How Does the Local Urban Center Affect Your Contracting Business?

Although much of California is rural, the vast majority of the population gathers around a number of urban centers. The layout and building trends of the metropolitan area you live in can affect the way you run your contracting business. If you’re thinking about moving to a location that will make it easier to get to your target customer base, you need to know where to start. Here’s a few questions to answer as you look for the best place to position your business within the area.

Is Your Area Growing Up or Out?
The way the city grows depends on existing construction, municipal administration goals and current trends. For example, one recent trend has many city planners considering tearing down old low-density housing in favor of developments that accommodate more people. They may encourage building up to provide more space instead of extending further into the suburbs. As a contractor, you’ll go where the work is. Research to learn if more of the current developments are happening closer to the city center or on the outskirts. This will help you to identify where you’ll be spending most of your time.

What Does Rent/Land Purchase Cost?
Depending where you live in the state, this could be the million-dollar question. Possibly several million dollars. Heavily-populated areas tend to offer more work and job security for contractors, but you have to be able to afford to set up shop in the area. Compare the cost for rental space in a variety of locations, and keep in mind that costs will fluctuate based on demand. By looking in various parts of the city, you might be able to get something much more affordable without having to commute an unreasonable distance. Buying property is often a better investment, but may not be a practical decision when you first start out. Be realistic about your space needs for offsite work and inventory, because that might rule out some areas.

Can You Afford to Live in a Reasonable Location?
Unless you plan to run your contracting business from home (which may not be practical for many specialties), you’ll need to maintain a different place to live. Look at your current home in relation to the spot where you expect to find most clients. It’s almost passé for people who live near L.A. or the Bay Area to deal with 90-minute commutes just so they can access affordable housing. You need to be sure you can keep it up, especially since you may not be headed to the same place every day.

How Will Traffic Affect Your Work?
Speaking of the daily commute, traffic patterns can dramatically affect your workflow. Watch the traffic patterns around the places you want to consider for your business. The most likely traffic hours for nearby freeways and highways may not fall at the predictable 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. In areas with a lot of congestion, heavy traffic may last for hours. You may be able to avoid delays and hassle by tweaking your working hours earlier or later. Before making that choice, you should confirm that your clients will be able to accommodate your need to get to the jobsite at 6 a.m. or leave at 7 p.m.

Where Is the Best Middle Ground for Your Business?
With this information, you can draw a map of likely work locations in relation to your home. If you have no choice but to live far away from your client base, make a plan to position your business closer to them. This is particularly important if you need to transport a lot of heavy equipment or materials to the jobsite. Remember that the best location may change over time. If you plan to buy property or want to stay in one place for a long time, it may make more sense to choose a fairly central location. This will help you avoid having to relocate every few years as regional building trends shift.

Finding the right location for your contracting business can help you set up a successful future. To start on the path to becoming a contractor, visit CSLS today!