How Can You Cut Costs While Starting A Construction Business?

Posted on: 11 September 2015

If you're considering turning your evening or weekend construction jobs into a full-time business, you may be wondering where to begin. Purchasing all the tools and equipment you think you may need immediately upon launching your business can be expensive, and could set you behind the 8-ball of debt before you even set up shop. How can you cut costs during the startup process while still maintaining your ability to perform a wide variety of work? Read on to learn more about some of the ways you can minimize the necessary costs of starting a construction business. 

What items are non-negotiable when starting a construction business?

Whether you're planning to work primarily on smaller projects (like outbuildings and decks) or plan to enter residential or commercial construction, there are a couple of items that can be crucial to your business's success.

First, you'll need a truck or SUV that can haul lumber, a fully loaded toolbox, and a crew -- potentially all at once. While the purchase of a brand new truck isn't a requirement, you will need something reliable enough to get you to the job site on time with all your necessary equipment. Purchasing or continuing to drive a vehicle with mechanical problems can be penny-wise and pound-foolish, as each day your truck is in the shop is a day you'll need to scramble to make alternate arrangements or potentially lose out on a job.

You'll also need to outfit your truck and toolbox with the construction basics -- including everything from a socket wrench set to an extension ladder. While you may prefer to buy tools as the need for each arises, having all the tools you are likely to need at your immediate disposal will help you complete each job and move on to the next one more quickly. Because the replacement cost of tools can be more than some insurance policies cover, you may want to consider purchasing a locking toolbox or bed cover for your truck to protect your investment from would-be thieves.  

How can you save money when purchasing the items you'll need?

While the cost of required items may seem overwhelming, you may not need to make too many changes to your existing fleet and tool inventory to transition from occasional to full-time construction worker. By shopping smart and utilizing the assets already at your disposal, you'll be able to minimize your start-up costs.

Before going into debt for a new vehicle, consider whether the vehicle you have can be repurposed to help better fit your new needs. For example, if you're concerned you'll need a larger truck or flatbed to haul all the supplies you'll need to move on a regular basis, you may want to investigate ways to maximize or expand your existing space. If your truck bed isn't long enough to haul full-sized sheets of plywood or 2"x4"s, you could purchase and install a bed extender, which will allow you to safely haul larger loads. You may also be able to purchase a flatbed trailer to avoid loading down your truck's bed (as long as your truck is rated to tow the fully loaded trailer weight). As long as your vehicle is mechanically sound and has towing capabilities, you may be able to work with exterior size limitations.

And if the price of new tools has you queasy, estate sales and auctions can be a great (and inexpensive) source of used tools to add to your inventory. You may want to focus your search on sales in agricultural or rural areas where large estates are more likely to have a wide variety of tools and construction supplies. Because it can be hard to test power tools in these settings (and some auctions may even keep you from doing so), your money may be best spent on solid items like wrenches, levels, and hammers, where a quick visual inspection can tell you all you need to know about the item's quality.