Although not discussed much on this blog, I used to work as a Carpenter when I was 19. I completed my 3rd year carpentry apprenticeship before moving on to business and later into nursing. Why do I tell you this? Because, I have seen how desperate the construction industry is for help, especially here in Victoria, BC. You don’t need to have experience to get started. The work schedule is flexible and, probably best part, you can work as a private contractor in order to take advantage of lucrative tax deductions.
How do I get started?
Find some private contractors in your area doing something you think you would be good at. Some examples could be painting, general labour, construction clean up, landscaping, lawn care, flooring and fence installation. Send these companies your resume with a short description as to what your skills are and how you can help. Generally, these private contractors are looking for the following attributes:
- Work evenings and weekends
- Be flexible
- To be hired on as a private contractor.
- Not worried about guaranteed hours.
- Have your own transportation with Class 5
- Overall good work attitude and willingness to learn
- Punctual (Punctuality is a substantial problem in this industry)
These companies are desperate to find good part time help on various, usually residential, projects they are working on. They don’t want to take on employees due to extra accounting and tax headaches. They would rather have “independent contractors” they can pay cash. The work schedule is usually flexible allowing you to work on the weekends and evenings. In the construction industry work is not constant. Sometimes, you are working 12 hour days every day for weeks then nothing for a couple of weeks. Due to the up and down nature of the construction industry having regular full-time employees presents significant challenges as you can imagine. The employer has to worry about paying an employee during down times, paying into a health plan, EI and CPP as well as constantly finding enough work to avoid lay offs. As an independent contractor you can work flexible hours, not have to worry about paying taxes on your earnings (for the most part) and you can decide to not work at anytime. It’s a win win situation for yourself and the contractor/employer.
Just imagine you are an employer who has been hired by a homeowner to install laminate flooring in their home. You would need help transporting boxes of flooring as well as tools. Before the work can begin the old flooring needs to be taken out and brought to a truck for disposal. Just the prep work can take a couple of days. This is a perfect scenario for an independent contractor. No experience is necessary with the prep work. If the contractor is willing, you could be trained on how to install flooring as well.
If you repeat this process with other local contractors, your skill set expands and in the process you become more valuable. Depending on experience you can expect to make $15-25/hr as an independent contractor. It would be reasonable to make an extra ~$1500 a month (85 hours x $18/hr). Likely this extra ~$1500 a month would be nearly tax free. Say you make $46,605 a year at your regular day job, any amount made over this would be taxed at 28.2%. So to net that same $1500 a month at your day job you would have to make about $2,000 more, before taxes! In contrast, as an independent contractor you can deduct car and office expenses etc to avoid paying any taxes on that $1500 a month.
Starting off, like any business, you may only make $500 a month but after a few short months you could be making at least $1500-2000 a month here in Victoria, BC. That extra ~$20,000 a year will help you on your way to achieve FIRE.