OSHA Tips for Staying Safe This Summer

OSHA and the US Department of Labor recently published a press release reminding both employers and employees to remember necessary precautions for working safely during summer months. Florida's contractors are no strangers to sweltering summer temperatures, but dangerous heat exposure can occur anywhere if the conditions are right.

When working in a warm environment, the human body relies on its ability to get rid of excess heat to maintain a healthy internal body temperature. Heat dissipation happens naturally through sweating and increased blood flow to the skin. Workers cool down more rapidly if the external (environmental) heat and physical activity (metabolic heat) are reduced. If heat dissipation does not happen quickly enough, the internal body temperature keeps rising and the worker may experience symptoms including:

  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • A rash
  • Cramping
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Workers suffering from heatstroke experience mental dysfunction such as unconsciousness, confusion, disorientation, or slurred speech. If you or any of your employees experience these symptoms on a job site, call 911 immediately!

Here are three important tips to remember from OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page to ensure everyone stays safe this summer:

  • Water. Rest. Shade. Workers should drink water every 15 minutes, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas
  • Ensure adequate planning and supervision is in place to keep workers safe in the heat
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure and how to prevent illness

We are happy to help ensure the safety of America’s working men and women by providing workplace safety training in all of our state-approved continuing education packages. Remember, Certified Florida Contractors contractors must renew their licenses by August 31st, 2020!


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How to Get Leads as a Young Construction Business

If you wish to develop a construction company in today's market, you need to tackle more than simply offering solid service. Of course, being able to efficiently deal with construction is an important trait to have. But, if you are to make your business profitable in modern times, you need to know how to find customers. This is why we are going to take a closer look at how to get leads as a young construction business.

Get Leads as a Young Construction Business

Most people today look for construction companies online. When they need to renovate their home or build something new, they use search engines like Google or Bing to find companies that can help them out. Or, they ask around whether their neighbors have someone to recommend. It is important to keep both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online reviews in mind, as these will be the key ways in which you will get leads as a young construction business.

SEO with different aspects of it.
You need to manage your SEO in order to get leads for your business.

Understand Your Company

Since you are running a new construction business, we are going to assume that you are not yet sure about what kind of service you want to offer. It is important to note here that most successful construction businesses have one pillar service and a couple of services connected to it. Some of the possible pillar services can be:

  • Kitchen renovation
  • Roof construction
  • Home construction
  • Garage construction

By focusing on a single service, you'll be able to better market your business and find the right audience. Companies that opt for the "best at everything" approach, usually fail since they spread themselves too thin. Ideally, you will find a construction service that is most needed in your area. By doing so, you will get leads naturally, as your neighbors will have a need for your services.

Set Up a Good Website

Once you have figured out what your pillar services are, you need to set up a good website. To do this properly, we advise you to first hire a web developer to help you out from the beginning. While you might find some seemingly cheap ways to set up a website, we strongly suggest that you stick with hiring an experienced professional. As you will soon learn, you will need to develop and modify your website as your business and your brand grows. The only way to tackle that properly is to have the freedom and the control that an experienced web developer provides.

A laptop with website notes on it.
You cannot have a safe, well-functioning website without relying on an experienced web developer.

Social Media

We cannot talk about your company having a decent online presence without mentioning social media. After setting up your website, you will need to create profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can choose to let a social media management company handle your accounts, but this may not be the smartest way to handle them right off the bat. Our advice is to study social media marketing a bit and develop a voice of your own. There are a lot of construction companies that have their social media presence handled by a small number of social media managers. This often leads to them having the same online presence, which is something that you definitely want to avoid. Instead, try to use your first months to experiment and see what feels best. The sooner you find a way to communicate with your customers, the better.

Another thing we would also recommend is filming live videos while you work. A quick video where you explain what you do in a positive tone will do wonders for your marketing. Especially after you've done a couple of videos and figured out what to post.

Having Good Communication with Your Customers

As any digital marketing manager will tell you, having online traffic is not enough to have leads. Sure, some of that traffic is going to convert to actual business. But, if you want to get leads as a new construction business in a reliable manner, you need to develop good communication with your customers. After all, that is what your website, social media, and your live videos should be all about. The more you can address your customers' concerns and needs, the better reviews you are going to get. And the better reviews you have, the more leads you are going to find.

