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Discussion Starter #1
First of all I am not a contractor, but I have been thinking about it. I'm 14 years old and I've really been thinking about what I want to do career-wise. I know that I want to do something in the field of construction or architecture, but I am not exactly sure what I want to do. My dad works for a contractor that does HVAC and I like his lifestyle a lot better than my parents. I feel it will support the kind of lifestyle I want to live. I've did research online about being a contractor but that still doesn't give me a good perspective of what y'all do. I seen this app on my iPod and thought it would be a great chance to gain some knowledge of what it's really like to be a contractor. Could you tell me what it's really like to be a contractor based on your personal experience and knowledge, so I could have a better understanding and find out if this is a career I want to pursue? Tell me what an average day is like like in your shoes. I don't want the fancy job description you get off of a career website, I want to know what this career is really like when it comes down to actually doing it yourself. I know you are busy throughout the day, but any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time,

-Zach
 

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First of all I am not a contractor, but I have been thinking about it. I'm 14 years old and I've really been thinking about what I want to do career-wise.

I know that I want to do something in the field of construction or architecture, but I am not exactly sure what I want to do. My dad works for a contractor that does HVAC and I like his lifestyle a lot better than my parents.

I feel it will support the kind of lifestyle I want to live. I've did research online about being a contractor but that still doesn't give me a good perspective of what y'all do.

I seen this app on my iPod and thought it would be a great chance to gain some knowledge of what it's really like to be a contractor.

Could you tell me what it's really like to be a contractor based on your personal experience and knowledge, so I could have a better understanding and find out if this is a career I want to pursue? Tell me what an average day is like like in your shoes. I don't want the fancy job description you get off of a career website, I want to know what this career is really like when it comes down to actually doing it yourself.

I know you are busy throughout the day, but any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time,

-Zach
First thought Zach, learn to communicate effectively (no matter what field you decide to work in).

For long posts (like yours), use some paragraph spacing, it makes it MUCH easier to read, especially for some of the "old folks", who may have a lot to offer you.

Spelling and punctuation come in a close second (at least online), but it's all about communication.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yea I probably should have done that, I'm sorry. I'll be sure to do that from now on. Thanks for the information!
 

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No problem, good on you for taking the advice without pissin' your panties, like a lot of "grown men" on the site. :laughing:

Take some time and read the forums, especially the "Business" and "Marketing" forums, as it will give you an idea of what business owners are going through/thinking about.
 

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In high school, take whatever Accounting classes are offered. Take some more after hs...and keep taking them.

At least you'll know when you're not making any money, a problem that a lot in the trades constantly seem to have.

If you can keep the books, and read a balance sheet, it will give a huge head start over someone who has no clue what an Income Statement is, promise ya.
 

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In high school, take whatever Accounting classes are offered. Take some more after hs...and keep taking them.

At least you'll know when you're not making any money, a problem that a lot in the trades constantly seem to have.

If you can keep the books, and read a balance sheet, it will give a huge head start over someone who has no clue what an Income Statement is, promise ya.
This is VERY sound advice Zach.... from one of the wisest wizards on this forum.

Heck, I'm impressed by your post. Jay has typed more words in three posts responding to you, than he did all last month in 30 posts to the rest of the forum. :whistling

But, Jay is the master of few words that speak volumes.
 

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I would go see if you could help someone out for a week over the summer. I think hearing from people in the field is one thing but trying it out for yourself is another. Im 19 and decided to go into construction at about your age. I went and worked for a few different people before deciding to go into the industry. I would go try it for yourself and then decide what you wanna do. Just my $.02
 

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I would go see if you could help someone out for a week over the summer.

I think hearing from people in the field is one thing but trying it out for yourself is another. Im 19 and decided to go into construction at about your age.

I went and worked for a few different people before deciding to go into the industry. I would go try it for yourself and then decide what you wanna do. Just my $.02
This is what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yea I'm gonna try and get my dad to take me to work with him a week or two this summer. What's the difference between a contractor and a construction manager?
 

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To put it simply construction managers oversee all the work being done and coordinate it. Where as contractors preform the actual work. Im going to school right now for a degree in construction managment so if you have questions about going to school for it feel free to ask.
 

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Imo These are the most important skills

1. Be a good money manager. Sometimes you have lots of money rolling in, sometimes not. If you manage well, the highs and lows cancel themselves out. As a contractor you have money at your disposal that you need to manage properly. For example, you get a $15,000 deposit for a kitchen reno, DO NOT spend foolishly, many men have gone bankrupt because they don't have the skills or discipline to manage finances.

