Specialty trade contractor start-up checklist
In the construction business, a general contractor performs or supervises a number of building trades or construction crafts. A specialty contractor, on the other hand, performs just one specific trade such as framing, roofing, or electrical work. Whether it's new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, or repairs, specialty trade contractors usually work under contract to general contractors or people who are developing or improving their own commercial or residential buildings.
Find out how the Specialty trade contractor start-up checklist can help you set up your business and understand your obligations.
For general information on business start-up, consult our Business start-up checklist.
- Business start-up checklist
When you're setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.
Knowing the specialty trade contractor industry
As a specialty trade contractor you need to know your industry thoroughly. Before you get your contracts in place it is necessary to find the correct niche for your business.
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Get data that sheds light on population characteristics such as location, age, income, education level, and more.
Find statistics that will allow you to keep up with developments in the construction industry.
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- Canadian Industry Statistics — Speciality trade contractors (NAICS 238)
Access information on revenues, expenses and profits for the specialty trade contracting industry.
Setting up your specialty trade contractor business
Your business depends on the contracts you acquire and the future clients you attract. You will need to examine all the details necessary to keep your business rolling, including how you price your services to the tools and supplies you buy. Use these resources to help you set up your business efficiently.
- Protecting your business
Your company is your greatest investment. Discover safeguard options that will help keep your business secure.
Know the factors that will help you determine the payment you will receive in exchange for your goods or services.
- Finding and managing suppliers
Find suppliers to fill the many needs of your business.
Learn how to deduct Canada Pension Plan contributions, EI premiums and income tax from your employees' pay, and report to CRA.
- Hiring foreign workers — Construction industry
Find out how to assess foreign experience, skills and credentials. Learn how to make job offers, develop orientation programs, and retain workers.
- Criminal record checks and security screening
Find out how to obtain a criminal record check to protect your business and your employees, and to increase client confidence.
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Complying with specialty trade contractor regulations
To operate as a self-employed tradesperson, you will likely have to complete certain training and certification requirements, which have been/are determined by your province or territory. You can complete an apprenticeship program through your employer, or in some cases, challenge the certification exam (usually the Red Seal Exam) if you have significant experience in the field.
It is important that you set up your business as an independent contractor and not as an employee hired for your services. Legal obligations will depend on how you structure your business. Find out how these regulations can assist you in your business decisions.
- Regulated professions and trades
Understand the requirements needed to practise a trade or profession in Canada.
- Permits and licences
Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.
- Human resources regulations
It is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer with regards to hiring, labour standards, wages, employment equity, and more.
- CRA checklist for new small businesses
Use this checklist from the Canada Revenue Agency to help you understand each stage of the lifecycle of your business.
- Employee or self-employed
Discover how this guide can help you determine your own or your workers' employment status.
Hiring and training your staff
Your specialty trade business may require specific training for you and your staff. Trades training and certification fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Find out more information on what training you may need for your business.
- Red Seal trades
Find out more about trades that are designated under the Red Seal Program. This program is recognized as an interprovincial standard of excellence.
- The Construction Institute of Canada
Find courses on how to run your specialty trade business.
- Canadian Construction Association
Find best practices and guides for the construction industry.
Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur who's been in business for years, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.
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- Business support organizations
Seeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.
- Contact the Canada Business Network
The Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success.
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