How to become a self-employed builder in the UK

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The UK is suffering from a shortage of skilled trade workers and builders are near the top of the list. A report by Rated People has revealed demand for builders increased by 46% in 2021 and 87% in the past two years. Coupled with surging demand for properties and home renovations, there’s never been a better time to start a construction business.

Working in construction can be an extremely lucrative career and owning your own business will not only allow you to take home a significant salary, but it will also give you more flexibility with your schedule and working hours.

Let’s explore how to become a self-employed builder in the UK.

What does being a builder involve? 

Builders are skilled tradespeople who construct, repair, and renovate properties. This work may be focused on either residential or commercial buildings, along with infrastructures such as bridges and roads. Depending on the job being undertaken, they may collaborate with a team or work alone.

Builders must follow strict safety regulations to ensure their work does not put themselves or those around them in danger. In addition, they must also ensure their work meets any standards set out by professional bodies in the industry and the UK government.


You’ll need to obtain certain qualifications to become a builder, such as an Advanced Apprenticeship and a Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Management. As an apprentice you’ll learn on the job and it’s likely you’ll be paid a low wage until you progress enough for a promotion.

Completing a construction degree will also give you the skills you need to begin working in the industry, provided you gain hands-on experience to support your studies.

Invest in the right tools and equipment

Having the right tools will make it easier to provide a top-quality service to your clients. You’ll need hand tools such as screwdrivers, hammers and wrenches, as well as power tools like drills and saws. You may be tempted to cut costs by opting for cheaper, low-quality tools, but this will be unlikely to yield good results.

Consider your tools an investment in your business and your future and opt for good quality pieces from a reputable supplier.


You’ll need to obtain appropriate insurance before carrying out any work. You’ll be legally required to have employers’ liability insurance if you employ any staff, even on a casual basis.

It would also be wise to obtain public liability insurance which will protect you and your business if a member of the public is hurt as a result of your work, and insurance for your tools, to offer financial protection if you suffer tool theft.

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