As a self-employed contractor, there can be a lot of different things to manage at the same time. You need to bid for contracts, write proposals, assemble a crew, fire and ensure equipment, and carry out every job within the correct time and budget. 

With so many plates to spin at once, running a successful contracting business can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. And thankfully, there are hundreds of books out there that offer helpful advice for contractors. 

Because nobody has time to pour through them all, here are some of the best books for contractors to read:

  • The Construction Management MBA: Practical Approaches to Construction Contracting (Matt Stevens)
  • Managing the Profitable Construction Business: The Contractor’s Guide to Success and Survival Strategies (Thomas C. Schleifer, Kenneth T. Sullivan, John M. Murdough)
  • Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited (Michael C. Stone)
  • Running a Successful Construction Company – For Pros, by Pros (David Gerstel)
  • Construction Business Management: What Every Construction Contractor, Builder & Subcontractor Needs to Know (Nick Ganaway)
  • Starting Your Career as a Contractor: How to Build and Run a Construction Business (Claudiu Fatu)
  • Building Construction: Project Management, Construction Administration, Drawings, Specs, Detailing Tips, Schedules, Checklists, and Secrets Others Don’t Tell You: Architectural Practice Simplified (Gang Chen)

The Construction Management MBA: Practical Approaches to Construction Contracting 

Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens is a successful management researcher, advisor, and educator to construction contractors. His book outlines the most effective practices for managing simultaneous operations to produce consistent profits. 

Applicable to both general and speciality contracting firms, The Construction Management MBA uses real case studies to teach you how to:

  • Identify and react to critical trends
  • Gain the competitive edge by adopting superior processes 
  • Speed up your business cycle
  • Maximise client satisfaction
  • Balance your decisions between risk and reward.  

Managing the Profitable Construction Business: The Contractor’s Guide to Success and Survival Strategies 

Thomas C. Schleifer, Kenneth T. Sullivan, John M. Murdough

Thomas C. Schleifer is commonly referred to as the “turnaround expert” in the construction industry, thanks to the number of companies he’s rescued from disaster. 

Schleifer, alongside fellow industry veterans Kenneth T. Sullivan and John M. Murdough, use their collective years of knowledge and experience to bring unique and valuable insights into the contracting business. 

Managing the Profitable Construction Business shows you how to navigate a complicated and risky industry, using real-world examples to explain:

  • How to minimise risk
  • The main areas of construction business failure in the next decade
  • How to develop a positive and competent management attitude and strategy

Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited 

Michael C. Stone

Focusing on the “business” side of the contracting Markup & Profit covers everything you need to know to succeed in the industry. 

Despite the title, this book isn’t just about profit. Stone gives a variety of practical advice in the form of tested formulas with easy instructions and examples. With his guidance, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write good contracts
  • Manage crews 
  • Work with subcontractors
  • Collect on your work

Running a Successful Construction Company (For Pros, by Pros)

David Gerstel

Now in its second edition, Running a Successful Construction Company focuses on different aspects of construction management and business organisation, such as:

  • Creating accurate estimates
  • Setting up an office
  • Shopping for insurance
  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Finding the right work
  • Making bids
  • Writing contracts 

The newest edition has been updated to include insights on the latest technology and development in the industry. 

There’s great advice here for contractors of all levels. Gerstel shows newcomers how to cope with overheads and paperwork while offering veterans practical tips on how to control their businesses.

Construction Business Management: What Every Construction Contractor, Builder & Subcontractor Needs to Know 

Nick Ganaway

With over 25 years of experience in construction, Nick Ganaway’s Construction Business Management is an extensive guide on every aspect of operating a construction contractor business. 

The guidance in Ganaway’s book includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • The duties of the owner of a successful construction business
  • Terms and conditions to include and exclude in contracts
  • How to ensure you’re paid what you’re owed, 
  • How to select, hire, and keep “golden” employees
  • Effective and affordable marketing 
  • How to find the right accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents 
  • The advantages of specialising

Starting Your Career as a Contractor: How to Build and Run a Construction Business 

(Claudiu Fatu)

If you’re just getting started with your own business, Starting Your Career as a Contractor is a perfect choice for you, offering real-world advice from industry expert Claudiu Fatu.

You’ll learn the essential steps that go into setting up your own business, such as:

  • Developing your business structure
  • Insurance needs
  • Branding
  • Legal and accounting issues

Once you’ve set up, Fatu also has advice about ongoing challenges, like:

  • Managing employees
  • Working with clients
  • Bidding on jobs
  • Budgeting for expenses 
  • Planning for retirement

Building Construction

(Gang Chen)

As you may have guessed from the incredibly long, Gang Chen’s Building Construction covers a lot of ground, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anybody working in the construction industry.

For business owners, in particular, there’s loads of advice about development, working with government agencies, health and safety, subcontracting, and managing a busy workload. 

Improve your financial management with Countingup

Financial management is a significant part of being a self-employed contractor. You’ll be responsible for managing income, expenses, and invoices while keeping records for your tax return. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, and live tax estimates, you’ll save loads of time that can be spent doing other things – like running a business. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.