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Article Contributed by Danielle

When you hear the word entrepreneur, you typically envision someone with a bright new idea, a great way to use a new technology, or a person with a game-changing invention that is about to turn the way we live and work upside down. When we think of entrepreneurs, we think of Steve Jobs. We talk about Mark Zuckerberg. But in a surprising turn of events, the most successful entrepreneurs today are those in the construction business. In 2011, about 24 percent of all entrepreneurial work was in the construction industry — and this during a year when business creation dropped by about 6 percent.

This may seem like an unlikely industry for start-ups, especially when construction was one of the hardest hit industries during the economic slump that has been dubbed The Great Recession. However, there are several reasons why the construction industry has become the hottest one around for aspiring entrepreneurs.

5 Reasons Construction Start-Ups Are Successful Today

  1. Construction start-ups are focusing their business primarily on additions and remodeling, a unique concept to the industry. Previously, construction companies primarily focused on building new homes, as evidenced by the thousands upon thousands of subdivisions that popped up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, today, the average homeowner is putting more money into updating their current home rather than buying or building a new home.
  2. As the push to go green continues, the construction industry is finding out that these green initiatives are benefiting them. Construction start-ups have found that it’s profitable to use electricity systems that ultimately reduce the power they use. Not only does this save time, it also saves energy — so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
  3. Another big reason for the increase in construction start-up businesses is the fact that many construction workers found themselves out of work after the housing market (as well as the rest of the economy) collapsed during 2007 and 2008. These same skilled workers decided the next best step was to head out on their own, and now with the economic upswing, are finding themselves to be successful in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
  4. The American public has made it a lot easier for these start up businesses to survive as well. As the economy has slowly but surely picked up, Americans have taken to spending a little bit of their extra cash again. According to the National Association of Home builders, spending on remodeling homes is up $4 billion in 2012 — in 2009, people spent $112 billion on home renovations and remodels and in 2012, that number had increased to $116 billion. The fact that more Americans are decided to make major changes to their homes and spend some of their disposable income is helping construction start-ups pick up steam in their early days.
  5. These start-up companies have also found success due to the fact that construction workers have a broad range of skills and can work on a variety of different job types. For instance, a road construction worker who was laid off during lean times also has the knowledge necessary to perform home improvements and other construction jobs. This diversity in skills within the workforce itself has helped the construction companies to become stabilized in these slower years. Companies that picked up odd jobs here and there are now finding that their name is becoming knowing throughout the community and their profit margins are beginning to increase.

Across the board, the Great Recession has inspired many Americans to get creative and find their own entrepreneurial spirit within themselves. The construction industry is no exception, but it also hit a stroke of luck in that it has also been highly successful.

With so many new business owners throughout the United States, resources are popping up everywhere to help people with start up businesses get off the ground. For the construction industry, there’s Greenstart. Greenstart is a San Francisco-based business incubator that aims to help start-up companies that promote green technologies in certain industries become successful. Industries that Greenstart works with include construction companies, transportation companies and utility companies. It was established in 2011 and is now working on promoting and growing its second set of clean tech companies.

So whether a person is interested in beginning an energy efficient construction company, or she is hoping to start up a business that specializes in home renovations, the time is now. As the economy begins to pick up steam again, Americans are looking to get moving — literally. And while it may seem surprising, all signs point to the fact that if you are going to start up a business in 2012, you will want it to be a construction business.

Danielle fancies herself a technology geek and obsesses over trends in start-up culture. Read her work at



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