A woman working on her laptop and her phone
Having good communication skills is quite important for developing a construction company.

Working with Other Companies

Having a good online presence is necessary to get leads as a new construction business. However, there are other ways in which you can ensure that your future customers find you. One of them is working with other companies in order to cross-promote. To do so, you need to find reliable companies that are willing to recommend your business to their customers. These, of course, cannot be competing companies, but companies that are closely related to construction. So, for instance, you can contact moving companies like golansmoving.com and have them recommend you for home renovation after moving a family. Just ensure that the company you associate with is a reliable one. Gaining back customer trust after working with unreliable people can be quite hard.

Keeping a Good Impression

The final tip we have for you is to keep a good impression. Most construction companies find work through recommendations. After all, people are always going to trust their friends and family more than they are going to trust you. So, if you work hard, use the latest technology and present yourself in a polite manner, you are bound to find new leads in the most natural way possible.


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Kristen from Michigan

I took the Michigan Residential Builder Pre-Licensure course with Builders License Training institute. I found the course to be incredibly thorough, well organized, and the staff is absolutely incredible. I had many questions along the way, which were answered expeditiously and with a tremendous amount of patience from the entire staff. Highly recommend!

How to Become a Licensed Contractor in California

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding contractor licensing in California.

Who must be licensed as a contractor in California?

All businesses or individuals that construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board if the combined labor and material costs for one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more. Contractors must be licensed before submitting bids.

Who can become a licensed contractor in California?

A licensed contractor must be 18 years of age or older, have either a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, and have the experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by someone (a “qualifying individual”) with the necessary experience and skills.

What kind of experience is required?

At least four years of journey-level experience is required to qualify for the exams. Credit may be given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor in the particular classification for which you are applying.

Is school necessary?

No. There are no educational requirements to qualify for a California contractor’s license. You may receive credit for technical training, apprenticeship training, military training, or education instead of a portion of the required four years of practical experience. At least one year must be practical experience.

While education is not necessary, an exam preparation program designed around the topics covered on the exam can help you gain confidence for passing your exam on the first try.

Is there an exam requirement?

Yes. The qualifying individual (either you or your representative) is required to pass two written exams: one for business and law and one for trade knowledge. There are some situations in which a waiver for the exams can be issued. CSLB schedules exams after the application is submitted, reviewed, and accepted as complete.

How much does it cost to apply?

As of July 1, 2017, there is a non-refundable $330 fee for an original application and a $200 initial license fee for one classification. The application fee for each additional classification is $150.

Are there additional financial requirements to qualify for a license?

Yes. All applicants must submit to CSLB a contractor bond or cash deposit payable to CSLB in the amount of $15,000. CSLB does not issue bonds.

Is worker’s compensation insurance required?

All contractors who have employees must present proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Contractors without employees are required to file a certificate of exemption. However, C-39 Roofing contractors are not eligible for an exemption from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement.

What other application requirements are there?

All applicants must be fingerprinted (at an additional cost to the applicant) and undergo a background check before CSLB will issue a license.

Where do I get an application or find answers to further questions?

California Contractors State License Board
1 (800) 321-2752
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827


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How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Arizona

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding contractor licensing in Arizona.

Who needs an Arizona contractor license?

Any business which contracts or offers to contract to build, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, move, wreck or demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, development or improvement, or to do any part of the work must be a licensed contractor.

Also included in work requiring a license is the erection of scaffolding, connections to utility service lines, metering devices and sewer lines, mechanical or structural service to a structure or improvement and any other work in connection with the project.

“Contractor” includes subcontractors, floor covering contractors, landscape contractors and consultants representing themselves as having the ability to supervise or manage a construction project for the benefit of the property owner.

Supervision or management includes hiring and firing of specialty contractors, scheduling of work on the project, and selection and purchasing of construction material.

Contractors must be properly licensed before submitting bids.

Who can apply for an Arizona contractor’s license?

A sole proprietorship (individual), a partnership, limited liability company, or a corporation may apply for a contractor's license if they have a regularly employed person with the necessary experience, knowledge and skills who serves as the qualifying party. All persons listed on the application must be 18 years of age or older.

A corporation or limited liability company must be registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission and in good standing with that agency before submitting an application for a contractor's license. The corporation or limited liability company must remain in good standing in order to renew their contractor's license.

