How to Become a Concrete Contractor

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While the construction industry is fairly competitive, there is always room for qualified individuals to start new companies. Those looking to start a concrete company will find opportunities ranging from small residential projects to multi-level commercial jobs. New entrants into the field must be prepared for hard work and tough competition, especially during the first year of operation. By producing consistent, quality projects and delivering work as promised, you can make your concrete company a success.

Gain experience in the concrete industry. No matter how broad your knowledge on a topic, there is no better preparation for having your own business then getting some solid work experience in the field. With an industry such as concrete, you should try to get a combination of field experience and office experience. This will expose you to working with the material directly and dealing with suppliers, contractors and homeowners.

Decide what your target market will be. A concrete company can focus on commercial work, such as schools, offices and public works projects, or residential work, such as pouring patios and walkways in people's yards. There are few concrete companies that do both commercial and residential work, as the equipment, tools and level of expertise involved varies greatly between the two. Decide upfront where you'd like to focus your efforts.

Create a business plan. Even if you don't think you'll need it for external financing, putting your business plan on paper can help you stay focused on the most important tasks of your business. Include your target markets, your company philosophy and mission, and projected financial information. Revisiting this plan semi-annually can help keep your company on track.

Purchase or lease equipment. In the residential field, you can get away with small mixers and tools purchased at a home improvement store. For commercial work, you'll need company vehicles, heavy-duty mixers and professional quality tools.

Take care of the legal aspects of starting a business. With a concrete company, you might want to consult a lawyer about forming a corporation or LLC in order to protect your personal assets. You'll also need to obtain liability, worker's compensation and company auto insurance.

Find a reliable supplier. Most concrete contractors arrange for a concrete supplier to deliver pre-mixed concrete to the job site as they work. Due to weather, scheduling and drying concerns, you need a supplier who has the capacity to deliver concrete when you need it. Meet with several suppliers and ask for references before making a selection.

Market your company. To get your foot in the door in the commercial world, start with the Blue Book's BB Bid system. The Blue Book is a free book that lists every contractor in the U.S. by region. You'll find a copy at nearly every contractor's office in the country. It's free to get your company listed, and contractors will begin inviting you to bid on projects fairly quickly once you're listed. Meet with local contractors as well, and request that your company be added to their bid list. For residential work, ask friends and family to spread the word.