As a contractor, you already wear a lot of hats. Business owner. Manager. Master of at least one construction skill. For the most part, you focus on the management portion of the construction biz, subcontracting out the different skills needed and acting as the ring-leader of the three-ring circus that is the building industry. You can still swing a hammer, but you’re usually too busy with the day-to-day management duties to be in the trenches.
But then things start to slow down. There are fewer structures being built and therefore, fewer projects for you to manage. However, people still need kitchens remodeled, bathrooms refreshed and new porches and patios. Even though you’ve spent the last few years as a general contractor, maybe it’s time to learn a new skill, something you can fall back on when building slows down.
What Did You Want to Do?
We seriously doubt you woke up one morning as an 8-year-old and decided you wanted to be a general contractor. It’s more likely that you wanted to be an electrician or a plumber or a carpenter, and after years of working in those trades, you fell into contractor work. Is going back to working your primary trade an option? Do you still enjoy doing it? If so, do you need to hone your skills or get additional certifications? It might be worth it if it means another viable revenue stream.
What Interests You Now?
Okay, so maybe you don’t really want to work in your original trade anymore. Maybe that’s why you became a GC to begin with. Are there any other trades that interest you? Does installing specialized lighting tickle your fancy? How about installing outdoor kitchens? Have you ever been on a job, seen a completed project and thought, “That’s something I’d like to try and tackle someday”? Maybe that pursuit could make a good second income stream for you. Of course, it would depend on how much additional skill, education or licensing you may need, but even if you started from scratch, if it’s a skill you want to add, the expense and time commitment could be well worth it.
What is the big thing that everyone is clamoring to do for their properties? Are people jonesing for outdoor living and kitchen areas? Are upgrading patio and pool areas all the rage? Investigate the more popular remodeling trends in your area and if any of these interest you, add them as a side gig.
Adding to your skillset is never a bad thing because you can never know how to do too much. And when work slows in one area, having skills in other areas means that you can just put on a different tool belt and keep working. If you’re lacking in the skills area (and let’s be real, it’s not hard for that to happen, especially if you’ve spent years working in one specific area), it’s never too late to gain additional skills to make yourself more marketable and employable. So, think about what you’d like to add to your stable of skills, look around at what’s popular in your area and add that skill now.
Do you have another skill set you fall back on when contracting work is slow?