Being an independent contractor can come with many benefits: the freedom of creating your schedule, working at your own pace, and handling all the aspects of your business and work are only a few reasons why so many people who work in construction choose to find their jobs. However, when it comes to getting hired, there are certain precautions you need to take in order to avoid both financial and legal trouble.
From getting the proper insurance to always having proof of communication between any clients, your independent contractor job is, more than anything, a business and you’ll need to treat it as such.
By operating independently a lot of the responsibility behind finances, insurance, and safety will fall on you. You’re going to have to wear many hats when working as an independent contractor, but with the right tools and preparation, you’ll be able to operate your business easily and worry-free.
Here are a few tips as to what you can do to protect yourself as a freelance construction worker in the US
Know the laws for independent contractors in the areas that you’re working in.
From Los Angeles to New York, what a lot of independent contractors may not know when first starting out is that there are laws in place that may restrict the income of “gig workers.” Depending on the state you live in, independent construction work may or may not fall under these law restrictions.
Being knowledgeable about the laws in the area you work in can help you both determine your work schedule and help you avoid legal trouble, especially when it comes to filing taxes. So before you take on any work in your area, be sure you know about the laws that might restrict you as a freelance contractor.
Get properly licensed and certified.
Similar to the freelance worker laws, some cities in the US require independent contractors to get properly licensed and certified as a construction worker. By adhering to these certification requirements, you’ll be able to find work and take on jobs from clients faster. Not only will you avoid legal trouble, but doing so will also let your future clients know that you are serious about your work and have done what is required to work on independent contracts.
Whether you’re getting licensed for the first time or looking to renew a license, there are always preparation courses and practice exams that will help get you ready for passing the tests in order to get your certification and licenses.
Depending on where you live, you may or may not be required to complete a few hours of extra coursework before getting properly licensed. States like Texas require extra prep and courses before the official examination, so it’s always important to make sure you know what steps to take to get the credentials you need to operate your business.
Taking on jobs as an unlicensed contractor might result in both business and legal complications, which is what you want to avoid as a freelancer. In addition, having the proper insurance will also help to keep both you and your clients safe.
Get the proper insurance before you take on a job.
One of the most important things you can invest in before you start taking on jobs as an independent contractor is liability insurance. According to osha.gov, the number one cause of construction deaths are falls. Worst-case scenarios for independent workers are being held liable for damages and charged for them, but with the proper insurance, you won’t have to worry about paying for damages you might not be able to afford.
Secondly, construction work is undoubtedly a hands-on job that sometimes requires heavy-duty, dangerous work. Whether you’re operating heavy machinery or attempting to drive safely through the construction zone, consider investing in medical insurance to keep yourself protected in case of physical injuries or accidents.
Taking all of these precautions will not only keep you protected while taking on construction jobs, but it will also help you establish credibility. Getting certified, having insurance, and showing your clients that you are prepared as a business operator to take on work will increase your chances of getting hired and obtaining loyal customers that will want to return to you for future construction projects in the long run.