The Building Trade: Self-Employed or on the Cards?
If you are at school leaving age and fancy becoming a chippy, plasterer or a plumber, you will need to find a sponsor; a local builder who will undertake to train you to a point when you can pass the City & Guilds for your respective trade. The other option is to finance your college diploma yourself and be self-supporting for the 2-3 years is takes to gain essential certification, which is doable if you have your parents’ support. Either way, once you are qualified, you have a choice to work for yourself or seek a directly employed position with a builder, and with that in mind, here are a few aspects to consider.
If stability is your priority, then working for a local builder is your best option; your employer must make sure they comply with the many liabilities that UK employers are burdened with. On the upside, your employer would provide you with transport and the equipment you need to carry out your work and over a period of years, there will likely be promotion opportunities to move up the ladder, which is a motivation to apply yourself fully to your work. The going rate would be in line with the construction industry’s lay scale and there’s no doubt you would make more money by going it alone, which is one reason so many tradespeople choose self-employment.
Building contractors tend to avoid directly employing tradespeople, preferring to sub-contract the work out to local freelancers. There are a lot of benefits from the main building contractor’s standpoint; they don’t have to pay sick leave or holidays, neither are they liable for any National Insurance contributions when they use sub-contractors. Search online for a van dealer and accumulate a full set of tools and you can become self-employed, which should give you a higher income.
Consider a Partnership
If you have a colleague who is as good as you at whatever trade you are in, why not pool your resources and bid for local contracts? Partnerships are popular because the start-up costs are halved, plus two heads are always better than one. Of course, working with others can be stressful, but if you are already friends, then it makes sense to create a joint venture. The stress is halved as well and according to statistics, a partnership has more chance of success than a one-man show.
Whatever trade you are in, you should make sure that all your work is of the highest standard and develop a reputation for reliability. This will ensure there is always a demand for your services.