Choosing to pursue a career as a construction worker can be incredibly rewarding. You get to develop an incredible camaraderie with your coworkers, work in a wide variety of settings, and choose which contracts you take on and when.
However, your income as a construction worker won’t be as stable as it might be in other industries. You’ll likely be switching between different projects on a regular basis, and you’ll be at a relatively high risk of injury as well. If you’re a construction worker looking for some ways to protect your income, then read on for some of our top tips on the topic.
First of all, get insured. This is the simplest and most important step you can take towards protecting your income in the construction industry – getting a good quality self employed accident & sickness insurance policy should be at the top of your priority list.
Why? It’s pretty simple – if you’re self-employed and you get ill or injured on the job and can’t work, which isn’t at all uncommon in the construction industry, then you won’t get paid. Getting accident and sickness insurance is an important step to protect yourself from this happening to you.
These kinds of policies can vary, but will typically provide financial assistance to help you pay for the general costs of living, in addition to covering any medical costs you need to get better. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it, but if you do, it can be an absolute lifesaver.
While it’s important to have insurance in place in case you do get injured at work, it’s also incredibly important to take steps to ensure that you don’t get injured in the first place. What your protection equipment will look like will obviously depend on your specific role – if you spend a lot of time on your knees, then you may want to invest in some high-quality knee pads.
If you spend a lot of time around noisy machinery, you might want to get some quality ear protection, or if you spend a lot of time working in dusty environments, make sure that you invest in an effective respirator. It’s always better, for both your well-being and your wallet, to prevent health issues from occurring in the first place than it is to sort them out after they’ve already occurred.
The construction industry is subject to an incredibly complex array of different regulations, many of which are changing all the time. Whether or not you agree with all of them, they’re part of the reality of working as a construction professional, and they’re something you need to put time into ensuring compliance with.
Failure to comply with industry regulations can at best mean that you don’t get paid – at worst, it can leave you open to being prosecuted and receiving hefty fines. While you should probably also have liability insurance, this often won’t cover professional negligence. Make sure that you stay on top of any regulatory changes – it may seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s incredibly important when it comes to protecting your reputation in the industry and your ability to secure a steady source of income.
Another crucial part of protecting yourself from income disruptions as a construction worker is building a substantial rainy day fund. This can either be to ensure that you have some money put aside if you’re not able to work, or to cover unexpected accidents such as getting your tools stolen or having your van break down on you.
While these kinds of issues should also be covered by insurance, you may have to wait a little while for the insurance provider to pay out. In the meantime, the quicker you can get yourself back up and running, the smaller a hit you’ll take to your business reputation. There are a bunch of useful resources out there to help you out if you find saving difficult, including a variety of free apps.
You’ve likely heard it before, but it’s an important one – if you’re self-employed, make sure that you don’t become entirely reliant on a single source of income. In the construction industry, this means keeping your options open, and maintaining good relationships with multiple potential partners and clients.
If you do decide to work on a big project, which can definitely be a bonus sometimes, make sure that you’re properly covered by your contract, and don’t wait until the project is over to get paid, even if it’s with someone you’ve worked with before. Things can go wrong, budgets can run out, and you don’t want to end up having to chase getting paid for months.
Construction isn’t a stagnant industry – there are new building techniques and technologies coming out all the time, and to remain relevant, you need to make sure that you keep learning. Keep in contact with other people in the industry, go to trade shows, and take an active interest in learning new skills – this will all help you protect your income as time goes on, allowing you to charge a competitive rate for your services.
Finally, you need to make sure that you look after yourself. Construction work is tough, and it can take a significant toll on your body as time goes by. Make sure that you eat well, get enough sleep on a regular basis, and get any aches or pains checked out sooner rather than later. As a construction worker, you rely on your body for a regular income – look after it, it’s the only one you’ve got.
That might seem like a lot to take in, but on the upside, it means that there’s clearly a lot you can do to protect your income. By taking time on a regular basis to make sure that you’re hitting most of the points listed above, you can ensure that you’ve got a secure, protected income that’ll keep you supported for years and years to come.