2.Do the job properly. If you want to get in this business, you should strive to be the best in your field. This is how you will make a long term successful name for yourself. If you are a butcher, you may make a living, but it will be for the wrong clientele. Be the best, and work for the people who will pay for the best.

3.Be prepared to work more than 8 hrs a day. This job typically requires an 8 hr workday, plus in the evenings and weekends you will need to do invoicing, estimates, Materials takeoffs etc. I work 50hrs a week normally.

4.Learn to think of yourself as a businessman, not just a tradesman.
If you want to be successful, it is important to carry yourself professionally, do what you commit to, charge what you said you will charge, don't make promises you can't keep. This industry is held in low regard with the general public partly because many guys out there act like a bunch of morons. They cheat steal and lie. Don't be one of those guys. Treat the homeowners home better than your own. In my experience, many homeowners are reluctant to allow contractors into their home because they think we are gorillas, don't be a gorilla.

5. Did I mention be a good money manager?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I want a job with enough pay that I don't have to worry about being able to pay the bills and I don't have to live paycheck to paycheck.

I want to work hands on, doing at least some of the work. I'd rather be out in the field doing the work instead of overseeing it be done.

Does a contractor work alongside his workers or does he organize it, plan it out, and then supervise the work being done? If contracting is a kind of job where you don't get down and get your hands dirty, then what are some careers like that which you can pursue with a construction management degree?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
JT Wood said:
Imo These are the most important skills

1. Be a good money manager. Sometimes you have lots of money rolling in, sometimes not. If you manage well, the highs and lows cancel themselves out. As a contractor you have money at your disposal that you need to manage properly. For example, you get a $15,000 deposit for a kitchen reno, DO NOT spend foolishly, many men have gone bankrupt because they don't have the skills or discipline to manage finances.

2.Do the job properly. If you want to get in this business, you should strive to be the best in your field. This is how you will make a long term successful name for yourself. If you are a butcher, you may make a living, but it will be for the wrong clientele. Be the best, and work for the people who will pay for the best.

3.Be prepared to work more than 8 hrs a day. This job typically requires an 8 hr workday, plus in the evenings and weekends you will need to do invoicing, estimates, Materials takeoffs etc. I work 50hrs a week normally.

4.Learn to think of yourself as a businessman, not just a tradesman.
If you want to be successful, it is important to carry yourself professionally, do what you commit to, charge what you said you will charge, don't make promises you can't keep. This industry is held in low regard with the general public partly because many guys out there act like a bunch of morons. They cheat steal and lie. Don't be one of those guys. Treat the homeowners home better than your own. In my experience, many homeowners are reluctant to allow contractors into their home because they think we are gorillas, don't be a gorilla.

5. Did I mention be a good money manager?
:laughing: That fifth one was funny. I didn't see your reply until after I was done with mine. That's very useful information.

I don't think I would have trouble managing the money as long as I have a good education, the part I'm worried about is that I would have to be more of a businessman than a tradesman.

I wouldn't mind some of the business, I just would like my main focus to be in the trade I specialize in. Is contracting more of a business career, or a trade career?
 

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Good questions, all.

FIRST-------Be a business man first of all, learn business, learn accounting, learn business law. You have youth on your side, meaning, you have the time to get good at all this stuff, while you learn some of the trades...be it carpentry, plumbing, electrical...etc.

Get your education first, you are a fool if you do not. Repeat.
 

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Whether or not you get to be hands on depends alot on the size of a company. If your solo you do everything from planning to actually constructing it.

If its a larger company typically you spend less time working hands on and more time planning the work out, supervising, dealing with clients and finding new jobs. Your employees do all the hands on work.

With a CM degree you can pretty much get into any type of manager position on jobsites. But this doesnt really provide any hands on work its generally supervising.

Hope this answers your questions:thumbsup:
 

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Stay in school. Unless you want to be Half crippled and always angry by the time your 40.


I'm only 25, but I'm on my way haha
 

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Discussion Starter #20
J F said:
Good questions, all.

FIRST-------Be a business man first of all, learn business, learn accounting, learn business law. You have youth on your side, meaning, you have the time to get good at all this stuff, while you learn some of the trades...be it carpentry, plumbing, electrical...etc.

Get your education first, you are a fool if you do not. Repeat.
Yea, there's no doubt I will focus on education.
I am fortunate enough to have Mr.Shoemaker as my Tech Ed teacher.

He is the greatest teacher I've ever had and I'm sure he will never be beat. He says they key to success in anything is preparation.
 
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