A person makes the decision to become a contractor. It’s easy. Now you are the boss; no one to tell you what to do, how to do it when to do it. Yes – It’s easy. It’s Morning, Are you ready?
In Washington State being a contractor is fee-based. If you are not choosing one of the mechanical trades, there are usually no addition tests or licensing. Each state has different rules. Some states have a General Contactor’s test that confirms you have the most basic construction skills. Others states start most contractors out under a Handyman License.
What are some of the things you thought about being when you grew up and out on your own?
From a small child, preschooler, then from grade school kid to the teenager to the adult.
I suspect you and your friends you never played contractor and customer; and yet life happened.
Most people pick up a few “Handy Skills” from living in a house, condo or apartment.
Simple common things that need to be fixed starting with hanging pictures on the wall (now it is the TV)
Add the surround sound, link your equipment together. Buy furniture, table and chairs, end tables, bed, take it out of the box and ASSEMBLE. The word ASSEMBLE is in almost every box. Add shelves, installing cabinets, changing light fixtures. Again, the word ASSEMBLE.
Go to the garage and add a few tools to work on the truck. Get a lawn mower, edger, wheelbarrow, and suddenly you have grown your “Do-It-Yourself Skills.” It actually happened over time, one task at a time.
Whether it happened because of most things the landlord took too long to come; it wasn’t part of what the landlord did (move, assemble furniture), or you own your first home, current home, and you are “oops” The Owner.
If you want something done you that cannot do – You need to call a Contractor, Landscaper, Pest Control. So the range of skills you have continues to increase. You may find all things mechanical easy.
My Father would tell stories about how as a small child I would help him work on cars.
Dad said, I got quite good at changing out carburetors (I don’t remember any of this).
But it might explain how I can hear “funny noises” that never seems to happen when I take the car to the mechanic. I guess he taught me by “ear” to hear when the car was out of tune. Maybe too, it would explain why I would rather shop for good quality Truck Tires than spend time at a Makeup Counter.
Now, my brother he became a mechanic. He is the Happiest when he is under the hood of a car.
Could I have become a mechanic? Yes, Probably. Would Randal have supported it? Yes, he would have then and now. I just never thought about it as an Opportunity.
The Opportunity of being a Contractor is a gift. It doesn’t matter if you are a One Man Band – Doing all of the work or have a larger business with Subcontractors and / or Employees.
- There are many paths that lead a person to become a contractor
- Trainee, skilled employee trusted employee, management, co-owner, owner
- Embracing the Opportunity to buy an existing business from someone else
- Embracing the Opportunity to be part owner of an existing business
- Embracing the Opportunity to start a business from scratch
The Why you became a Contractor is as varied as the number of the contractors that exist.
Parent is or was a contractor, and you became a contractor as a matter of tradition or by default
Career Changer who is thinking about career paths chosen and wants to do something different
An employee in another industry and Lost Your Job and needed to do “something.”
Many Contractors started out as being an employee for someone else. There is no risk as an employee and a guaranteed paycheck. Usually, more reasonable hours as employees can go home based on time served.
- Every contractor with employees embraces any motivated, conscious employees.
- Embracing the Opportunity to be part of business as a member of management team
- Embracing the Opportunity to be part of business as a skilled, trusted employee
- Willing to complete the needed tasks without watching the clock every minute
More money is only a short-term motivator. It will not motivate long term an employee with itchy feet, a bad attitude or poor skills. They will hide on the job, try to get fired, quit, skip on child support and have a variety of reasons to why they are doing poorly on the job before leaving.
Early To Bed, Early To Rise, Know Your Numbers And Advertise!
As the Contractor you have to be self-motivated to:
- Get out of bed
- Start Your Day
- Do what it takes to bring in the call
- Answer the call
- Find the customer
- Bid the job
- Win the job
- Get the material
- Coordinate the labor
- Get the job done
- Get paid
There is no one to tell you:
- What to do
- How to do It
- When to do it
External Forces try to be helpful by the combination of Nurture, Nudge, Nag. And only if you embrace it in the spirit which Nurture, Nudge, Nag are intended is it helpful (To Benefit You and Your Company) Too much of any of one those three things then the dynamics change.
Hard Feeling happen, and everyone involved becomes frustrated and unhappy. Spouses want to be helpful, but after being zapped – they stop. The Contractor gets zapped – and productive stuff stops.
An outside person (Bookkeeping Service) can ask for the same receipts, invoices, etc. as a spouse but it comes across differently. It’s because the “Personal Stuff” is not there. One of my earlier blogs I talked about “Tooth Paste Caps” and how the “Personal Stuff” carries over into the business and the “Business Stuff” carries back over into your personal life.
It is hard to turn off the business when you walk through the front door. As a small business owner – you are hardly ever “Off The Clock.” Enjoy The Moments. You have to have Self-Motivation to be successful.
The Self-Motivation may come from family and the desire to provide for your family. After all, who can turn down the adorable eyes of your spouse, little kids, puppies, kittens and the fun stuff you love to do.
I am not a cat person, yet at the office, I buy cat food in the 25# bag for the group of neighborhood cats who visit all day long on our covered deck. They have expectations, provide drama when they are not met; but they cannot actually motivate me to buy cat food, set out water, and upgrade their cushions.
I control what I do, when and if I do it. That does not stop the cats from banging on the door and singing loudly to get attention when they feel they are being ignored.
No one loves to do all the tasks that need to be done. Even if they did – The To Do List is never ending for a small business owner. The work is easier and more fun when you know you have the proper help with Processes, Systems, Software and the right people in place to do the things that others can do.
You as the Contractor (Business Owner) should delegate tasks, not abdicate responsibility. Keep control of your finances. There are simple Cash Management 101 tips that most people do not think about.
- Use Processes to be efficient on your daily tasks
- Use Systems to keep your business on track
- Use Software to manage to account
- Add Professionals As Needed
We would like to be one of the Professionals in your busy, business life.
Yes – We Can Help so you can do the parts of the business only you can do.
Look forward to chatting
Enjoy Your Day
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About The Author:
Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. http://www.fasteasyaccounting.com/sharie-dehart/ 206-361-3950 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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