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How to start a contracting business - Becoming a Contractor

Becoming a Contractor: A Brief Business Guide

Construction spending in Canada is skyrocketing, reports Statista – from 320 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 to an expected 333 billion by 2025. The demand is high and the supply limited, making this a great time to enter the construction industry and become a contractor. It could be very lucrative and there’s plenty of long-term potential. If this is something you’re interested in doing, BusinessBea offers this mini-guide on opening your own contracting business to help kickstart your journey. 

What kind of contracting business would you like to own? 

Before you begin, you must be clear about the type of contracting business you would like to own. Contractors – be they freelancers, employees, or business owners – have specializations. For instance, there are commercial contractors, residential contractors, and contractors who work exclusively for the government. 

Furthermore, according to Levelset, contractors may also take on only a certain type of work – landscaping, drywall, roofing, painting, and excavation, for example. Finally, you have general contractors who supervise every part of a building project.   

Get educated and comply with the legal requirements

Depending on your chosen specialization, you may want to pursue a degree in civil engineering, architecture, or similar. There are also vocational schools that offer short-term programs in a variety of construction-related disciplines. Furthermore, you may be able to acquire relevant skills by apprenticing with a contractor. Regardless of your educational background, you will need solid business sense and skills related to your area of specialization. 

You will need a license to be a contractor, enter new markets, hire employees, bid on projects, and more. The government of Canada lists the legal (and educational) requirements of owning a construction business. Besides a license, you will need to register your business, get a permit, and more.

Spend time and energy on your business plan 

A business plan is a document that helps you get your budding business organized. It covers everything from conceptualization and market research to sales and support. A good business plan will include your company details, how you’ll market your services, your business structure, and funding and financial projections. It’s well worth your time to make this document. 

Focus on team-building and networking 

Construction projects require a range of skills such as architecture, design, carpentry, and woodworking. Then there’s the business side of things: administration, sales, marketing, legal, and more. You will need to find skilled people to work with. Networking can get you in touch with the right people, not to mention find mentors who can offer guidance.  

Outsource tasks to reduce your burden 

Most small contractors and companies outsource tasks on an as-needed basis. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and makes it easier to run your business. For instance, you can choose to work with companies providing business process outsourcing services – you’ll be able to hire qualified remote virtual assistants or professionals for necessary tasks. Before working with an agency, check their rates and reviews. 

Use software to be more productive

You can use apps to be more productive, not to mention save money. For instance, bookkeeping solutions help you keep track of your finances, taxes, and invoicing. You can use project management tools to organize your teams and get work done on time. Also, there are specialized tools for the construction industry that are worth checking out. 

Market to be more successful 

Marketing is essential for success. You’ll need to run online and offline initiatives to capture new customers and keep existing ones engaged. You may want to explore digital marketing strategies like social media advertising, email marketing, PPC, content marketing, cross-promotions, and more. 

Set up a professional business website

Having a website makes you more accessible and easy to research. It’s also a boon for marketing. Featuring an eye-catching banner on your website, for instance, can make you seem more professional and memorable. You can use an online banner maker to create a customized banner. Once you find a banner that fits your brand, personalize it further by adding text, color, font, and animation or video. 


As a business owner, you will have many challenges to overcome. The key to success is being open to learning, taking risks, and not giving up too soon. Having a solid team at your back – whether you outsource tasks or hire professionals in-house – will maximize your chances of success.