When most people think about working in the construction industry, they think of actual construction—building structures like homes, commercial buildings, or other structures.
But it can take a lot of capital investment to get started in real estate construction—and because it takes so much capital to get started, it’s not a feasible business model for many business owners that are trying to get a new business off the ground.
Luckily, you don’t have to build structures to get your foot in the door in the construction industry. There are a huge variety of construction related businesses that are lucrative, fulfilling, and offer plenty of opportunity.
But what, exactly, are those businesses? Let’s take a look at eight construction business ideas to inspire your small business:
1. Trade-based business
If it’s construction that takes care of building a structure, it’s the trade industry that ensures that structure is up, running, and functional—making a trade-based business an excellent choice if you have the experience and know-how in a specific trade.
For example, if you have a plumbing license, you could start a plumbing business managing plumbing installation at new builds in your area. If you’re an experienced electrician, you can start an electrical contracting business and help construction companies ensure their structures are wired properly. If you’re an incredible woodworker, you can start a carpentry business, if you’re more of the “jack of all trades” type, you can start a more general repair service...whatever trade you specialize in, you can build a construction related business around that trade.
2. Construction site management
There are a lot of moving parts involved in running a successful construction site—and, often times, construction companies will need to hire outside help to manage all of those parts and keep the job moving forward on schedule.
If you specialize in a particular type of construction management, there are a number of business opportunities in managing construction sites. For example, you might offer land survey services to evaluate the land before the company starts building. Maybe you manage the logistics of material delivery to the construction site to ensure all the building materials arrive on time and at cost. Or you might offer people management services to ensure the workers on the construction line are finishing projects according to the project timelines.
3. Construction cleaning business
The process of constructing a new building can create a lot of mess—and if you’re good at getting rid of those messes, launching a cleaning business could be a great way to get into the construction industry.
There are a number of different cleaning services you could offer construction companies. For example, you might offer daily site cleaning services to help get rid of debris at the end of each building day—or you could offer cleaning services after residential builds are complete to get the properties ready to show potential buyers.
Just make sure that whatever type of cleaning business you decide to start, you arm yourself with the right tools and supplies (for example, clearing a construction site of debris is going to require a different set of tools than prepping a completed home for showings).
4. Construction supply company
Construction companies need materials to build with—so why not start a building that supplies those materials?
Depending on the type of construction companies you want to partner with, you might build a business specializing in raw materials and business materials, materials for specialized projects (for example, roofing materials; ceramic tiles for bathroom renovations; interlocking slabs for outdoor patios; or a supply of gravel, sharp sands, and cement for driveway paving construction projects), or construction equipment (like shovels, railings, and safety gear for construction crews).
5. Interior design
Construction companies are responsible for building homes and commercial buildings; they make sure they’re safe, well built, and structurally sound. But they’re not necessarily responsible for making those homes or buildings look beautiful; that’s where interior design professionals come in.
If you have an eye for design, becoming an interior designer can be a great way to flex your design muscles and get your foot in the construction industry. And while there are certainly plenty of opportunities in interior design in construction, there are also plenty of opportunities outside the construction space. So, not only can you partner with construction businesses to offer interior decoration services on their new builds, you can also take marketing into your own hands and pitch your services directly to clients or showcase your work on social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, which can help you land more business opportunities and build a more financially sustainable business.
No matter what kind of structure a construction company is building, chances are, the outdoor area, like a yard or lawn, is going to need to be designed, planted, and maintained—which is why landscaping and lawn care can be a lucrative construction related business.
Depending on your area of expertise, there are a number of different types of businesses you could start under the landscaping and lawn care umbrella. Are you more into the design aspect? Consider offering landscape architecture and landscaping services for new builds. Do you want to ensure a steady, regular flow of work? Start a lawn care business that offers maintenance services after the new construction is completed and occupied, like mowing and weeding.
7. Home painting business
Interior design is all about making the inside of a building beautiful. Landscaping is about making the outside beautiful. But there’s another construction related business that focuses on the aesthetics of both the interior and exterior of buildings—and that’s painting.
Starting a commercial or home painting business can be a great way to work in the construction industry. Again, there are a number of different ways you could promote a painting business; you could partner directly with construction companies to paint their new builds—or you could market your services directly to homeowners or property managers. There are also a number of different services you could provide; if you wanted to work with homeowners, you could offer interior and exterior painting services. If you wanted to work with residential property managers, you could offer to paint their units in between tenants. If you wanted to work in the commercial space, you could offer painting services any time a new company moves into the building. You could even start a paint consulting business, offering consulting services to homeowners or building managers who want to DIY their painting project—but need some pointers to ensure the best paint job.
8. Administrative services for construction companies
The bulk of a construction company’s work is, of course, in construction. But just like any other small business, there are a ton of administrative tasks that need to get done on a daily basis in order to ensure a construction business runs smoothly.
And while some businesses hire administrative professionals in-house, other construction companies choose to outsource their administrative services—which is why, if you’re organized and have experience in administration, you might want to consider launching a business around providing administrative support to construction companies.
Construction businesses need to stay organized in order to run effectively—so if you’re an organized administrative professional, your experience could be in high demand in the construction industry.
Depending on your background and experience, there are a number of different types of administrative services you might provide to the construction industry. For example, if you have a background in accounting, you might provide bookkeeping services. If you’ve worked in HR, you might offer to handle employee paperwork, time tracking, and payroll. If you’ve spent more of your career as an administrative assistant, you might offer general administrative services like scheduling or data entry.
Tips for success when starting any type of construction related business
Ready to start your own construction or construction related business? Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure the business you’re building is a successful one:
- Find a niche. The more targeted you can be with your services, the more appeal you’ll have to potential customers—so, if you really want to be successful working in the construction industry, you need to carve out a niche for your construction related business. So, for example, instead of starting a general painting business, you might consider starting a home painting business that specializes in interior painting for custom homes.
- Create a business plan. Every new business needs a business plan—and a construction or construction related business is no exception. Before you make any moves, take the time to plan and create a road map to get you from where you are (a person with a construction business idea) to where you want to be (a business owner with a successful construction business).
- Look for partnership opportunities. As you can see, there are a huge variety of business types that fall under the construction industry umbrella, and few of them directly compete with each other. Look for opportunities to partner with other construction related businesses when it has the potential to be advantageous for everyone involved; for example, if you’re starting a lawn care business, you might reach out to local landscape architect businesses to see if they want to refer clients to you for lawn maintenance once their design projects are complete.
Get out there and start the best construction business for you
Clearly, there are a number of business opportunities in the construction space. But now that you know the different types of business you might consider building, all that’s left to do? Get out there and build a profitable business that plays to your strengths—and is the best business in the construction space for you.