The Essential Ingredients to Starting Your Own Business as a Builder
Most of us dream of being our own boss at some time or other. For an experienced builder, it might be easier to go it alone than you think.
If you have spent the last few years working as a builder or labourer for someone else, chances are you have thought more than once about going it alone. Surely with all those little weekend jobs that family and friends keep offering, you could soon develop a business through word of mouth?
The potential rewards can certainly make it a profitable move, but before you can start counting those millions, there are some basics you need to implement in terms of licences, permits, builder’s insurance and qualifications. With these in place, you can set yourself apart as a real professional, and not just another “man in a van.”
For anything beyond the most basic of construction work, you will need to be able to confirm compliance with building regulations. The most cost effective way is to become a “competent person” – this means you can self-certify and save the time and expense of calling in a building inspector to look at every job you complete.
There are a variety of schemes depending on the type of work you are doing, and the rules and fees vary.
As one of the most hazardous industries, you will also need to make sure you comply with the Construction Regulations of 2007. These set out the health and safety requirements for anyone carrying out building work. The best way to demonstrate compliance is through the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS).
Once in possession of a CSCS card, a world of new opportunities will open up, as for most public and an increasing number of private clients, this is a prerequisite to letting you on-site.
Public liability insurance is a must-have for any serious small business. It covers you for any compensation you have to pay out as a result of your business, such as injuries to members of the public or damage to their property. It also covers any associated legal fees. Although it is not a legal requirement, it is not worth going without it. A single claim could destroy the business, and many customers will want to see that you have cover in place before they will give you work.
Employers liability is mandatory if your business employs anyone else. The policy provides cover in the event that an employee suffers injury or illness as a result of their work.
Speak to a professional who can offer an overall builder’s insurance policy that covers all the essentials specific to your business. For example, you might wish to add tools and equipment to your policy.
As a competent person with a valid CSCS card and appropriate insurance in place, you are ready to go. However, there are some other more specialist qualifications that you might wish to consider in order to maximise your potential.
These include joining the Gas Safe register (formerly known as CORGi) for working on gas appliances, or obtaining a NICEIC certificate for electrical work.
Adding these extra strings to your bow can make all the difference when a client is looking for a single contractor who can cover a range of jobs.