In just about any industry, becoming self-employed is a big step to take. There are no guarantees that work will come in regularly. However, with self-employment, there does come some freedom in choosing when and where to work, as well as what you want to work on. This is especially true for self-employed builders, but what’s involved in becoming one?

First, there is the paperwork. Tax, National Insurance, accounting and even marketing are the first items that should be on your to-do list. Builders should be aware of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), a piece of law for self-employed people working in construction. It was brought in to make sure that contractors and subcontractors paid the right amount of tax – 20% of income.

Seeking Out Suppliers

Once you’re registered as a self-employed builder, the next step is to find supplies for your first job. As soon as you have a job lined up, work out what supplies you’ll need and budget for them. If, for example, you’re building a home and have to work on the bathroom, items like shower units and glass door hinges would be on your shopping list.

Choosing the same supplier will save you a lot of hassle, particularly if you’re asked to work at short notice. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the cheapest supplier isn’t necessarily the best. Shoddy brickwork, fixtures and fittings could, at worst, ruin an entire building.

Build Up Your Credentials

A builder with all the relevant qualifications and memberships is more likely to be hired than one who doesn’t. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • At least an NVQ Level 2 qualification in your chosen area of construction. These can be attained at further education colleges around the country
  • An CSCS Card. This gives you membership of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and is recognised nationally by construction firms

  • Membership of the Federation of Master Builders. This isn’t mandatory, but is seen as advisable for self-employed builders who want to work for a wider range of employers as a contractor

Whilst getting all of that sorted, it’s also worth looking at your CV and social media profiles. When letting people know about what you can do as a builder, list all of your relevant skills and experience.

Finally, you should work out when you want to be available for work. In construction, flexibility is a great asset for self-employed builders, as many jobs take place during irregular hours, such as on weekends and weekday evenings.