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Necessary skills for a successful builder

You may be a do it yourself hobbyists, you may be someone already working for an existing building company. Either way, you would like to set yourself up in business as a builder and I don't blame you, it can be a very exciting and interesting life. Like every other business though there are many pitfalls that newcomers do not anticipate, and having set up a building company myself, and having fallen into most of these pitfalls at some time or other before building up a successful business, I feel I am well-qualified to advise newcomers. If you are going to make a success of your own business, there are a few basic essentials, and you need to ask yourself the following questions;

(1) have you got enough money behind you? If you are running a business there will be materials to pay for, a van to run, possibly staff to pay, overheads such as advertising, telephone, membership of professional bodies, insurance, and all of these add up to a substantial sum which you have to find before you can even begin to make a profit.

(2) are you comfortable at selling? Before you can work you will need to have clients, and when you first approach these clients you will be a total stranger to them. You will need to build to convince them that you will do a good job for them, and that the price you will be asking will be fair.

(3) are you versatile? Most building jobs require multiple skills; but in many cases the amount of work that needs to be done does not justify bringing in a skilled tradesmen. For example, if you are fitting some pipes behind a studded petition the skills necessary will be plumbing, joinery, and plastering. Obviously you cannot bring in a plumber, Joiner and plasterer for a relatively small job, so would you be capable of doing all these jobs yourself, or do you have a competent employee?

(4) are you familiar with the builders merchants and other sources of supply within your locality? Sometimes doing a job is the easy part; finding the necessary materials can take many times as long! You need to know not only where the builders merchants are but what sort of stock they carry, what their prices are like, how efficient they are at delivery. It is also useful to be aware of any demolition merchants in your area; particularly when doing external work materials are very often needed to match up to existing, and with older properties this can often mean finding weathered, used materials.

(5) are you choosy? If you order materials from builders merchants, sometimes the quality is not what you expect particularly if you are buying timber which which can be warped, twisted, split or even already contain fungal infection. You need to be willing to spend time picking out materials, and time is money. See the page about selecting building materials.

(6) do you have a source of work, or a means of advertising your services?

(7) can you handle the day-to-day paperwork which is necessary for any business?

(7) finally, are you fit enough for the job? Builders work involves a fair amount of heavy lifting, sometimes for long periods of time, and often in all types of weather. Some others love this sort of life; others could hate it!

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