Green Careers Guide

Old Homes Restoration

Restoring an older home to update it, make it more valuable and safer can be very rewarding, both to the home owner and to the person doing the restoration. As a career, restoring old homes can allow you to work on a number of different projects so that you always have work in some capacity and can be proud of a job well done. Adding green techniques and materials to the restoration can not only save the environment, but in some cases will save time and money for the homeowner as well.

What skills do I need to get started?

General construction or contracting skills are a must. However, it would be more beneficial to you to have advanced skills and knowledge when dealing with older homes because of some of the unique challenges that you may face during these types of projects. Having a working knowledge of historical building techniques can make the task easier and safer for you because you will know exactly for what to look and avoid in the course of your renovations. Also, you should know your limitations in this field. If you know that you are not the best with plumbing or wiring, than that part of the project should go to a subcontractor.

What types of licenses, permits, certifications or endorsements do I need?

You will need a general contractor's license in nearly every part of the country. You may also need a general business permit as well. In addition, some parts of the country may require additional licensing for handling the older materials that could be potentially removed from these older homes. Having the endorsement of a green certifying agency is an advantage as well.

What do I need to get started?

After getting the proper paperwork and documentation you need, you would theoretically only need the tools, a truck and a on which project to work. However, realistically you would also need an office with a garage or secured parking area for the company vehicles.

Who is the competition?

You will compete against the established companies, the nationally known restoration companies and the do-it-yourselfers. Of the three, the latter are growing as more and more people look to save money wherever possible.

What are the biggest risks?

Poor market research could lead you to open a business in an area that does not have a lot of older homes to restore or is not in the economic position to take on restoration projects.

Who is the target market?

Home buyers who know that buying a fixer upper can allow them more home than they would qualify for otherwise. Those homeowners who know that a well built older home can be restored and maintained at a better price than buying a pre-fab model home. And those homeowners who prefer the personality of an older home over the coldness of a modern one.

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