How to Start as a Contractor in the Construction Industry

women in construction industry

The construction industry is an underrated force in the Australian economy, despite the latter’s reliance on the commodities and natural resources that it exports globally each and every year.  And women are a growing part of the construction industry.  In Australia,  women make up 11% of the construction industry.   And women earn an average 99.1 percent of what men make.

To this end, the construction sector down under generates in excess of $360 billion in revenue per annum, accounting for a hefty 9% of Australia’s GDP in the process. The market also has a projected annual growth rate of 2.4% over the course of the next five years, despite the fact that a growing number of key components and equipment are now being imported from overseas.

As you can imagine, the sheer size of the market and rising demand for both residential and commercial property throughout Australia makes it an attractive proposition for aspiring contractors, regardless of the challenges that they may face within this space. With this in mind, here are some steps to you launch yourself as a contractor in the modern-day construction sector.

Create a Viable Business Plan (Even if you Don’t Require Funding)

Often, contractors in the construction sector can launch without significant investment, as they’re able to minimise initial overheads by basing themselves at home and hiring the bulk of their equipment on a project-to-project basis.

While this negates the need to create an actionable business plan, however, we’d still recommend going through this process and ensuring that you have a clear understanding of your pricing, finances and long-term growth plans.

This also forces you to set actionable goals with regards to financial forecasting, while prompting you to consider legal aspects such as taxation, insurance and health and safety legislation (we’ll have a little more on this later).

This type of attention to detail can certainly afford you a competitive edge as a contractor, particularly with the market set to grow incrementally in the near-term.

Equip Yourself to Provide a Functional Service

Of course, there are a number of different services provided by contractors in the construction sector, from plumbing and heating to the installation of electrics at the end of a new-build projects.

With this in mind, the precise equipment that you need to work within the sector will vary from one contractor to another, but it’s important to understand this in detail before starting out.

You should also distinguish between affordable, key components and large-scale equipment, as while you’ll need a permanent source of the former the latter should be hired on the basis of each individual project.

For example, electricians must always have conduit and tubing on hand, as these components are used to help feed wiring through domestic walls and are available relatively cheaply through suppliers such as RS Components.

However, scarcely-used tools and hardware should be hired on an ad-hoc basis as a way of reducing start-up costs and optimising cash flow in real-time.

Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

We spoke earlier about the importance of understanding your legal requirements, as this enables you to operate compliantly in the construction sector and avoid potential complications and legal challenges in the future.

The first step is to ensure that you’re aware of the latest standards and regulations within the sector, which also involves securing the necessarily permits and accreditation to carry out specific, specialist tasks.

At the same time, you must understand and comply with your tax requirements, which will vary depending on the structure of your venture and the precise way in which you work.

Many contractors operate as sole traders, but this may not offer the necessary protections if you intend to employ others and develop your business model further.

In terms of insurance, you’ll need to invest in public liability coverage as the bare minimum if you intend to work in people’s home. We’d also recommend liaising with tax and insurance experts to understand your responsibilities further and make for more informed decisions going forward.