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Career Story: General Contractor And Vinyl Siding Installer

General Contractor And Vinyl Siding Installer

Job Title: General Contractor

Type of Company: A building and vinyl siding company.

Education: Four years of trade school, General Contractor's School, contractor's license

Previous Experience: I grew up on a dairy farm and worked there for 10 years. After high school, where I studied woodworking, I got my contractor's license and went into business with a builder who had been in the business for 25 years.

Job Tasks: My job requires me to go to a client's home, see what type of work they want done, collect dimensions, drawings and other information and go back to the office, where I price out the materials, the labor and anything else the job requires and write up a bid or call the client with it. Once the bid is accepted, we set a date to start, collect 1/3 of the money up front, 1/3 when half done,and 1/3 upon completion.

On a typical day we can be found stripping off old siding, preparing the walls with new insulation, replacing rotting wood, wrapping walls with Tyvek and cutting new siding. Jobs can last anywhere from a few hours to months depending on their scope. We also do replacement windows, roofing and decks, and we build homes from ground up. We always treat our customer as number one. Whatever they want is what they'll get.

Our work has slowed with the economy the way it is, but we have many customers who have hired us in the past who continue to call us back. So we manage to stay busy.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is seeing the before and after photos, and knowing that your customer is satisfied.

The worst parts of the job are how physical it is -- lifting heavy tools and equipment, carrying bundles of shingles up a forty foot ladder -- and ensuring that the work stays on schedule when you're trying to work on large jobs with other contractors.

Job Tips:
1. Start out in a trade school and be sure this kind of work is enjoyable for you.

2. Get a job as a laborer to get experience.

3. Take a contractor's class to study all the rules and regulations.

4. Either build your company from the ground up or go into business with someone who has more years under their belt and a well established business.

Additional Thoughts: To work in this field, you need to be dependable, hard-working, strong and attentive.

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