What Does It Take to Become a Contractor?

If you have undertaken home renovations or any construction project, you have probably considered calling a general contractor.

A general contractor is a skilled individual when it comes to project management. They handle day-to-day responsibilities and call in specialists if needed. This job demands big picture skills and a lot of hands-on expertise. Becoming a GC involves many steps, from passing state and sometimes national exams to building business relation skills.

Whether you are a professional or someone looking to learn more about who helps in these projects, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn what it takes to become a contractor!


Contractors spend a lot of time building the necessary skills for both their craft and their business management. The job requires experience to manage construction projects from beginning to end! Most contractors build these skills through hands-on work or higher education. If you want to enroll in a professional construction academy, make sure that it is BCA attc certified. Learn more about BCA attc.

A contractor might have a degree in construction management or have decades of experience on the job. Regardless of how they got there, GCs tend to have these skills:

  • Budget Management
  • Project Management
  • Knowledge of Permit Processes
  • Building and Safety Code Knowledge
  • Communication and Client Relation Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Construction Knowledge

Contractor Exam Prep

A reputable, legal general contractor will have licensure. To earn this license, they have to pass an extensive exam based on state requirements.

These licenses can be at the state, county, or city level. The contractor exam prep is no joke, so just working with a licensed professional puts them on a superior level.

Typically, every licensed contractor will have passed exams on the following:

  • Contracts
  • Business Structure and Organization
  • Bids and Estimates
  • Financial Management
  • Safety and Risk Control
  • Business and Construction Law

If your GC has worked to prep and pass these exams, you have a reliable professional attending your project.


Just like contractors should have licensure, they should also have insurance.

Business insurance is a critical layer of protection between mistakes or accidents on the job and the client. Becoming a GC involves working with clients, subcontractors, employees, and more. As such, substantial insurance will protect the business, client, and professional reputation.

Build a Reputation

One of the most critical steps in becoming a contractor is building a strong business reputation. With skills, a license, and insurance, you have the base of a dependable contractor. The final level is a professional reputation.

Often the best reputations have a strong foundation in these vital aspects.

Contractor Community

A GC has to know when to pull in a specialist. Their network and connections to other construction pros will be essential to their reputation. This community helps with word-of-mouth business and having connections with highly-qualified specialist subcontractors.

Proven Record

A sound basis for an excellent reputation comes from proving work ethic to clients through hard work and dependability. Becoming a contractor involves learning how to give each client individualized attention and creating a portfolio that inspires pride and admiration.


A contractor is a leader who motivates team members and brings out the best efforts of everyone involved in a project. A GC can approach problems with clarity to offer decisive, quick solutions. Leaders will also exercise effective communication skills.

Lifelong Learning

One of the last components of becoming a contractor is knowing it will be a lifelong learning process. There will always be changing regulations, codes, and emerging technology. A great contractor will continue learning throughout their entire career.


A great contractor will always ask for help when needed. They have done the work, gained the experience, and are ready to work hard to bring projects to life.