demolition tools and building materials such as bricks, cement and plaster.

Understand Regulations

The construction industry is heavily regulated, so it’s essential to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Your work must comply with state and local building regulations that apply to energy efficiency, electrical and plumbing work. You must ensure your working practices comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Develop Administrative Processes

To run your business efficiently and protect your assets, develop a contract that covers scope of work, terms of payment, warranties, schedules and procedures for dispute resolution. If you plan to take on public-sector work, you must provide surety or performance bonds to ensure you complete work in accordance with the contract. The Building Trades Association provides a range of resources to help you develop contracts and obtain the right insurances and bonds.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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