To whom is the license issued?

A license may be issued to a sole proprietorship (individual), a partnership, limited liability company or a corporation. The license belongs to the business and not to the qualifying party.

What are the steps to getting a contractor license in Arizona?

  1. Identify a Qualifying Party who meets minimum requirements
  2. Pass examinations
  3. Submit to background checks
  4. Form a legal entity
  5. Obtain a bond
  6. Pay required fees
  7. Provide Government issued identification
  8. Complete and submit application

Further descriptions of these steps can be found on the AZROC Licensing Information page.

What do I need to submit with my application?

  1. Original examination score (See PSI Candidate Information Bulletin for instructions to register for exams and answers to commonly asked questions
  2. Experience Record Form
  3. All license fees and Recovery Fund fees (if applicable).
  4. A license bond must be provided with the license application. The amount of the bond required depends upon the classification of license and your anticipated gross volume of business.
  5. Your Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Number must be included with the license application.
  6. Financial Statement
  7. Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance

Information on License Classification Requirements, License fees, Experience Record form, obtaining a surety bond and Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Number, instructions, links and answers to many questions can be found on the application which can be downloaded from the Arizona website at:  www.azroc.gov

Is there an exam requirement to get licensed?

All candidates are required to take and pass a Business Management Examination which contains questions on state and federal laws and the management of construction projects, business, and financial management.  Some license classifications also require passing a trade exam.  All testing requirements must be completed before submitting your application.  Information on individual trade exams may be found at www.psiexams.com (800) 733-9267. The PSI Candidate Information Bulletin (PFD) contains instructions to register for exams and answers to commonly asked questions.  Your original examination score report must be submitted with the License Application.

Is experience required to become licensed?

Credit is given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor.  Contracting experience will also be considered from currently licensed Arizona Contractors, formerly licensed contractors and official personnel. Refer to form: License Classification Requirements RC-L-206B to determine License Classification experience requirements.

Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor license accepted in Arizona?

No, the NASCLA license is not accepted in Arizona.

However, as of August 1, 2017, Arizona began accepting this examination in lieu trade examinations for the B-1 and B-2 General Commercial Contracting Classifications. If you are interested in becoming a licensed contractor in 13 other states as well, the NASCLA exam may be a good fit for you. Check out our NASCLA Exam Prep page for further details.

Who do I contact at the state with other questions?

Arizona Registrar of Contractors
1700 West Washington St. Suite 105
Phoenix, AZ  85007-2812
(602) 542-1525
www.azroc.gov


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Mississippi Contractor License Renewal FAQ’s

Who needs to be licensed to work as a contractor in Mississippi?

All contractors and subcontractors performing work on commercial jobs over $50,000.00 (including installation of equipment) require a commercial license issued by MSBOC. A commercial license is also required for any contract involving the construction, reconstruction, repair or maintenance of fire protection systems on public projects over $5,000.00 and private projects over $10,000.00.

A contractor performing new residential construction over $50,000 needs a Residential Building license. A contractor performing residential remodeling over $10,000 needs a Residential Remodeling license. A contractor performing residential roofing over $10,000 needs a Residential Roofing license. If you are performing residential electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work less than $10,000, a state license is not required, but you must contact the local building official or permit office regarding the local requirements.

How do I renew my Mississippi contractor license?

As a courtesy, MSBOC will mail a renewal application to current licensees approximately 60 days before the expiration date listed on the certificate of licensure. The application for renewal will be mailed to the address of record on file with MSBOC. It is the responsibility of the license holder to renew a license annually and to notify MSBOC of any change in address.

A commercial or residential license can be processed as a late renewal for up to 180 days after the expiration date printed on the certificate of licensure. A commercial or residential license that has been expired for more than 180 days cannot be renewed and will require a new application for licensure instead.

What fees are associated with renewing my contractor license?

Commercial License

Renewal: $400

Late Fee: $50

Additional Classification: $100

Residential License

Renewal: $100

Late Fee: $10

What continuing education is required for Mississippi contractors?

Residential contractors are required to complete two (2) hours of approved continuing education each year.  This new requirement went into effect July 1, 2015.

You must have your Mississippi contractor continuing education completed prior to your license renewal date, which is the last day of the twelfth month from your issuance date.

