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Making a buck in the trades - Contractor Advice Articles


Contractor Advice Articles – Carrier Slocomb, from 35 years in the trades.

Who says you have to be poor to make a buck in the trades?

My guess is some of you came to this website (and this article) because you’re wondering if contracting is a job you could do. Your current job isn’t cutting it for you, and you suspect that being your own boss is where the money is. If you don’t like the uncertainty of working for others then please read on…

In America unemployment is one of our permanent economic realities. You probably know it well too. Pundits claim the best we’ll do in the years ahead is 6% unemployment. This means that 6% will supplant the old 4%, and that translates into 31 million fewer people working than were employed in 2007.

Yeah, you may want to think about hanging a shingle out after all.
There are all sorts of great places to learn the contracting business and this website is one of them. Another is feasting on my tips at Pro Desk, at In the meantime here are excellent suggestions for succeeding attitudinally in any business, trade or otherwise.

· >Look around --- smell where things are going, then match your skills to what looks best. Since you’ll essentially be retraining, allow yourself plenty of time to get it right. There’s nothing worse than someone who ‘kinda knows’ drywall, framing or trim-work. Just make sure there’s work out there, and the job is something you like doing.

· > Many jobs are menial and many more involve some piece work. Maybe you like building a quarter of something, but if not then don’t get into work that has you doing the same thing over and over again in a piecemeal fashion. It’s silly to think you can build a whole house, but would you be happy just installing mailbox posts or knobs?

· > Is what you do now predictable and mind-numbing? Production building may not be for you, so you may want to look into working commercial rather than residential. Seek an opportunity to enter into a specialized task. Thus, you’ll feel you’re making a unique contribution to the project. And what comes of this unique contribution is pride.

· >Remember to look for more authority the minute you feel you’re not being challenged. The old saying is, “If you rule at home you can rule at work.” But do yourself a favor, model yourself after the best boss you ever had.

· > Most importantly, don’t look for any rewards right away. Rewards will come in time if you pursue an honest day’s wage, do quality work, and remain accountable for your own mistakes. When life doesn’t treat you fair don’t come home and kick the dog. Just go on doing things right and good things will follow you along the way.

Like anything else, these strategies are footed in common sense. Common sense is something we’re supposed to learn early on; however, common sense in business is usually a well fought over talent, one that we gain at huge personal cost. Yes, it took me thirty-five years to even get most of it right. --Learn more about my strategies for contractor success at, under the heading Pro Desk.

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