Cross-Training as a Contractor: Earning More by Diversifying Your Skills


If you’re a whiz at mastering tools, you’re good with your hands, and you love building things, then the contracting world is perfect for you. But this industry has a lot more room than what you might realize.

The contracting world holds much more than those who work in construction, or those who build houses. In fact, anyone who can perform a skilled trade and gets licensed as a contractor can work on a variety of jobs. But in order to work a variety of jobs, you need training and expertise across numerous fields.

Framing a house is one thing. But just imagine if you could frame a home, install insulation, siding, plumbing, and electrical work. It’s safe to say that you’d be a valuable asset to any major contractor out there.

Here’s how you can earn more as a contractor by diversifying your skills.

Getting Licensed

Before you can go out and start earning the big bucks on any job that comes your way, you’re going to need to get licensed as a contractor in your state. And this process has different requirements from state to state.

Before you get licensed, however, you’ll need to go through some form of education and training. And if you want to diversify your skills and become a valuable employee, or a legitimate business owner, you’ll need to cross-train in a number of contracting disciplines. 

Most contractors begin by learning on the job as an apprentice to a trained and licensed contractor in a specific trade. Or you can begin by taking vocational classes at intermediate school or trade courses in college.

The most important part of earning your certification is the amount of on-the-job training that is required in many states. So be sure to soak in all that you learn so that you can pass the exams.

The Benefits of Cross-Training

Once you’ve mastered carpentry work and you know the basic engineering process for building a structure, now it’s time to learn the intricate arts of plumbing and electrical work.

Knowing all of these skills makes you an asset in any contracting space because your knowledge will likely exceed that of others who work primarily as laborers on one specific task.

By cross-training, you’ll be able to demand more money per hour, and this gives you greater earning power no matter where you go in your career. In fact, you might even decide to open your own sole-proprietorship and become a primary contractor with the skill and ability to build an entire home from the foundation on up, all on your own.

As a licensed contractor with skills that can be applied across multiple disciplines, you’ll also need to keep up with trends within the construction industry.

By keeping up with technological trends, you’ll be further diversifying your skills and knowledge within your fields of expertise, making you even more knowledgeable about how to be more productive.

You’ll also be able to manage your time at a much more efficient pace by keeping up with new trends and technologies that are specific to your industry. For example, you might look into learning how to use new digital tools that make drawing out blueprints much more simplified. Or you could train yourself on technology that aids in workplace productivity and safety compliance.

The bottom line is, as long as you’re staying on top of trends within your industry, you’re asserting yourself as a foremost expert in the field. And an individual that can command high wages has to be knowledgeable in all areas of the craft.

In any business, it’s those individuals who go the extra mile who succeed and stand out among the crowd. And wouldn’t it be nice to bid on a job (or apply for a job) knowing that you’re the best candidate in the room? The answer should be obvious.