Saturday, 18 May 2024

Professional Contractor Careers In Tennessee: Everything You Need To Know To Succeed

Do you aspire to work as a professional contractor in Tennessee? The state’s general contractors tend to enjoy good job stability, competitive wages, and work flexibility. Before applying to local contracting companies, though, it’s a good idea to dive deep into the contracting industry, including knowing what to expect and how to become a licensed contractor.

A construction worker in an orange hard hat and safety vest works on a rebar framework, symbolizing Tennessee's robust contracting industry
Tennessee’s general contractors are known for their expertise in residential and commercial projects, ensuring job stability and competitive wages in the construction industry.

What Do Tennessee’s General Contractors Do?

Tennessee’s contractors complete residential or commercial repairs and renovations. In Tennessee, you must have a general contracting license to complete any work valued over $25,000 (including materials). Additionally, any general contractor who works on certain household structures must have a contracting license, regardless of the value of the work, including electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and roofing.

Some contracting projects may require specialized knowledge, too, even if an additional license isn’t a requirement. Home projects like installing garage doors or repairing water damage will typically require previous experience.

How Do I Become a Tennessee General Contractor?

Becoming a Tennessee general contractor requires the completion of training and testing. All aspiring contractors must successfully pass the state exam, which is typically made up of two parts: business and law. General contractors who want to complete specialized work will need a separate license.

If you’re interested in becoming a general contractor, the first step is to choose a Tennessee contractors license certification class. Online classes allow you to study on your own time, and prep tests can almost guarantee that you’ll do well on the official exam. Of course, you’ll also want to review the available licenses to ensure you choose the right one. For example, the Tennessee residential and small commercial contractor license allows workers to work on one to four-family residences valued under $1.5M. A restricted residential contractor license is an option for newer workers, limiting contractors to work valued up to $125,000.

What Else Do I Need To Become a Tennessee General Contractor?

The specific requirements will vary, depending on the license you’re seeking. However, as a general rule, Tennessee requires testing, insurance, and documentation to become a licensed general contractor. You must submit proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. You’ll also need financial documents prepared by a licensed CPA, a letter of reference highlighting your trade experience, and a signed and notarized application.

How Much Do General Contractors Make in Tennessee?

The average annual salary for a general contractor in Tennessee is $22.57 per hour. However, many general contractors make most of their income through overtime work. With overtime, general contractors in Tennessee may earn an additional $7,000 per year. Some general contractors may earn more based on their compensation packages, including health insurance, 401(k) benefits, and paid time off.

Starting your own business is also an excellent way to increase earnings when working as a general contractor. Home repairs and renovations are continually in demand, making the construction industry a good business type to consider. Business owners have to factor in expenses, which may include payroll, licensing fees, taxes, and marketing but have the freedom to set their prices. You can also adjust your pricing model to accommodate your costs better as needed.

Where Do General Contractors Work?

General contractors can work in many different environments. Some general contractors may work full-time with a large employer who builds residential or commercial buildings. Some top large construction employers in Tennessee include the PulteGroup and R.C. Matthews Contractor Services. Smaller construction companies also are often willing to hire new contractors.

Other general contractors may start their own small businesses and offer services to smaller clients. It’s important, though, to note that even when offering general contracting services on a smaller scale, licensure is still a requirement in Tennessee if the work exceeds $25,000 or includes any of the special services listed above. 

Many general contractors go on to start their own businesses once they have the necessary skills and knowledge. Tennessee general contractor laws also apply to subcontractors, so training and certification are still a requirement for any employee you may hire. Also Read – How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer

Do You Have To Renew a Tennessee Contractor License? What Are the Requirements?

Tennessee requires all general contractor licensees to renew their licenses every two years. Renewal requires eight hours of continuing education. Once you complete the educational requirement, you can submit the online application and $200 fee online. Ongoing license renewal is an important part of ensuring Tennessee’s contractors are up-to-date on the latest safety and legal requirements.

A career as a general contractor in Tennessee can be high-paying and provide you with consistent work. Before you begin bidding on or accepting jobs, though, you’ll need a valid license. Online study courses are an excellent way to learn everything you need to know to complete the exam successfully.