How do I contact the state if I have more questions?

Mississippi State Board of Contractors
2679 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite C
Jackson, MS 39216

(601) 354-6161
(800) 880-6161
info@msboc.us


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Minnesota Building Official License Renewal FAQ’s

When does my building official license expire?

Building official licenses expire every two years from the date of original licensure.

What fees are associated with renewing my building official license?

Renewal fees for a two-year renewal cycle are as follows:

Continuing Education Fee: $20

Certified Building Official: $60

Certified Building Official-Limited: $30

Accessibility Specialist: $30

What are the continuing education requirements for a Minnesota building official?

Building Official: 38 hours

Building Official-Limited:* 38 hours

Accessibility Specialist: 6 hours

*Only the building official limited category is required to obtain 19 hours per year for the 1st two years of certification. After the 1st two years, they are required to complete 38 hours total within each certification period.

Important Note: The State of Minnesota will not allow you to take the same course twice within the same certification period or complete 2 courses on the same date.  Please check your records or call us at 1-800-727-7104 if you cannot remember which course you have already taken.

I also have a construction industry license in Minnesota, are these courses applicable for that license as well?

Yes. To receive continuing education credit toward both licenses, simply place both license numbers (separated by a space) in the “License Number” field provided at registration.

Do you report my completion results to the state of Minnesota?

Yes, we will report your results to the state the next business day after your courses are complete.

How do I contact the state with further questions?

Minnesota Department of Licensing & Industry
Construction Codes and Licensing Division

443 Lafayette Road N
St Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-284-5005


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Florida Certified Contractor License Renewal FAQ’s

Florida Certified contractors renew their licenses August 31st of even numbered years—that time is almost here! Here are some frequently asked questions to help you navigate the license renewal process.

How much continuing education do I need to renew my Florida Contractors license?

All Registered Contractors and Certified Contractors are required to complete fourteen (14) hours of continuing education each renewal cycle.  Of the fourteen hours, one hour is required in each of the following topics:

  • Specialized or Advanced Module that is approved by the Florida Building Commission
  • Workplace Safety
  • Business Practices
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Laws and Rules Regulating the Construction Industry
  • Wind Mitigation Methodologies (if license is held in the following category:  General, Building, Residential, Roofing, Specialty Structure, or Glass & Glazing.

The remaining hours may include any of the above topics or general topics to the industry.

NOTE: Pool/Spa Contractor - Commercial, Residential and Servicing, Residential Pool/Spa Servicing Specialty are required to have 1 hour of Pool electrical (New requirement as of June 2019)

What is the difference between a certified license and a registered license in Florida?

Certified licenses are statewide and allow you to work as a contractor anywhere in Florida. Registered licenses are limited to certain local jurisdictions and only allow you to work in the cities or counties where you hold a certificate of competency.

I am changing my Florida license status to inactive, am I required to maintain my continuing education?

No. However, when you reactivate your license, you must show proof of completing 14 hours of continuing education for the renewal cycle immediately preceding reactivation of your license. Included in the 14 hours, you must show that you have complied with all requirements for your license type.

What Florida license categories are your continued education courses approved for?

Our courses are approved for Construction Industry licenses to include the following license categories:

  • Air Conditioning Service
  • Building
  • Class A Air Conditioning
  • Class B Air Conditioning
  • Commercial Pool/Spa**
  • General
  • Internal Pollutant Storage Tank Lining Applicator
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Pollutant Storage Systems
  • Precision Tank Tester
  • Residential
  • Residential Pool/Spa**
  • Roofing
  • Sheet Metal
  • Solar
  • Specialty: Drywall
  • Specialty: Demolition
  • Specialty: Gas Line
  • Specialty: Glass and Glazing
  • Specialty: Irrigation
  • Specialty: Marine
  • Specialty: Residential Pool/Spa Servicing**
  • Specialty: Solar Water Heating
  • Specialty: Structure
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Decking
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Excavation
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Finishes
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Layout
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Piping
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Structural
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Trim
  • Specialty: Tower
  • Swimming Pool/Spa Service**
  • Underground Utility and Excavation

**NOTE: 1-hour of Pool electrical required as of June 2019

Can Florida contractor continuing education be completed online?

