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What does a Career as a Contractor Looks Like? Know How to Become One!

how to become a Contractor

Do you have a fascination for watching construction activities? As a child did you love watching buildings being built brick by brick? Are you a good organizer of various events at your school or at your neighborhood? Do you have a dream of being on your own and earn a lot of money? If yes, you can think of becoming a Contractor? After the initial years of struggle, this business pays, and pays quite a lot.

Contractors take up construction projects and execute on behalf of clients – individuals, companies or Governments. They organise resources, organise labor and technician, and supervise daily activities to complete construction projects.

Why become a Contractor?

As a contractor, your main role is to take contracts of construction, renovation or demolition projects. As a Contractor, you will be responsible for coordinating and supervising the work at construction sites from A to Z of a project. You will be managing the labor force of the project underway and ensuring that all necessary requirements are fulfilled. Contractors are the liaisons between the construction teams and the clients. 

The Contractors who work for big projects can be considered as managers of the project and should have complete control over the workforce. If contractors work for smaller projects, they need to show their effort for long hours of labor.

  1. Civil Contractors take up various types of civil construction projects – such as construction of residential buildings, commercial buildings, shopping complexes, factories, monuments, roads, bridges, railways, airports, dams, tunnels, etc. They also take up maintenance and repair of civil structures such as the ones described above.
  2. Mechanical Contractors take various types of mechanical construction projects – such as large machinery, industrial process plants, HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning systems), industrial ducting and piping, large-scale plumbing at factories, water treatment plants, waste treatment plants, pollutant treatment plants, building automation systems, elevators, fire protection systems, etc. They also take up maintenance and repair of mechanical structures such as the ones described above.
  3. Electrical Contractors take up various types of electrical construction projects – such as construction of power plants, construction and installation of power transmission and distribution systems, electrical power systems inside large-scale residential and commercial buildings, shopping malls, railway stations, airports, etc., installation of instrumentation control systems in industrial plants, and so on. They also take up maintenance and repair of electrical systems such as the ones described above.

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What does a Contractor do? 

As a Contractor, you will: –

  1. Hold discussions with the clients and understand the requirements of construction.
  2. Read, comprehend and understand the construction blue prints, technical drawings, plans, specifications for construction materials, etc.
  3. Plan for the project, estimate material and labor requirements and estimate construction cost budgets.
  4. Present the cost budget to clients or fill tender documents to bid for construction projects.
  5. Once you win a construction contract, you will complete all documentation required by the client to begin the construction project.
  6. Take all the necessary permissions or permits from the authorities before a construction project begins, during the construction, and at the end of the construction as required.
  7. Procure and make all the construction materials available to the labors in due time. 
  8. Oversee construction activities and ensure that the constructions are being done as per blue print, technical drawings, plans, material specifications and as per the overall requirement of the clients.
  9. Ensure that all construction activities are carried out as per legal requirements and as per different laws and regulations governing construction projects.
  10. Ensure that the construction is carried out in compliance with all regulations applicable to the specific construction activities.
  11. Control all expenditure for the construction project and ensure that the cost remains within the budgeted amount.
  12. Ensure that the construction is completed within the time estimated.
  13. Handle all issues, problems and crisis situations at the construction site.

How to become a contractor – Eligibility criteria 

If you have done Class 10 with any subjects, Science and Mathematics, you can apply for a Diploma in Civil / Construction / Mechanical / Electrical / Electrical and Electronics Engineering/ a similar field.

After your Class 11-12 in Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, you can apply B.E. / B.Tech. in Civil / Construction / Mechanical / Electrical / Electrical & Electronics Engineering/ Similar field.

Or, you can just complete your class 11-12 in any stream and then obtain a Bachelors’ degree in any subject. After having 8-10 years in a firm which undertakes civil/mechanical/ electrical construction projects, you can venture out on your own.  

Educational fees

The educational fees for becoming a contractor in India can vary depending on the course or certification program that you choose. Some of the popular courses and their approximate fees are:

  • Diploma in Civil Engineering: This course can be pursued after completing 10th standard and the duration of the course is 3 years. The fees for this course can range from INR 20,000 to INR 2,00,000 depending on the institute.
  • Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Civil Engineering: This is a 4-year undergraduate program and the fees for this course can range from INR 50,000 to INR 5,00,000 depending on the institute.
  • National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR): This is a popular institute that offers various courses related to construction management. The fees for the full-time postgraduate diploma courses at NICMAR can range from INR 5,00,000 to INR 10,00,000.

Job Opportunities

After your Diploma in Engineering, you can get an entry-level job as a Diploma Engineer Trainee and then after 2 years of training, you will be placed in a supervisory position. 

If you have a Bachelors’ Degree in Engineering, then you can an entry level job as a Graduate Engineer Trainee (GET) and then after 1-2 years of training, you will be placed as an Assistant Engineer/similar position.

After your Diploma / Bachelors’ Degree in Engineering, you can get a job with: 

  • An EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) company 
  • An EPIC (Engineering, Procurement, Installation, and Commissioning) company 
  • A Real Estate development company 
  • A General / civil / mechanical / electrical contractor

Some of the companies where you can get an entry-level job are:

  • Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
  • Gammon India
  • Simplex Infrastructure
  • Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd.
  • Reliance Infrastructure
  • Lanco Infratech
  • Punj Lloyd 
  • Nagarjuna Construction
  • GMR
  • GVK
  • Continental Construction
  • IRB

Salary of a Contractor 

As a contractor, your earning will vary widely as setting up and establishing a business in a construction contract is very difficult as the industry is highly competitive. 

In the beginning of your business as a Contractor, you will not be making much. Your net earnings (after deducting all your business expenses from the business earnings) could be between Rs. 5,000 – 50,000 a month.

However, with experience and reputation, after 8-10 years in business (if you can survive the early stage struggle), you can earn anything between Rs. 20,000 – 1,00,000 or even more per month. 

Once your business is established after 15-20 years, depending upon your scale of business (whether small business or medium size or large size business), you can earn in lakhs or even crores every month. All these depend upon your track record and reputation.

Career Progression in Contractor Profession 

While you work in a construction company to gain experience before setting up your own contractor firm, you can grow through the ranks in the company. You can progress from an Assistant Engineer – Engineer – Senior Engineer / Project Engineer / Deputy General Manager – General Manager – Senior General Manager – Executive Engineer and so on.

In India, the construction industry is expected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030. It is also expected that this industry will contribute around 13% of the country’s GDP by 2025. Also, as per the scheme of Government of India Housing for All is expected to bring US$1.3 trillion in the housing sector by 2025. With all this data we can see that contractors will always be required in the construction industry or in any construction.

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