Are you looking to start or expand your own construction business? There has never been a better time to start up your own contracting outfit. Demand for general contractors is through the roof-with some areas experiencing waitlists that can stretch for months.
And no matter the size of your construction business, there are a few basic pieces of equipment that are going to be essential. Let’s look at everything a general contractor will need pre-job and on-site, as well as equipment that will help ensure a job is well done.
“Must Have” Equipment for General Contractors
As anyone in the construction business can tell you, there are pieces of equipment you rely on every day, such as a simple hammer, and there are those that you hope to rarely call on, such as expensive earth moving equipment. The typical rental costs for a tower crane alone can quickly add up. For this reason alone, depending on your niche in the industry, it can make sense to purchase equipment that will be used regularly.
Starting a Job
Before starting any job, it is often essential to take a few important steps. In most jurisdictions, architectural plans will have to be drawn up and submitted for building permits and code verification. Further proof of business licenses may be required, depending on your state or localities regulations.
A clear timeline and budget should be shared with the client, be sure to budget for delays and overruns (20% extra as a budgetary contingency is standard). Clients are always much happier if work is finished earlier and cheaper than expected versus vice-versa.
And, of course, there are a few things that every business should ensure every employee who shows up on sight should have. This includes personal equipment such as:
- Hard hats
- Protective eyewear
- Steel-toed boots
- Respirators (as required)
- Harnesses (if working at heights or on roofs)
The above safety equipment should be used by even non-laboring workers such as architects or managers that happen to be on site. In addition, those working up a sweat will want to make sure they are properly prepared with a good pair of work gloves, a toolbelt, and coveralls or overalls.
What equipment will be required on-site for your outfit will largely be determined by your particular line of work. Foundation crews will need different tools than plumbers, for example.
As noted above, larger firms may wish to look into purchasing or renting their own heavy equipment as necessary. The details of which will be delved into below.
Larger projects may require machines such as:
- and more!
Renting Versus Owning Equipment: Which is Best?
Looking at the above list of equipment and dollar signs can quickly start adding up. Heavy machinery can be an expensive outlay and, if your construction niche requires it, purchasing some pricey pieces of equipment may be necessary. Those looking for a good deal should consider the used market. Even reputable manufacturers such as John Deere will often have certified used equipment that can save buyers a bundle when compared to the price of new stock.
Of course, if the use of such machinery will be limited to a smaller number of days, renting can make economic sense. For example, renting a 14 ft backhoe for a day is costly at $411, however, longer-term rentals can help renters economize, as the same model can be rented for $1084 weekly.
Cleaning and Management
One part of ensuring a smooth operation is dealing with issues such as debris and dust as a job progresses. Not only can keeping an organized workspace prevent unnecessary headaches later, especially since most construction site accidents can be attributed to negligence in this matter such as slips and falls.
And it isn’t just safety reasons that make cleaning and managing a site so important, as an organized worksite is an efficient worksite, and this benefits all stakeholders. One aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to efficient work site management is the importance of having a good waste management process—failing to take rubbish disposal seriously is a rookie mistake.
Useful accessories for waste management can include:
- Self-dumping hoppers: great for collecting large amounts of refuse in one area for safe and easy disposal
- Access to facilities for the crew (a portable toilet)
- Two-way radios for easier communication on larger sites
And besides equipment, there are more intangible measures that can be taken that will help with organization and workflow. This includes putting in place best-practice safety standards that can go a long way towards ensuring a happy and safe worksite. And while manual labor may often seem to be a cheaper solution versus relying on equipment, in reality, the right tools can save from the expense of having to deal with downtime due to injury or fatigue on the job site.
Also read: Important Construction Safety Tips to Know
Start Small and Grow Slow
In the end, the best solution for any construction business’s needs is to grow organically and to pick up new equipment only as necessary to a new job or client. This will help ensure that any business doesn’t get too ahead of itself.
As should be clear by now, those in the construction business have a wide swath of equipment that some could consider “basic.” However, we hope you may have been inspired by the choices highlighted above and that you hopefully have learned something new. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and comments and thank you for reading!