Yes. Providers with the “C / I” or “I” designation are approved to offer online courses.
Our courses are all approved for Florida online continuing education, Provider #0005830.

How can I check on the number of hours of Florida contractor continuing education I have completed?

Go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/online-services/ to log on or activate your account and verify your completed CE hours.

Who do I contact at the state level for Florida contractor continuing education questions?

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 487-1395


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How to Renew Your Michigan Builder License

Are you one of the 31,000 Michigan Builders set to renew a license by May 31, 2020? Check your license to find out.

As of 2020 all Michigan builder and maintenance & alteration license renewals must be completed online through Accela. The steps below take you through each step of creating an Accela Account, linking your Accela account to your license, and renewing your license. If you already have an Accela account connected to your license, skip to Step 3. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) suggests that renewals are completed on a desktop or laptop computer, rather than a phone or tablet. They also recommend you use Microsoft Edge, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.

Step 1: Sign up for an Accela Account

  1. Go to aca3.accela.com/lara
  2. Click Register for an Account under the Login button.
  3. Your next screen will have some registration information - check the 'I have read and accepted the above terms' box and click Continue Registration
  4. Complete the Login Information form
  5. Click Add New Contact. Choose Individual as Contact Type - Fill in the Contact Information
  6. Click Continue - a box will pop up telling you 'The information you entered is not found' - Click Continue Again
  7. The next page will tell you that your Contact was added successfully - Click Continue Registration

Step 2: Link Your Accela Account to your license

  1. Go to aca3.accela.com/lara
  2. Enter the Login information you created while signing up for Accela - Click Login
  3. Click My Account
  4. Click Add a License
  5. Use the License Type drop down menu to select Residential Builder input your license number.
  6. Click Find License
  7. Your license should show up on the screen. Click the word Connect.
  8. You will be asked 'Do you want to associate this license to your account? Choose OK
  9. The next page will confirm that the license is connected to your account.
  10. Repeat the steps above for your business license

Step 3: Renew Your License

  1. Go to aca3.accela.com/lara
  2. Enter the Login information you created while signing up for Accela - Click Login
  3. Click on My Records at the top of the screen
  4. Click Renew Application next to your license information
  5. Review the information on the next screen and click Continue Application to add your renewal to the cart.
  6. Click Checkout on the bottom of the screen if you are only renewing one license or choose Continue Shopping to add another license
  7. Click Checkout to process payment. You will have to pay your fee with a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card.
    Prepaid credit cards can be purchased at most grocery stores and gas stations if you do not own a credit card.
  8. Enter your address and credit card information - click Next
  9. Review your billing and credit card information - click Pay Now
  10. Your screen will go blank and you will receive a confirmation email.

If you have issues renewing your license, LARA is available to provide assistance. Please email Lara-bcc-licensing@Michigan.gov or call 517-241-9316. Purchase your continuing education today!


MICHIGAN BUILDER CONTINUING EDUCATION

Construction Site Collapse in Michigan

Image: A stairwell identical to the one on the left side of the photo collapsed - damaging the elevator shaft on the right side of the photo.

At 9:00 am on Tuesday, May 19th, every construction manager’s nightmare occurred. As a local resident walked to work that morning, she saw a wall in a construction site leaning dangerously. She shouted to warn the construction workers about it and by the time she returned the wall collapsed completely. Although four men had been present, only two were now visible. The worst had happened.

Luckily for everyone involved at this collapse, no one was killed and only one person was seriously injured. The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined and could be from natural factors, not just human error. However, this is an opportunity to remember how important it is to do things correctly and pay attention to every step.

Construction is a complicated and, at times, dangerous trade. The process of erecting buildings requires everyone to be on their “A” game. Not only will mistakes make the construction process unsafe, the resulting structure will be dangerous as well.

Unfortunately, accidents like this do happen, and far too often. Tragedy can be avoided by ensuring everyone understands their jobs and performs them to the highest standard. Builders License Training Institute offers online training solutions to provide both licensure and continued education for those in the construction trades. Learn about what could happen before it does and make sure it never happens to you.


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Excellent training did the entire 60 hr. class online.  The two exam preps and business math were key to passing the test on the first try.  Great, friendly staff at License to Build answered all of…

Ailene Corlin, Michigan Realtor and Licensed Builder
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